From merchant village to metropolitan hub, surviving Bermondsey’s dramatic change by Chloe Hodge


bermondsey. The nineteensixties. During the Second World War this urban village community became highly industrialised but, having succumbed to the full effects of the Blitz, it was now time to rebuild. Much of Bermondsey’s younger generation had moved out, yet enticing them back in was simple: jobs in the Thameside wharves were abundant, and new high-rise blocks could provide standards of living previously unheard of in Borough, once London’s notorious slum.

By the 1970s the docks of this ‘larder of London’ were defunct, and the transformation of London Bridge began; it’s now a business centre, landmarked by London’s tallest building, the Shard; Borough and Maltby Street markets are the weekending spots of yuppies, and Bermondsey Street brims with the scent of international gastronomy – more appealing than the tanneries that it was once home to.

Despite this enormous change, a few linchpins of the area remain. One such survivor is Morris Tyre Service. Opened fifty years ago under the railway arches of Bermondsey by Michael Morris, a self-taught mechanic, and continued by his son Dan, the company has been trading on word-of-mouth recommendations ever since.

Over the past half century, not much has changed at Morris Tyre Service: customers will still speak to a mechanic face to face, and receive free tyre checks and MOT approvals. It is, however, now easier than ever for Dan to buy in tyres from all over the world to guarantee the best price for his clients.

Whilst larger companies may advertise cheap rates before revealing a host of hidden costs, Dan is adamant that Morris Tyres continues as the reliable business that his father began – quoting down to earth prices, and offering the best deal “99 times out of 100”. For this reason, Dan is trusted by longstanding locals, taxi firms such as Fleet Cars and also the new movers and shakers in SE1. Morris Tyres is a down-to-earth constant in a fluid area of drastic change, preserving a piece of Bermondsey’s industrial history, and as enduring and reliable as the railway arches it stands within.


“Despite this
enormous change, a
few linchpins of the
area remain…

72 Enid St
SE16 3RA
t: 020 7231 5857
w: www.morristyres.co.uk

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