Every month CabbieBlog hopes to show you a little gem of a building that you might have passed without noticing, in the past they have ranged from a modernist car park; a penguin pool; to a Hanoverian gatehouse. You could easily miss this little Arts and Crafts building at 187 Bermondsey Street. It was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield better known for his more iconic buildings: Barkers Department Store; the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres; and Lambeth Bridge.
[T]he Time and Talents Association founded by missionary Minna Gollock in 1886 is an odd name for an organisation which today would be regarded as rather patronising. Its members were wealthy ladies fed up with the ‘waste and futility’ of their lives of leisure. They descended upon Bermondsey from the drawing rooms of West London to devote their ample ‘Time and Talents’ to help the underprivileged young girls and women. So, it is, in fact, a very literal name for an organisation.
Towards the end of Victoria’s reign the middle-classes were encouraged to live and work among the poor, to share their knowledge and in so doing raise the lives and aspirations of women working in local factories, while at the same time instilling the Anglican Church’s values among the populace. Some time ago this would have been frowned upon as social engineering, today Bermondsey as achieved this social mix organically.
Time and Talents found a permanent home in these premises in 1899, completed in 1908 and would occupy the building for over 60 years, providing a hostel for young women as well as a space for ’healthy recreation’, singing, basketwork, knitting and sewing.
Its classic Arts and Crafts front has banded piers of dark brick and Portland stone with stylised Ionic capitals, above which a carved stone declares to the casual observer: “TIME AND TALENTS SETTLEMENT”.
Today, the Bermondsey Street building houses studios and flats but their work continues in Rotherhithe occupying a former Rotherhithe mortuary providing community services for young and elderly people.
Picture detail: Freeze above entrance reading Time and Talents Settlement Ateneit