Pont de la Tour

I have been interested by the comments on my blog which mentioned the Pont de la Tour and have been meditating on exactly why it has such emblematic significance to the cultural changes of the 1980s.   It was not just that it was reputed to be a Blairite hang-out:  more that the moment when Terence Conran was passing Butler’s Wharf in 1982 and bought a large chunk of old industrial Britain to convert into luxury flats and smooth international restaurants, the founding of the Design Museum and Piers Gough’s bright blue Circle development are indeed symbols of a long process of urban change and post-industrialisation.   Actually, I have a feeling that Pont de la Tour only opened in 1991.


8 thoughts on “Pont de la Tour

  1. Agreed, but its contribution to the Thames underlines the poor quality of so much of the architecture on the banks of the Thames throughout the city. In our book, A NEW LONDON, (1992 ), Richard Rogers and I argued for a Riverside Park which would give an architectural coherence to London. Instead we’ve got this piecemeal development with some pearls, but far too much dross .

  2. helenreesleahy says:

    I can certainly vouch for Blair’s fondness for Pont de la Tour, during my Design Museum days. And, of course, the joke was that he was always fully made up, ready for the cameras… He’d be wearing orange-ish pancake as he tucked into a plate of moules. It was quite a sight.

  3. CN says:

    We moved the office and shop there in ’92 believing the hype somewhat foolishly and operated in disconnected splendour for 4 years playing football in the draughty courtyards and dining well at the Design museum and pompously with clients at PdelaT. It was, above all just a very cold environment and totally separated from the “realities” of Bermondsey and the City. It seemed crazy, with hind sight to have been so duped. ( bit like TB. And his crew..! )

    • Wasn’t that after the crash ? And isn’t it like all such developments that it took a long time really to get going. I remember the Cantina opening, but a bit after Pont de la Tour, and then the Butler’s Wharf Chop House, but it all took time. Charles

  4. helenreesleahy says:

    Yes, that’s right: Design Museum, 1989; Pont de la Tour, 1991; Blair ‘the orange years’ really (I think) leading up to the General Election of 1997 – the year when the Blairs and Clintons famously supped at Pont to seal their special relationship. Feels like a lifetime ago – which is precisely what it was, of course! Helen x

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