A very distinctive and sadly also very derelict building near City Airport is to be restored and reopened to the public, as a local community centre.

Tate Institute (c) ianVisits

Originally opened in 1887, the Tate Institute was an entertainment venue built to serve the workers in the sugar factory just across the railways. However, the institute closed in 1933, and the building was sold in 1937. The top floor later served as the Silvertown library between 1938 and 61, with the ground floor still used for social events.

The building has been disused for about 20-30 years, and although occasionally employed by vanguard theatre companies, it has been otherwise unused, a reminder of once grander times in this part of east London.

Newham Council has now arranged for social enterprise ReSpace Projects to lead the regeneration of the building, while locally based Office S&M Architects will lead the building work to refurbish the Tate Institute into a social centre with various spaces to support different community needs.

The improvement works at Tate Institute will be delivered through three key stages: REinsTate, REgenerate, and REspace. These stages will create four self-sustaining areas consisting of an enterprise hub, workshops and event spaces, creative studios, and community gardens curated to coexist in one collaborative environment.

The first design and construction phase has started. The aim is to make the building safe, watertight, and operational by July 2024 so that the space can be opened for more community events.

Darren Mackin, Director of Community Wealth Building, said: “The Tate Institute served as a very important social hub for the workers and residents of Silvertown for many years. Our investment to bring this space will give the building new life and purpose. ReSpace is an exemplary social enterprise that will deliver on our social and community wealth-building ambitions for the building and the wider North Woolwich area. I am pleased with their appointment and look forward to working with them on this innovative project.”


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