An art installation created by pupils of Hermitage School in Wapping, inspired by the history of the local area, has been unveiled in the vaulted basement of London Dock's Grade II listed Pennington Street Warehouse.
Once used as a rum warehouse, this heritage structure has been closed to the public for over 200 years and will be brought back to life through this community-focused art installation. It will now form the new commercial heart of the London Dock development with an eclectic mix of retail, restaurants, galleries and offices.
The artwork - a collection of 350 clay figurines - was developed in partnership with artist Emma Corrine, who based the project on Hermitage School's curriculum topic of bridges and tunnels. Ms Corrine used Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Thames Tunnel - the first ever tunnel constructed under a navigable river - which passes by Wapping, as a point of inspiration.
90 children from Year 1 and 2 (aged five to eight) created the figurines in workshops with Ms Corrine, with the clay people representing commuters using the Thames Tunnel for transportation, from Brunel's day to the present.
On Tuesday 10 February 2015, 29 pupils from the school were joined by Ms Corrine and representatives from St George and Bow Arts Trust for the installation.
Craig Carson, Managing Director, St George City commented; "St George is excited by the London Dock development and bringing the Pennington Street Warehouse back into use. At 313m in length, the basement is an ideal setting for an artwork inspired by tunnels. It is fantastic to see the children's artwork installed in a building steeped in local history."
Zoe Howe, Headteacher, Hermitage School commented; "It is very exciting for the children to have worked with artist Emma Corrine and to have the opportunity to display their work in this magnificent and historic building."
The project was supported by St George and the artist was commissioned by local educational charity, the Bow Arts Trust.
Marcel Baettig, Chief Executive, Bow Arts Trust commented; "Bow Arts is delighted to be working with Hermitage Primary School and St George. Working with some of London's top artists, we create projects in schools that help young people rediscover the areas in which they live."
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Notes to the Editor
About St George:
St George is proud to be a member of the Berkeley Group and is London's leading mixed use developer, regenerating brownfield land to create thriving new communities in attractive landscaped environments.
Since 2000 St George has delivered over 8,730 new homes; over 2,400 of which are affordable; 836,000 sq ft of commercial floor space and 83,000 sq ft of community space, as well as 30 acres of open space.
In 2002, St George was the first residential developer to be granted the Queen's Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development. The Berkeley Group as a whole received this prestigious accolade in 2008 and again in 2014.
Each home St George delivers creates or sustains 5.6 jobs.
About London Dock
In March 2014, Tower Hamlets Council granted permission to St George to transform London Dock site in Wapping with a Patel Taylor masterplan for:
• 1,800 homes
• 486 homes to be affordable (30% of overall habitable rooms) in a mix of tenures including social rent and first time buyer
• 210,000 ft2 commercial floorspace
• Six acres public open space including a major new civic square
Construction started in September 2014.
As part of the development, the listed Pennington Street Warehouse will be restored and brought back into use with an eclectic mix of retail, restaurants, galleries and offices.
The Warehouse is only substantial building to survive from the first phase of The London Dock, which was the first enclosed commercial docks in the capital.
The Warehouse is a Grade II listed building, constructed in phases in c. 1804-06. The two-storey, brick-built structure, which is 313m long, was designed for the storage of imported goods held in bond. It was designed by the Dock's surveyor, the engineer Daniel Alexander.
The warehouse basement comprises a series of vaults which were historically used for storing high-value alcohol, such as rum, in a cool, dark and secure environment.
About Bow Arts Trust
Bow Arts was established as an educational arts charity in 1995 based in East London, where it supports a community of over 400 artists with affordable, secure, creative workspace in the heart of London's Artist Quarter.
Bow Arts also manages one of the country's most exciting education programmes. The schools programme takes world class artists into schools to improve the lives and learning of children and young people. Our projects, workshops and training are proven to raise attainment, deliver on school improvement priorities and provide top quality learning experiences. Bow Arts also runs the Nunnery, a contemporary art gallery a stone's throw from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which supports a diverse range of local, national and international exhibitions and events.
Bow Arts works closely with a number of partners including East Thames, Poplar HARCA, Crisis, Tower Hamlets Council and Newham Council, and joined the National Portfolio of Arts Council England in April 2012.
About Emma Corrine
Emma Corinne has been working with Bow Arts as an arts educator in primary and secondary schools since 2012.
Emma makes both 2D and 3D art and works with strong colours and abstract shapes. She is influenced by the calming effect of working creatively, and likes to make art in an experimental, organic way.