Thursday, September 23, 2010

No Soap


One of London's lesser-known heritage monuments is this reminder of the London Soap and Cosmetic Company at Clarence and South streets. The factory, here from 1875 to 1984, burned in April 1985, at which time it was the oldest surviving soap factory in Canada. These machines were taken from the ruins and made into a monument by the Ontario Society for Industrial Archaeology. Pretty cool, eh? It's tributes like these that add interest and entertainment value to our streets, especially when people come across them unexpectedly.

5 comments:

  1. The old London Soap Factory almost became a major SoHo attraction. In 1980, UTCA and the City of London purchased the factory as they began buying up floodplain lands along the Thames River. The plan was for the factory, which continued in operation, to become an operating museum for the City of London. In 1982, the building was officially designated as a heritage property. Unfortunately, a dispute between the city and the factory's operator led to the plant's closure in 1984. The soap factory was relocated to Osler Street in East London. The next year, under suspicious circumstances, the vacant building went up in smoke. A fate that sadly has befallen many of London's other heritage buildings!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is such a shame when heritage buildings are unappreciatedand lost in such a manner.

    This begs the question: what happened to the secoond location on Ossler Street?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Chris Andreae of Industrial Heritage group organized a memorial to London Soap on the footprint years ago. Is it no longer there? Part of the confusion as we heard it, was that the LACAC was unfamiliar with the De-Designation process in the mid-80s.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was only 10 years old when the factory burned. Luckily, we had a dog who woke our family, since we lived right behind the factory. I remember being out in the car, down the street, waiting until we were told it was safe to return.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Burning down property is the only way in London to convert heritage sites into parking lots.

    ReplyDelete