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Bromley Hall (1490)

A grim stretch of the Blackwall Tunnel northern approach is hardly where you’d expect to find London’s oldest brick building – or an English Civil War gunpowder factory, for that matter.

Bromley Hall is easy to miss. Many times I’ve driven around the A12 paying little attention to the endless exhaust-strained offices, boarded-up factories and self-storage hangers. The carriageway passes right by the door, so you’re also unlikely to see it from afar.

The early Tudor house was built in 1490 by Holy Trinity Priory, on the site of the earlier Lower Bramerley Manor. Seized during the dissolution of the monasteries, it was refurbished by Henry VII before being used as a gunpowder factory in the 1640s. The building was later used as a printing works and private house before becoming a nurses residence and training hospital in the late 19th century.

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