Proof of the importance of beer. The Hop exchange building was built in 1867, originally with a glass roof to enable the trading of hops to be conducted under natural light. Southwark was for a very long time the area known for hops, breweries and coaching inns. The hops were grown in nearby Kent and right up until the 1960's locals, often entire families, would take a working holiday each Autumn picking the bines.
Most of the warehouses and other buildings in the area were destroyed during the second world war, the hop exchange was the grandest building in Southwark to survive. Although not entirely in its original form. Unfortunately due to a fire in 1920 the top two floors were removed and the remainder of the building was converted into offices.