October 26, 2021

Cancel Culture

The factory pictured here isn’t an old relic.  A few months ago it was home to a growing light industrial business, manufacturing variations of the thing they invented back in the ’60s.   They were evicted to make way for a residential investment opportunity.

The same is happening all around this part of the Old Kent Road.  Not just to factories, but to car-maintenance workshops, independent logistics firms and pentecostal churches.   Around a 1,000 jobs in total, spread across a 100 small independent firms – who want to grow, if only they could find the space.

We’re used to thinking of the North and Midlands as being our centres of manufacturing, but London has always had more of it, just lighter, and spread over a larger area.

But residential tower blocks yield higher returns.   So, slowly, all evidence that real businesses making real things for real people actually existed here will be gone.

It is possible to mix light industrial and residential, or office and residential, to build places for people to live and work.   That’s happening in Zurich – the ultimate money-metropolis.

But clearly that involves acknowledging a manufacturing culture.

It’s easier to erase it.  No matter what the long-term cost.