Grade II-listed building to become creative hub with £250k refurb
Alastair Lockhart, local democracy reporter
- Credit: Newham Council
An historic building used as a film set is to be converted into a creative hub with a £250,000 refurbishment.
Alice Billings House in West Ham Lane, Stratford, is a Grade II-listed building which has served as the film set for TV programmes including BBC living history series The Victorian Slum in 2016.
The programme featured modern-day Britons experiencing the life of impoverished Victorians.
Now the building and its surrounding courtyards will undergo a major overhaul with 30 studios planned.
These will be available to rent for visual, performance and digital art as well as musicians and designers.
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Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz said: “A dynamic cultural offer is going to play a huge role in Newham’s recovery from the pandemic.
“The reinvention of Alice Billings House as a cultural hub is symbolic of the exciting artistic future which the borough can look forward to, complementing the BBC, V&A, Sadler’s Wells and the London College of Fashion when they open at the nearby East Bank and the opening of Talent House."
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The Creative Land Trust was awarded the £250,000 to complete the project after bidding as part of Newham Council’s Active Spaces programme.
Ms Fiaz continued: "It’s been an extremely challenging time for the arts and creative industries so I’m delighted that our innovative Active Spaces programme is helping to breathe new life into the sector here in Newham."
Catherine Webster and Alexandra Notay, co-chairs of Creative Land Trust, released a joint statement: “We are delighted that Creative Land Trust can play such a major role in the reinvention of this beautiful, Grade II-listed building, bringing 30 more affordable studios under our stewardship to Newham, an exciting and blossoming borough for the arts.”
Investment in the new creative hub at Alice Billings House is part of a wider programme to stimulate jobs, youth participation and the arts in Stratford.
According to Historic England, Alice Billings House was named in the 1980s to commemorate a Victorian sanitary inspector.
It was built around 1905/6 to provide accommodation for firemen from West Ham Fire Brigade.
The building was listed partly due to the fact it is an early 20th century example of housing which was built for a fire brigade.