The Watch House (Bermondsey)
199 Bermondsey St, SE1 3UW
At the southern end of Bermondsey Street sits a unique, small octagonal building – the Watch House. Built in the early 19th century, this sheltered those who kept watch against the grave robbers who sort to harvest cadavers from St Mary Magdalen church graveyard. It also served as a base for the local Watch who attempted to keep law and order before the establishment of a police force. Inside, it retains the original timbers and a wood fire burns in a modernised fireplace. High shelves house loaves of Little Pedlars bread and a range of coffee equipment. The Watch House is now a coffeeshop, and a good one.
The Watch House’s stated aim is to become the best place on Bermondsey Street for good coffee and coffee is their focus. They have quickly developed a regular clientele of regulars through a combination of coffee made with care (espresso or batch brew), warm welcome and hospitality, a unique space and their tasty sandwiches and cakes. Pastries and bread are from the superb Little Bread Pedlar while the Sweet Tooth Factory and Crumbs and Doilies provide cakes and St Johns Bakery the inimitable doughnuts. Karma Kola and Canton teas are also featured.
The space is quite something. Tiny from the outside, it is truly Tardislike inside and there is clever use of space in the design with an unusual seating layout and high shelves to maximise use of space. USB chargers are built into the seats, a modern touch which contrasts with the rustic approach of much of the design. The Watch House feature local artists’ work on the walls too and they have clearly sought to become very much a part of the vibrant Bermondsey Street community.
Review by Phil Wain; photo by Lukas Kratochvil.
Coffee + Drinks
- House Roaster
- Mahlkonig EK43, Mazzer Robur
- Coffee Machine
- La Marzocco Linea PB