CLT Announces the Launch of Alice Billing House Studios

June 4, 2024

Creative Land Trust is pleased to mark the official launch of new affordable workspace for artists in Stratford in the London Borough of Newham, adding when complete 7,000 square feet of affordable workspace for London’s leading creatives.

Creative Land Trust is pleased to mark the official launch of new affordable workspace for artists in Stratford in the London Borough of Newham, adding when complete 7,000 square feet of affordable workspace for London’s leading creatives. 

On Tuesday 4 June, guests from the worlds of arts & culture, property & finance, and London’s local government joined the Creative Land Trust team in celebrating the opening of Alice Billing House.    

The new studios fill one of two blocks of the listed building, owned by the London Borough of Newham and located in Stratford’s town centre. Originally built as dormitories for West Ham’s firefighters, Alice Billing House has been redundant for many years and required considerable restoration to be brought back into use. The refurbishment also delivers a creative hub for communities to gather and co-create, improving Stratford’s social offer through a dedicated community cafe and project space. The building takes its name from Alice Billing, the Newham-based 19th Century sanitary officer who worked in the borough.

In partnership with LB Newham (as part of the council’s Community Wealth Building strategy), and with support from Levelling Up Fund, Architectural Heritage Fund, London Legacy Development Corporation and Mayor of London, Creative Land Trust has restored and refurbished the south block and begun repairs to the north, then appointed local studio provider Grow Studios to manage the workspace and recruit artist tenants.    

Within days of opening, all the space was committed, reflecting the huge demand for affordable workspace in London. Artists commented on the high quality of their new surroundings, testimony to the commitment and expertise of the project conservation architect, Purcell and its project design team as well as with contractors AJS Construct.

Having opened the first building of artist studios, Creative Land Trust is now fundraising to complete work on the North block, with development funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund already secured, in the expectation of doubling the amount of workspace available for local artists, creating new public realm space and a public facing project space for the community.

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said: “The launch of Alice Billing House Studios is a brilliant example of how we can we work together to support our creatives. They are the lifeblood of our capital and drive our economy, but continue to struggle due a lack of affordable studio spaces. These new spaces will enable artists to work in London, whilst benefitting from the restoration of a beautiful building. I hope it inspires and encourages artists now and in the future towards careers in the creative industries as we build a better and more prosperous London for everyone.”

Yves Blais, Operations Manager at Creative Land Trust, said: “With the help of all our partners on this project, we are proud to have made new, long-term affordable space available for artists in this heritage building in the heart of Stratford. We know that protecting spaces like this will help support artists’ careers and provide opportunities to local people and look forward to bringing other spaces like this back to life elsewhere across London.”

Bo Chapman & Zoe Flynn, directors of Frames of Mind, participatory arts organisation delivering creative digital engagement projects in Newham and Alice Billing House artist tenants said: “We are delighted to have been offered a space in Alice Billing House and are loving the view of the East London skyline from our studio, no. 11! Being here is a game changer for our organisation, enabling us to grow. We look forward to many creative collaborations.”

Laura Williams, Development Manager for England at the Architectural Heritage Fund, said: “It is wonderful to see the official launch of Alice Billings House Studios, a project that we have supported from an early stage with multiple grants. Creative Land Trust have done a fantastic job leading its transformation from a long derelict historic building into a thriving asset for Stratford and London’s creative community.”

Reuben Jacobs, Founding Director at Grow Studios said: “The need for affordable space for artists to develop and nurture their practice is fundamental to London’s cultural, social and economic ecosystems. That is one of the reasons we’re called ‘Grow’! We’re excited to be part of this amazing restoration project and are looking forward to fostering a creative community which we hope will be brought further to life with more studios in the North Block of this historic Newham building.”

For press inquiries, interviews, and further information, please contact: Yves Blais