Monmouth Coffee takes over five railway arches in London
Anita le Roy set up Monmouth Coffee Company in 1978, and while other coffee shop operators have mutated into global chains, Monmouth has stuck to its knitting. It sources and roasts coffee from single farms, estates and cooperatives, which it sells to wholesale customers, and from its two London coffee shops.
Le Roy has now moved the roasting, office and training facilities into a new home in Bermondsey. ID:SR, the interiors arm of architecture firm Sheppard Robson, was tasked with converting five 1830s railway arches – which more typically house light-industrial workshops – to accommodate Monmouth’s myriad needs.
‘On our first visit, we walked around with torches,’ says le Roy. ‘It had no windows, dirt floors, was drippy and dark.’ The challenge for ID:SR’s Helen Berresford, was to make it into an inviting, functional workspace for Monmouth’s twenty staff.
Now, light floods in from either end through shuttered glass doors. The brick walls of the barrel vaults have white metal cladding, which is tastefully up-lit. In the front area with its three high tables, samples from the previous day’s roasting are tasted. Beyond that, the enclosed office space has a black metal frame to give it structure, and staff sit at white-topped desks made by plywood furniture maker, Uncommon Projects.
Aesthetically, le Roy runs a tight ship, with ‘no random objects, everything in its place’. Hence faded brown aprons hang off a neat row of hooks, and sacks of beans are orderly stacked in the roasting room.
This room also houses two massive shiny roasteries. And while Monmouth echews ambitious roll-out plans, it now operates a shop and café from the arches on Saturday mornings. §