Based within the London Borough of Islington, Clerkenwell is home to a thriving selection of TMT and creative businesses, along with a vibrant cultural scene.
A brief history of Clerkenwell
Formerly a residential village on the outskirts of London, Clerkenwell has gone through many changes since the days when Oliver Cromwell was among its residents. A rapidly expanding population during the nineteenth-century saw the district gain a reputation for poverty, while its new inhabitants pursued occupations such as brewing, printing and watchmaking.
The fortunes of the area have turned around considerably since then, as the industrial trades gave way to design and media-based companies during the second half of the twentieth century. Today, it still has a reputation as a popular location for TMT companies whose workers enjoy the smart restaurants and live in the fashionable apartments found within Clerkenwell.
What’s going on?
Like Shoreditch, Clerkenwell is part of the City Fringe – areas which benefit from close proximity to the City of London, while presenting a less corporate and a more creative image. While it is situated less than a mile from the much-hyped startup scene at Tech City, Clerkenwell’s TMT industry tends to be home to more established companies and fewer startups.
In short: an increasing number of TMT companies, from advertising and media agencies to digital design and tech innovators.
A number of Clerkenwell-based businesses made the 2013 Tech Track 100, a list of the UK’s fastest growing tech firms. Among them were social media agency We Are Social, ad agency Infectious Media, corporate SEO specialists Ayima and Audio Network which provides a music production library for film and television companies.
Clerkenwell is also well known as the home of many architecture firms. Today, these include BDP in Brewhouse Yard, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris on Old Street, Pilbrow & Partners and Harper Downie both on St John’s Square.
Other B2B companies can be found within the area, many of which have a marketing slant, such as SportBusiness, a provider of news and analytics on the sports industry, and The Market Research Society.
Office space in Clerkenwell
Office space in Clerkenwell is predominantly found in period buildings (typically five to seven storey townhouses) and modern office blocks, the latter providing space for larger companies based within the district.
Companies looking for flexible office space are also well served by the choice within the area, which spans everything from offices for smaller creative firms to stylish media-friendly offices. Businesses with larger requirements will find that a number of modern office blocks contain business centres with 100+ workstations, while those looking for boutique space should consider this business centre on John Street among their options.
What next for Clerkenwell?
As the UK’s creative and digital industries continue to grow, Clerkenwell is likely to see continued interest from TMT companies looking for a base within Central London. Its own thriving TMT scene combined with proximity to Tech City puts it in an excellent position to benefit from both industry growth and the ongoing Silicon Roundabout buzz.
Furthermore, the forthcoming Crossrail Interchange at Farringdon Station (just off the Clerkenwell Road) will increase the accessibility of the area for rail commuters.
A new development by Derwent London is set to increase the supply of high-grade creative space in Clerkenwell. Known as Turnmill and situated on Clerkenwell Road, the building is due for completion in 2014 and will provide 58,000 sq ft of office space. The complete development is already pre-let to an agency within world leading communications group Publicis Groupe.
They may not be the only communications company heading to Clerkenwell. With office-to-residential conversions in Soho forcing media companies to look further afield, the increasing number of creative and TMT businesses in Clerkenwell may tempt a few former Soho tenants to choose it for their relocation.
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