A Brumwell Thomas
- Original design
- A Brumwell Thomas, 1914
Lewisham Arthouse is a voluntary led co-operative that provides artist studios, gallery, workshop space and an extensive education programme. Housed in a Grade II listed building, the former Deptford Library (one of the first open access lending libraries) is a fine example of Edwardian Baroque Architecture based on Classic Renaissance style by Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas. It is of Berkshire brick with porticoes, entablature in Portland stone.
The main architectural order is of Ionic design and the portico with its eight coupled columns form the entrance. An inscription to the donor of the building Andrew Carnegie is enclosed in a floral wreath carved in the stone panel over the doorway, with the lamp of knowledge at its head.
Many original features remain, like the oak front door, fireplaces and book lift. Others have been restored like the new oak side door and the barrel vaulted glazed ceiling on the first floor. The addition of the access ramp is also finished in Portland stone and spearheads a campaign to increase accessibility. We apologise that access for our disabled visitors is limited to the ground floor only.
A wide corridor with a plaster vaulted ceiling leads from the entrance to the ground floor studios, formerly the lending library. A grand marble staircase leads to the studios on the first floor. This floor was previously the reference library, which includes colonnaded gallery with the glazed barrel-vaulted ceiling.
On the left of the entrance hall is the workshop space. This area is maintained as a multi purpose space for a variety of events, including life-drawing, portrait and children’s classes. To the right was the old libraries newsroom, later the children’s library, now a thriving gallery run by Arthouse members. The workshop and gallery space are both available for hire. The remainder of the ground floor and also the basement houses further artist studios, including space for pottery classes with kiln facilities. Lewisham Arthouse also run photography classes and will have a dark room for hire, given funding in the near future.
Lewisham Arthouse was formed in 1994 becoming the first organisation of its type to become a Registered Friendly Society. The organisation has assisted in attracting funds for the building: The London Borough of Lewisham renovated the glazed roof and some improvement costs were met by Deptford City Challenge.
The Lewisham Arthouse has over the years and continues to renovate and preserve the building for community needs. A fundamental part of the ethos of this organisation is to provide affordable studio space to artists. Currently it has over 40 artists. The regular classes and workshops run by members of the Arthouse for the local community are long established and successful.