The Tea Factory Gallery [Updated]

The Tea Factory Gallery is perhaps the most exciting development planned locally. The planning agreement struck between the Council and the developer guarantees the creation of a gallery space, which will be given rent free to the community for two years.

So, Brockley has two years to make it work - to create a financially sustainable business model which will enable it to pay its own way as a permanent facility.

Yesterday, we spoke to Andrew Carmichael, Director of the Creative Lewisham Agency (responsible for promoting the growth of Lewisham's creative industries) for an interview we hope to publish next week.

However, he gave us one piece of news that demanded immediate airing:

The gallery space is due for completion in Spring 2008 (when the Tea Factory is completed), at which point it will be nothing but an empty shell. How that shell is ultimately used is currently up for discussion and there will be a meeting in the evening of November 8th in Brockley to debate the issues. Anyone with an active interest in the gallery (including artists or people interested in running the gallery) is welcome to attend.

If you'd like to go, please email Andrew in advance to request a place.

And now, here's the official version, just sent out by Creative Lewisham, with some interesting new details...

The disused 1940’s tea and coffee factory is being converted by Michael Trentham Architects into 1440m2 mixed use space, which will consist of 4 commercial units at ground level, one of which will be a café, and 13 residential units above. Of the commercial units, the largest will be made available for use as a gallery. As yet no person or organisation has been appointed to operate the space and the meeting will be about how that process will be taken forward. Although the space will be rent free for two years it will have other operating costs and a good business plan and management structure will need to be put in place.

The Tea Factory is situated right in the heart of Brockley, beside the station and minutes away from the café’s and restaurants of Brockley Road. This is a great opportunity for local artists, arts organisations or other consortia to explore how this project could operate. Andrew Carmichael from the Creative Lewisham Agency will facilitate the meeting and Colin Yeates of DPS Property who owns the building will be present to answer questions.