Goldsmiths to restore New Cross landmark

 Goldsmiths announces:

The iconic Richard Hoggart Building on Lewisham Way is the focus of a major restoration project by Goldsmiths, University of London.

The building, which dates back more than 160 years and is named after a former head of the College, is the main building on Goldsmiths’ 16 acre campus in New Cross and the first port of call for visitors, staff and students.

How the RHB will look after its makeover
An historic view of the building
A six month programme of work will restore the period features of the façade and landscape the forecourt into a social area with outdoor seating, improved access and a space that can be used for outdoor performances and events. The entrance lobby and reception of the building will also be widened.

A key objective of the work is to transform the forecourt and entrance into an open and inviting space for the whole of the Goldsmiths community to enjoy.

Warden of Goldsmiths, Patrick Loughrey commented:
“Over the next few months, you will see a great deal of activity as we work on improving the campus for students and, just as importantly, the local community. This will be Goldsmiths’ biggest renewal in 50 years and will, we hope, play a part in re-shaping the architectural landscape of New Cross.”

He added: “We are proud to be in New Cross and keen to reach out to the community in inspiring and exciting ways. I warmly invite local residents to one of our many events on campus. Each week brings and engaging array of free lectures, performances, exhibitions and more. Our next open day takes place on 15 June – a chance for you to explore our campus, meet our academics and staff and find out more about our courses.”

Former Goldsmiths student Mary Quant is heading up an appeal to the Goldsmiths community of friends and former students to raise funds for the project.

In a letter to former students, she wrote: “For many of us, Goldsmiths was a coming of age. We learnt of beauty, encountered people from worlds outside our own. We were challenged intellectually and creatively, we experienced the indulgence and pleasure of youth, we grew up, we fell in love. I am still in love with Goldsmiths, and that is why, today, I commend to you this very special appeal to renew the heart of Goldsmiths, by restoring the entrance and forecourt garden of our beautiful and historic building.”

Goldsmiths has also started work to convert 286 New Cross Road into a professional recording studio, enabling students to graduate with a portfolio of recordings and it is hoped the studio will also be available for community hire. Former students at Goldsmiths include Blur, Dire Straits and the Velvet Underground and artists such as Mercury Prize nominees Katy B, and James Blake.

The external frontage will be refurbished, but changes to appearance will be minimal, to maintain the character of the street and be in keeping with the conservation area. A single storey extension will be added to the south of the building to create more space. To see more of the exciting plans, go to: http://www.gold.ac.uk/music/studying-music/recording-studios/

Full disclosure: I will become a member of the Council for Goldsmiths in September 2013. Back in July 2012 I was asked to promote the application process for the Council and decided to apply myself. I was lucky enough to be selected. For obvious reasons therefore, I will avoid making further comment on these plans, other than to say that Goldsmiths’ potential to enhance New Cross and wider area was one of the main reasons that I wanted to get involved.

29 comments:

B said...

When is this due to be completed?

Tracy Jeffrey said...

Do you know where the displaced cars will park (there are none on the picture, but that might just be for prettiness)? We get quite a few college cars parking on our road so would love to know what the fuller plans are...
Does look nice though :O)

Gill said...

Shame they still have no plans to sort out the eyesore which is the parade of shops along by Cafe Crema and Prangsta. It's now 16 months since we were told these properties would be brought back into use 'soon', following the campaign by Isobel Williams. See http://brockleycentral.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/stop-rot-campaign-goes-mainstream.html

Sammy P said...

This is fantastic news for the New Cross area and I am thrilled to hear about it. Great to have such a warm welcome extended to us too from the college itself. Credit to you Nick for your continuing efforts to promote and help improve the area - sorry to gush but we are incredibly lucky to have you.

Sanjit said...

As an alumnus, I'm pleased to read that the old place will be getting a bit of a tickle and a spruce, long overdue. However, I think the main problem many people have is with the way Goldsmith's turns it's back on the local community and misuses / neglects those properties which it owns on the 'high street' (see Gill's note).

Danja said...

Good news, slowly implementing that masterplan.
I took the scaffolding going up around the Prangsta/Cafe Crema block to be a sign that work was going to happen. Although that was some time ago now, with no visible signs of work going on.

Headhunter said...

My bloody comment didn't post again! Argh! I was basically agreeing with this... It's a shame that this stretch of shops has been left to rot... Has Goldsmith's communicated any reason for the delay? It's all been semi derelict since I have lived in the area - almost 7 years now. Why does the council allow prominent landholders like Goldsmiths and Railtrack/Network Rail (whatever they're called) who own the "Toes Ask" building in Brockley to simply allow buildings to collapse into dereliction?

evva said...

<3 Goldsmiths <3 New Cross

Gill said...

They spent £30k erecting the scaffolding in order to replace the roof, then realised they didn't have enough cash to do so, so took it down after carrying out basic remedial works. Money wasted, again. We had a look inside the corner unit 2 weeks ago with someone from the Estates office, and were told they have basically carried out sufficient work to keep the building in its current condition for a further 2 years, and that's as far as they've planned. Endless meetings and feasibility studies, but no action. On and on it goes......

emma said...

How can we put pressure on Goldsmiths to either make use the buildings by Cafe Crema (+ the other properties they own in New Cross High St) for Art Galleries/book shops, or release them for rent and refurbishment so that the local community can use and enjoy it? The high street is a mess because Goldsmiths will not do this. Petition anyone? Who do we lobby?

Tamsin said...

Good on you Nick for giving your time to become a link between the college and the community.
I was also wondering about the displaced cars...
Any chance of the former Pearce signs little man climbing a ladder that so enchanted one in the traffic jams along the A2 being restored as well. Something that was promised when the factory was demolished and the student accommodation blocks put in but never happened.

roysavage said...

My guess they want it to fall apart, so that they can put more modern blocks with more flats in and make more cash. the arguement will be it is cheaper to rebuild than renovate.

Anon said...

Who cares? There are much more important things their money should be spent on than a man on a ladder.

Monkeyboy said...

well as from September we can lobby Nick. *narrows eyes*

Brockley Nick said...

On this point, I hope they won't mind me saying that they are aware of how strongly many people feel about this issue and that it is something they plan to address.


It's also the case that they want to do a better job in future of engaging with local people, which is one of the reasons they issued the call for local people to apply for Council in the first place. I certainly hope to do a good job of conveying local issues and ideas as part of my role.

emma said...

Goldsmiths have been aware of the 'New Cross high street' issue for years and yet they have still done nothing. Frankly the most exciting thing that has happened as far as that is concerned is the opening of the 'Allotment' and the new Sainsbury's Local in Lewisham Way, but we can never have diversity or a thriving centre to New Cross until Goldsmiths release their housing stock or make use of it. They are really holding back this area and the councils complacency in relation to their dilapidated housing/rental stock just adds to this. There needs to be a proactive campaign to get them moving, not just vague 'plans' for the future.

emma said...

Hi Nick. Is there any way of finding out exactly how much of New Cross high street is owned by Goldsmiths? From the 'Allotment' down to New Cross Gate Station on both sides of the road for example? It would be interesting and useful information for lobbying purposes. + the 'London Particular' is also a great addition to this area, but again it is overshadowed by dilapidated buildings on both sides of the main road.

Jean-Claude Lionbeat said...

It's nothing short of a travesty that an area that is so bustling, replete with creative talent and so evidently 'on the up,' is being hamstrung, insofar as the provision of a landmark High Street parade is concerned, by the seemingly wilful and, in any case, evident administrative hand-wringing on the part of the college. I also despair at the lack of communication with my organisation (which could offer an abundance of opportunity and experience to Goldsmiths students and alumni) despite several emails requesting an informal meeting to discuss possibilities. In all, the overwhelming impression given, to a local resident and business man, is that the institution is host to an intellectual elite which is incompetent insofar as promulgating decent programmes for community engagement and being proactive in the management of their substantial estate is concerned. This is shameful. Conversely, their students continue to be innovative and enormously inspiring. Fortunately, I am able to seek them out on an ad hoc basis. If only the student body had a serious say and even a hand in governing those departments at the College responsible for Community Engagement and Estate Management. I'd be delighted if any of those currently charged with those responsibilities wanted to contact me to explain their initiatives, and make me far more aware of their gumption, subsequent to reading this note.

emma said...

The question is, are Goldsmith Estates dept just shortsighted and lazy as far as developing New Cross high Street, or are they actively blocking development for some reason? How are the council involved in this? There are a huge amount of artists, city people, media types who live and are moving into this area, not to mention the creative power of Goldsmiths students, We are unable to contribute to, engage with, use the High St in any effective manner because in effect, there is no high street, no centre. And yes, it is on a main road, so is Islington's high st. It is strung between two major commuter hubs, New Cross and New Cross Gate, both 5 mins from London Bridge, 10mins to Canary Wharf and 10 mins from the City, there has to be a reason why it has been allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair?

Gill said...

The hilarious reponse from the Estates office is that any potential business should be "a good fit with the college, for example a bookshop". What a total waste.

emma said...

Yes that is hilarious since they already have a book shop in the college along with a Costa! So much for the rest of the community in the area. I feel a petition coming on and some organised lobbying.

Dominic Mayer said...

Please don't lobby for a Costa!

Danja said...

It is obviously in general a run down area,and Goldsmiths' can't be blamed for much of that. They don't own much past the Marquis of Granby corner in the Deptford direction- just the two accomodation blocks. They also own the block between the Library or thereabouts and the the New Cross Inn, and most of the other side from Lewisham Way round to the Hobgoblin, but not the block attached to the New Cross House.

See p11 and 13 of the Masterplan here for a clearer explanation in the form of maps/satellite images: http://cms.gold.ac.uk/static/estates/masterplan.pdf

Tessa said...

I think they should turn all of the vacant shops into a gallery for student work until they can think of alternatives - they could also run workshops there and public performances. I'm sure students would even volunteer to man it in order to have their work displayed in such a public place. Another unit could be used as bike shop and maintenance place - that would be busy. It would also be good if any ventures that made profits were run as social enterprises where the money made was pumped back into the community somehow. A third one could be run as Goldsmiths community hang out - like a coffee shop except you don't have to buy anything. You can read, find out what's going on in the community and buy affordable drinks, snacks if you want to but there should be no obligation to if using the space. The space could also be hired out at an affordable rate. Goldsmiths could also run could seminars and book launches there that really were accessible to the community.And another space could be a recycle space where people drop-off, collect and exchange things like furniture and so on. These kind of ventures would work well and create community space in the heart of New Cross and bring some more vibrancy to the high street. I grew up in New Cross since 1985 and I would love to see the vacant units in use.

Gill said...

As these restoration works drag on and on, work is well underway on the construction of new student accommodation along Batavia Road. Yet again Goldsmiths is looking after its own interests and ignoring those of the local community - how can they claim to have no funding available for the derelict parade when they're spending tens of millions on projects which benefit only themselves?
They continue to show themselves as selfish and ignorant landowners, with no respect for those who live here.

Brockley Nick said...

As a member of Council, with some oversight of their estate plans, I don't recognise the picture you describe - they are prioritising works that will have a beneficial effect on the area. Call it enlightened self-interest if you like, but Goldsmiths clearly benefit from New Cross being improved, as environment matters to prospective students (let alone current students and staff).


Some progress has been achieved: They have successfully converted one of the shops into a music studio and are committed to improving the rest of the parade. As this article says, the first phase of improvement works is now underway (the Hoggart building entrance works are nearly complete) and there will be more news very soon.

Gill said...

Well they told us in the summer they had no plans for that parade, so I'd be interested to know what they have said recently.

Gill said...

Also, the new music studio is not in one of the derelict shops, it's the other side of the Deptford Town Hall building.

Gill said...

Pedestrianising Laurie Grove is also on their list, which will be marvellous for Goldsmtihs' Great Campus Plan, but not so great for local businesses who rely on that road for customer parking and their daily deliveries.

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