Thursday, February 16, 2023

Oxo Tower

London The Unfinished City
The original façade of the former power station.

Walking along the South Bank, of the River Thames, there is a myriad style of architecture, with old buildings sitting beside new tower blocks, but, somehow, it works.

It is hard to imagine, but the Oxo building was originally a power station, which opened towards the end of the 1800s, supplying power to the Royal Mail post office.

The windows, built into the tower, hint at what the building would become, following its closure as a power station, but it is these windows that would cause a controversy.

Brief History

The former power station was purchased, in 1920, by the Liebig Extract of Meat Company for use as a cold storage warehouse. The building was rebuilt in an Art Deco style, between 1928-29, with much of the building demolished, with the exception of the front river facing façade.

The company wanted a tower incorporated into the design from which they could advertise their most well known product, Oxo, with illuminated signs. These plans were refused as skyline advertising along the River Thames was forbidden, at the time.

So, the tower incorporated four sets of three windows which just so happened to be in the shape of a circle, a cross and a circle.

London The Unfinished City
'OXO' now illuminated as it was originally intended.

Following the purchase of the Liebig Extract of Meat Company, by various companies throughout the years, Oxo Wharf Tower became derelict between the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The building was finally refurbished in the 1990s and the building now contains a set of design, arts and crafts shops, with galleries, on the ground and first floors. 

The second floor can be hired for events and exhibitions.

The third to seventh floors were converted into 78 flats.

The eighth floor contains the Oxo Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie.

Not many people are aware that there is also a small public viewing area on the eighth floor, which is free to visit, and offers some great views along the River Thames. 

London The Unfinished City


  1. Interesting history. Not one of the most interesting viewing galleries, but it has to be done.

  2. Definitely not the highest or largest, but it does allow for a great view of St Paul's Cathedral, among others.