Above: View taken recently of the original shop, with the clock above it, which continues as a wine shop, now run by Oddbins.
With work continuing to construct a new bridge and viaduct for two more railway lines, running through London Bridge Station and across Borough High Street, it is appropriate to consider a shop that has been in continuous use as a wine shop for over 150 years.
In 1822 Alexander Findlater, one of eleven children of a Scottish farmer, set out to seek his fortune in Dublin by opening a wine shop. In 1850 he moved to London and established a wine shop there, under the name of Findlater Mackie and Company, on a site in Wellington Street off the Strand.
Five years later, with four partners, Alexander Findlater began trading as Findlater Mackie Todd and Co in Tooley Street, near London Bridge. In 1863 the Company moved to premises under the railway viaduct, also near London Bridge, a spot which became known to generations of Londoners as ‘Findlater’s Corner’.
Alexander Findlater died on 8th August 1873 at the age of 76. The business was acquired by Bruce Beveridge Todd whose family has been connected with the Findlaters ever since.
In 1924 Findlater’s moved its head office to Wigmore Street, and continued to expand as a retail wine merchant until the 1960s when had almost 50 shops in and around London, Oxford, Cambridge and Cirencester and on the South Coast.
In 1967 the Todd family sold the company to Bulmers, which subsequently disposed of the Findlater Mackie Todd retail branches. Three years later, Bulmers sold Findlater’s to the Beecham Group. In 1993 the Waitrose Partnership acquired the business of Findlater Mackie Todd & Co.
Above: The clock which stopped at 11.47.
From what has been said it will be realised that the shop on the side of Borough High Street has not been in use by the Findlater company since 1967. It is all the more remarkable that the shop-front has remained unaltered for what is now nearly 50 years! It has always been a talking point that the clock stopped at 11.47 and stayed in that position for about the same period of time. Today the premises are still a wine shop, now run by Oddbins.
Above: Findlater’s Corner (on the left) seen from the top of Duke Street Hill in 1897, looking across Borough High Street, towards Southwark Cathedral. [The copyright remains with Frith who originally printed the photograph].