In cities and towns across the country disused warehouses have found a new lease of life. Known for their rich histories, character features and creative residents, they have seen their popularity as residential hubs grow over the last few decades.
In London warehouses are an important part of the fabric of the city. They are mainly found close to the banks of the Thames, with many having kept their original names – Gun Wharf, Saffron Wharf and Cinnamon Wharf are just a few examples – which helps to keep their history alive.
Traditionally, these commercial buildings were situated in less desirable areas, where pirates ruled the waves and mystics lined the streets. Originally, those working in the docks lived here as well, but following the Black Death many moved out and into more conventionally residential neighbourhoods.
Fast forward to the 1980s and the use of warehouses as homes really took off. This was primarily driven by a number of creative individuals, including artists, fashion designers and architects, who used disused warehouses for their work and also lived in them to avoid paying rent elsewhere. The most notable of these young creatives were Tracy Emin and Alexander McQueen, who both lived and worked in Shoreditch. When the local council realised this was happening it began to allow consent for the warehouses to be legally changed into live/work spaces, sparking a residential trend across the city and further afield.
One of the main benefits of warehouse conversions is the unbeatable lateral space they provide. As the exterior walls are often the only ones supporting the building, the interior can be as open as the owner wants it to be. It’s important to remember, however, that the windows tend only to be at the front and back of the property, so moving walls can be a great way of dividing up the space without losing light.
Often we find that those buying apartments here are either couples who enjoy entertaining, or families who don’t want to worry about young children having access to stairs. For many, the notion of living somewhere with an unusual past and a quirky design really appeals. When compared to other examples of period architecture nearby, these homes tend to stand out.
So if you like the idea of living in a unique property with a rich history and the wow factor, then you might want to consider an industrial property for your next move.
Open-plan reception, Limehouse Wharf, Narrow Street, Limehouse, London E14 – Guide price £1,400,000
Open-plan reception, Merchant Court, Wapping Wall, London E1 – Guide price £1,300,000