Starbucks opens new store in historical Express Dairy tea room in London

A new Starbucks store will open today at the historic Findlater’s Corner in London Bridge in what was once an Express Dairy Company tea room, blending the iconic Starbucks Experience with the tea room’s rich Victorian heritage.

The intricate facade was discovered as part of a wider restoration project to the Victorian railway arches. Findlater’s Corner, the historic former home of Victorian wine merchants Findlater, Mackie and Todd, is being restored by The Arch Company, ITC and Benedict O’Looney Architects.

In a bid to preserve the historical character of Findlater’s Corner, The Arch Company invested £3.1m to restore the corner site, including restoration and preservation of the historic mosaic, which was discovered during the project and will remain on the front façade of the Starbucks store.

Brent Cashell, vp, store development, design, & retail strategy at Starbucks, said: “We are thrilled to open a new store in such an iconic site, and look forward to welcoming the local community, commuters and tourists whilst maintaining the historic character of the local area.

“The mosaics advertising the Express Dairy Tea Room speak to London’s rich hospitality history and we are committed to honouring that heritage while continuing to build our own legacy of coffee craft and human connection.”

The Express Dairy Company was founded in 1864 and in the years before widespread refrigeration, their express trains and home delivery services ensured a fresh supply of dairy products to the nation’s capital. At its peak, Express Dairy had over 240 tea rooms across London, serving locals afternoon teas and luncheons, as well as selling staple dairy products.

The painstaking restoration took over 22 months and resulted not only in a beautiful landmark restored, but also in modern retail units that are energy efficient.

Benedict O’Looney, the architect who oversaw the restoration, said: “It’s been a privilege to work on Findlater’s Corner one of the most important and iconic historic sites in Southwark, and a joy to see it restored to its former glory. In the spirit of the former tea room, this new Starbucks creates a welcome community gathering space in the heart of Old Southwark.”

Over the past 25 years, Starbucks has grown significantly across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and now operates over 4,000 stores across the region and has more than 1,100 stores in the first and largest market: the UK.

Starbucks ambitious plans for growth in the UK continue with many more stores planned to bring the iconic Starbucks Experience to more communities across the UK, particularly in key city and drive thru locations and with a focus on store format innovation such as smaller, digitally forward stores. This builds on 25 years of growth and innovation that has seen more convenient and sustainable store formats become increasingly popular.

By Mark Adair – Correspondent, Bdaily

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