Empress Coaches moved to Corbridge Crescent in 1927, spending the next 90 years running London buses then coach trips for hardworking East Londoners. The family firm counted among its neighbours a wheelwright, a steelworks and countless small workshops but today the only evidence of the site’s industrial heritage are the iconic forms of the Bethnal Green gasholders.

empress coaches sign

Built in the 19th century and decommissioned in 2012, these architectural gems provide a link to the past in an area that’s changing fast. Just as nearby Shoreditch was transformed into one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in Europe by the arrival of artists and other creatives, Bethnal Green is undergoing its own metamorphosis. Empress Works is part of that change, and you can be too.

edward thomas stanton