Leader welcomes new Wandsworth Town cultural hub
Published: Friday 10th November 17
The leader of Wandsworth Council has welcomed a £12m cultural regeneration plan for Wandsworth Town.
The new Ram Quarter
The Greenland Group, developer of The Ram Quarter, has promised to transform the town centre into a cultural hotspot, with activities and plans specifically tailored around the local community and heritage of the area.
Plans include a new 2,208sq ft heritage centre, bringing to life the site’s brewing heritage, including original listed machinery and equipment. Work is scheduled to start in October and the centre is expected to open in November 2018.
Greenland is working with placemaking experts Futurecity to devise, curate and manage a programme of community-based activities and art installations, advised by Enable Leisure and Culture who manage arts services on behalf of Wandsworth Council.
Beer has been brewed continuously on the site for almost five centuries. Brewer John Hatch has been brewing small bespoke batches of ale in the site’s stable block throughout the construction process to keep the tradition alive, and will be moving to a new microbrewery within the development.
Brewer John Hatch
The Harvest Festival tradition will be revived in the former brewing and market town, with hop-pickers harvesting hops that have been planted in repurposed original Ram Brewery fixtures along the public boulevard.
Greenland has re-created the river passes and natural flora and fauna that would have traditionally grown in the area, re-introducing 2,000 plants to the river bank and bed and commissioning a new river wall to be built.
Restaurants will line the new stretch of river, the promenade section of which will open to the public in November 2017. This will be the first time ever that residents will be able to walk along this stretch of the River Wandle. In time, there will be three bridges connecting one side of the Ram Quarter to the other.
Two artists have been commissioned to create artworks celebrating Wandsworth and its heritage. Tania Kovats, will deliver The Tapestry Commission combining the heritage of The Ram Brewery with celebrations of the River Wandle. Neville Gabie has recreated a dinner party inspired by a photograph of The Ram Brewery staff’s Christmas dinner taken in 1948, which will be backlit and featured on the heritage site.
Meanwhile the council’s Pump House Gallery is running a project called Confluence: The River Speaks. Local people took part in workshops during September and October and their work will feed into a permanent installation at the heritage Centre. Some of the funding for this project came from the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “The creation of the Ram Quarter is a key element of the council’s regeneration of Wandsworth Town Centre. It’s excellent news that the rich history of the site will be reflected in this cultural plan and that our thriving arts community is involved in creating a new cultural hub for the town which all our residents can enjoy.”
Wenhao Qian, Managing Director of Greenland (UK) Investment Ltd, said: “We are delighted to be working closely with the local community and highly commended artists to create this exciting new cultural centre for the whole of South London. This arts programme will establish the Ram Quarter as the dynamic heart of the town centre, with its own unique appeal that enhances Wandsworth’s existing cultural offering.”
The Ram Quarter is just one of several key Wandsworth Town Centre regeneration sites. Construction is currently underway on 200 new homes, a better public library and a new green public space in the High Street and Garratt Lane, and Transport for London is drawing up plans to remove the Wandsworth Gyratory System to make the town more pedestrian-friendly.
A Business Improvement District (BID) has been set up to enable local businesses to raise money to improve the local environment and boost trade. Follow the Wandsworth Town BID on Twitter @WandsworthCaryl.