As part of the OXO Tower, South Bank venue OXO2 has a rich and interesting history.
The tower was originally built as a power station around 1900, used to provide electricity exclusively to the Royal Mail Post Office. In the 1920s the tower was acquired by the (delightfully named) Liebig Extract of Meat Company, the company responsible for creating OXO stock cubes.
Liebig Extract of Meat Company decided to rebuild much of the structure, demolishing most of the original building but extending the riverside end to be closer to the Thames. As part of the construction, a tower was to be built. Liebig requested illuminated signage along the tower advertising their popular product.
Liebig’s advertising request was subsequently denied by the authorities, meaning Liebig had to be a little more creative! Their solution was to adjust the tower design to incorporate three specially designed cross and circle windows that looked suspiciously like the company’s most popular brand, OXO. This got around the ban on skyline advertising at the time and established the building’s iconic name.
The OXO Tower remained one of London’s highest and busiest commercial buildings until the mid 20th Century. Meat was delivered daily by barges which travelled along the Thames to the building’s loading bays and cold store houses.
Unfortunately, over time the use of the Thames for transport and trading began to decline and by the early 1970s the building was largely derelict. After several proposals for redevelopment of the area, the building was eventually purchased by Coin Street Community Builders and the redevelopment of the site began.
In the 1990s the building was completely refurbished to include housing, restaurants, shops and the exhibition space that makes up OXO2 today! Since then, the building has won several accolades including Building of the Year Award for Urban Regeneration, the RIBA Award for Architecture and the Civic Trust Award. It has also been host to a large number of exciting events, product launches and parties thanks to the versatile event space of OXO2.