Woolwich’s new creative district named Woolwich Works has seen its spring opening delayed until this autumn with a newly confirmed opening date of September 23rd.
The project had been scheduled to complete in spring though that increasingly looked unlikely with the pandemic. A Woolwich Works update was not given at a council regeneration meeting earlier this year and the opening spring 2021 disappeared from the website in recent weeks.
The centre is occupying a number of buildings in Woolwich’s Royal Arsenal site including:
- An 1800-capacity venue (standing)
- A courtyard with seating for up to 600 people
- five rehearsal studios
- artists’ studios and offices
- A cafe/bar
The former Firepower museum and Heritage Centre and borough archives are now occupied by the centre. Earlier this year they were awarded £984,000 from Central Government via the Culture Recovery Fund which assists projects impacted by the pandemic. Greenwich Council are funding the project which was costed in 2020 at £32 million.
The project aims to not only appeal to local people but across London and beyond. Crossrail will bring the facility closer to much of the capital with rapidly reduced transport times. Liverpool Street will be 15 minutes away. Canary Wharf (and thousands of residents moving into new homes) will be less than 10 minutes away.
Crossrail commenced trial running yesterday and seeing live departures on the excellent realtimetrains has brought how just how better connected Woolwich and Abbey Wood will be to the rest of London. And not just London but beyond. The line links with major stations connecting the capital to other cities. Paddington for Bristol, Cardiff and the west. Liverpool Street for Cambridge, Norwich and many more.
With upgrades to many intercity lines alongside Crossrail, a huge chunk of time is taken off journeys. Artists, performers and audiences can conceivably reach places like Woolwich far more quickly. Bristol City Centre to Woolwich in two hours may be possible. It was three and half a couple of years ago at times. As someone who used to do routes like that weekly it’s transformative.
I’m sure some with scoff that no one will want to visit Woolwich from other parts of London and beyond. Nonsense. With an attractive line up of events people will visit from far and wide.
It’ll be hoped that it won’t repeat the issues with the former Firepower museum in the area, and the line-up and events do have wide appeal.