We have now occupied our new offices in Bethnal Green. The premises are a late Victorian shopfront and furniture workshop, which form part of the historic Winkely estate, built between 1898 and 1904. The building sits in the shadow of Keeling Tower, an early new brutalist tower block designed by architect Denys Lasdun.
In the adjoining buildings and local area there are an many interesting businesses, designers, architects, crafts workshops, art galleries and technology startups. The Hackney Road and Mare Street are increasingly becoming an exciting business location.
“The Winkley Estate, which forms the major part of the Old Bethnal Green Road Conservation Area, is a small area of distinctive late Victorian development which now stands surrounded by post war local authority housing development.
By the latter half of the 19th century the area was densely populated, the population generally poor and early 19th century housing overcrowded and dilapidated. It was at this time that the area started to be redeveloped.
The southern part of Mansford Street was laid out in 1877 as a through road in a cleared area between Old Bethnal Green Road and Bethnal Green Road with building land on either side. The non-conformist Church and the board school were built on
either side of the new road. Four blocks of old terraced houses between Temple Street and Teesdale Street were demolished by Henry and Charles Winkley for their redevelopment. The Winkley Estate was built between 1898 and 1904 and combined
three types of residential accommodation with three small factories, numerous cabinet makers’ workshops and shops on Old Bethnal Green Road.
Most of the workshops were occupied by cabinet makers, upholsterers and French polishers etc, making the estate an important centre of the East End furniture trade. The three factories are in what is now Winkley Street, with six three-storey workshops (with well lit semi-basements) around the corner in the southern part of Teesdale Street. Two storey ranges of small separate ground floor and first floor workshops occupy yards in the middle of the four blocks. The three storey terraces in Teesdale Street and Temple Street had ground floor workshops with shopfronts, and residential accommodation on the upper floors.
The estate contains the largest number of surviving purpose built furniture workshops in Tower Hamlets and is an important representative of the renowned East End furniture trade. Its special interest is enhanced by the proximity of Lion Mills in the Hackney Road Conservation Area. The Mills made braid and trimmings for the local furniture and clothing traders.
The closing years of the 19th century saw considerable change within this small area and much of the character of the conservation area we see today was formed at that time. “From Tower Hamlets Old Bethnal Green Road Conservation Area Report, 2009.