Keith & Henderson @ rue BerckmansBehind this wall lies the former premises of Keith & Henderson in Brussels, where high-quality fabric was produced and used to make bespoke suits such as those along Seville Row in London. I pass this building frequently as it is just round the corner from my home and I have always been attracted to the font of the letterings on the wall.

And what a striking tree, towering over the buildings that surround it! I wonder if it is common in Brussels to have a gigantic tree in one’s courtyard… the place across from mine also has a similarly tall tree.pano-sunny-dayI took this photo on 30 April last year, when spring was well on its way in Brussels after a mild winter. Right now, this tree looks pretty much like it’s still in the winter hibernation mode with only dead leaves and not a single green one in sight.

Anyway, I digress. After taking the photos of the former Keith & Henderson factory, I tried to find out more about it online but I didn’t manage to find out much except for an article about it being abandoned since 2003. The other results that came up directed me to clothing from the 1950s and 1960s, such as this overcoat, this gorgeous women’s coat and a tweed jacket for sale on eBay, as well as a 1968 advertisement. I wonder if the company still exists?

By the way, have you noticed the enormous graffiti on the brick facade in the background?

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10 replies on “Abandoned in Brussels

  1. What gorgeous photos — and what a delicious font! After reading your past few posts on street art, I wonder if you’ve seen my post on the street art in Reykjavík. It seems more accepted and overtly artsy there compared to graffiti in other places, but it was still a highlight of visiting the city.

    1. I love the font too! Sometimes I daydream about living in a place that used to be a workshop or factory. But I imagine that the cost of maintenance and renovation would be quite prohibitive! In Brussels, I think the street art scene is very limited and not quite as sophisticated, especially if you compare to what you have in London and Paris. Also, the authorities here are quick to spray down any vandalism that appear in the city. Thanks for sharing your post on Reykjavik, the aesthetics are very different from what you have here in Brussels, where it is not often that you’d see something this well put together / sophisticated. Or maybe I’m just not looking hard enough!

      1. Thanks for checking out the Reykjavík post! I did think the street art there was especially polished.

        Does Brussels have the kind of industrial loft living spaces that are in US cities?

        1. Yep, we had the chance to visit one during the 2011 Art Nouveau/Art Deco biennale in Brussels. It was a two-floor penthouse in a former printing factory – very cool. But I think these are quite rare in Brussels, especially compared to NY.

          1. There’s a former textile mill in Oakland (across the bay from San Francisco) that we always used to pass while driving from my parents’ house up to our place — I just looked it up and found out that it’s full of work/live lofts, mostly rented to artists. So cool! I almost want to open a shop just so I can apply to live there. ;b

          2. Looks like an interesting place! My boyfriend (who’s from Ohio) was telling me that it is very common to find such lofts in NY due to its industrial past. I like such places as they tend to have large windows, concrete floors and wide open spaces : )

            You could try renting some on AirBnB in the meantime!

          3. I really might sometime! 🙂

            I thought of this conversation the other day, while we were in the Victorian town of Oamaru — they had art galleries in these incredible airy spaces which were actually 19th-century grain mills or similar agricultural-industrial buildings. Here’s one!

          4. Looks like that’s a very large space! Suddenly am reminded why I like small spaces – because there’s less to clean! :p

          5. Hee, true, although it also depends how much stuff you have — a ton of things crammed into a small space can be more work to clean than the equal amount in a big space. 🙂

          6. Absolutely! I try not to buy things that I don’t need but… I’ve a soft spot for books, leather bags and clothes made by independent designers! ;p

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