The Rum Factory opened as a new hub for artists today following its transformation by Bow Arts.
A total of 90 studio spaces now fill the Grade II-listed, 19th-century warehouse on Pennington Street in Wapping. The building had been lying empty since News International vacated the site four years ago until developer St George City teamed up with Bow Arts Trust to turn it into Wapping’s new ‘Artistic Quarter’.
The two-storey warehouse is part of a 15-acre plot that will be turned into housing, shops, restaurants, galleries and offices over the next 15 years.
A stone’s throw from the very first artist studio warehouse at St Katherine’s Dock – opened in 1968 by artist Bridget Riley – the Rum Factory was inaugurated by leading industry figures today, including Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota. Referring to the building’s history as News International’s HQ, Serota said: ‘Within 24 hours, the artists working here will banish the ghosts that remain’.
The opening signifies another step in the regeneration of the London Docklands, once the biggest active docks in the city.