Originally constructed as a power station for the Royal Mail in the late 19th century the OXO building was purchased for cold storage by the Liebig Extract of Meat Company, famous for its OXO (oxen) beef cube.
In the 1920s the building was remodelled to an Art Deco design, but permission to display illuminated signs advertising the name of their product was denied.
Four sets of three vertically-aligned 10 foot windows, two circular and one in the shape of a cross were built into the tower. With light shining through them from inside the, the word OXO was emblazon across the Thames, so getting around the advertising ban.
Today the site belongs to the non-profit making Coin Street Community Builders who redeveloped and refurbished the Tower
and surrounding wharf to include rooftop restaurant, shops and exhibition space.
The location is Barge House Street, which dates back to the 16th Century when King James I used the site to store the Royal barge. The King regularly travelled on the river Thames between the Royal Palaces of Windsor, Westminster and Hampton Court.
Gabriel's Wharf is an eclectic collocation of design shops, galleries, cafes and restaurants next to the river Thames. Rejuvenated from old garages in the late 1980’s it is now popular with both locals and tourists.
Part of the Coin Street Community, the design shops at Gabriel's Wharf are run by small businesses that design, manufacture and sell their own products.
To provide an appropriate backdrop the blank walls of the surrounding building has been painted to blend in.