Street spirit for artists

By Marco Cillario - Thu 23 June 2016, 10:03 am

A new street dedicated to creative enterprises has been established in Elephant and Castle.

Spare Street, to be launched on 1 July, is home to 813sq m of workspace and a public space across five railway arches. 

The space will cater for between 80 and 100 emerging artists and creative entrepreneurs.

The street has been named after artist Austin Osman Spare, who lived and worked in the area from the early 1900s until his death in 1956.

The project has been delivered by Hotel Elephant, a non-for-profit organisation established in 2009 to provide space for arts and culture in Southwark. It has been funded by the Mayor of London’s London Regeneration Fund and Southwark Council’s Arts and Culture Grant fund. 

“Our mission is to establish Spare Street as a destination which celebrates and encourages creative enterprise and artistic production in Southwark,” said Reuben Powell, director of Hotel Elephant.

“A key part of this was Hotel Elephant naming this new street - which quite literally puts it on the map."

Spare Street is the first phase of a plan by Southwark Council and Network Rail to refurbish a series of under-used railway arches and create a new pedestrian route from the more popular and touristic places in Borough and Bankside into the heart of the borough – the so called ‘low line’ project, inspired by New York’s famous High Line.

“We want to unlock hundreds of railway arches in Southwark with new shops, cafes, artist studios, cultural spaces and high quality public realm,” said Councillor Mark Williams, cabinet member for regeneration and new homes.

“We will continue this work across Walworth, The Elephant, Bankside, Bermondsey and Peckham to make the Low Line a reality across our borough.”

The next phase of the project is expected to look at the arches along Elephant Road.