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Making Space in Poplar

Funded on Spacehive 11 May 2021 Delivered 19 December 2021

Impact data and claims within this report are provided by the project creator and have not been independently verified by Spacehive.

Making Space in Poplar

Fitzrovia Noir Community Interest Company By Fitzrovia Noir Community Interest Company

We want people off their mobile phones and to start creating, whether glassmaking, ceramics, food or mask-making, working safely together indoors and out at a newly refurbished bespoke Covid-era space

Tower Hamlets Delivery stage

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This project was funded on 11 May 2021!

We've been a given a long-empty post office on the Aberfeldy Estate in the East End, on a high street where most shop units are shuttered up. Ours is in state of disrepair but has such great potential, with a large front room with display windows, room for a separate kitchen, a garage for storage and a dedicated parking space that we can transform into an outdoor Making Space. Planned commissions worth a combined £31,000 have all been cancelled or postponed indefinately, we don't see being able to fully operate until late summer 2021, so want to use the next six months to test and prepare our participatory programme of creative making. Local residents are 70% Muslim, mainly Bangladeshi and with sizeable Pakistani and Somalian communities, also with many Vietnamese refugees settling here in the 1970s. This project aims to to bridge the longstanding population between these groups and the incoming international professionals now moving into the large new expanding Oxbow development.

What we'll deliver:

  • A large collaborative glass chandeIier for the community to enjoy
  • New, Covid-secured outdoor and indoor Making Spaces
  • OpportunIties to aquIre new design and making skills

Why it's a great idea:

Creative making will facilitate cultural understanding and social cohesion across a very wide demographic, giving people ' a place to be' to share their thoughts and issues, with applied arts and culinary practice offering opportunities to learn new skills. Most local residents have no personal outside space, so by creating a multi-use outdoor Making Space we can encourage wellbeing through physical activities including glassmaking and ceramics, where participants can design and create crockery and drinking glasses for their own exclusive use, greatly lessening the risk of Covid transmission. Our kitchen will give people a chance to prepare and share food from their cultural heritage, promoting appreciation and curiosity. The construction of an upcycled 'chandelier' will involve people of all ages, guided by professional glassmakers, to choose a personal design that will become part of a much larger pice to be exhibited in our display windows, as a symbol of collaborative learning.

Steps to get it done:

  • Collating raw/recycable materials while promoting upcycling ideas
  • Demonstrating glassblowing, to recruit participants
  • Conducting fused glass workshops in safely distanced groups, indoors
  • Firing of elements, involving participants in assembly and lighting
  • Open invitation launch events for participants, their families and any interested parties
  • Expanding usable outdoor areas through a design and build project with young people
  • Securing work experience, apprenticeships and employment for young people with local developers
  • Securing more 'meanwhile spaces' locally to encourage more creative practice in the neighbourhood

The Thames Plate Glassworks was by far the largest local employer in the 19th Century, history now lost to many residents, so we want to reinvigorate civic pride by unearthing this heritage. We have an academic on board who has made significant archaeological discoveries locally, on the nearby site of the glassworks on the River Lea. The famous Blue Anchor pottery a little further up the River Lea, provided highest quality porcelain for export across the world, so this links to incorporating ceramics whether found or created, into our glassmaking/kiln firing workshops and further engender local civic pride rediscovered through lost heritage. While we wish to save our Making Space at 48 Aberfeldy Street, we are hoping that our own increased footfall will also benefit The Tommy Flowers Community Pub next door at No.50, so we will ensure that our operational/workshop/exhibition opening times co-incide with those of the pub, to increase their trade while pub customers also visit us.

Location Tower Hamlets

About the space

Custom Location


London Borough of Tower Hamlets

How will the money be spent?Total £35,646

Upcycled glass studio materials and workshop costs by Picture Utopia - £16,950 (48%)
Upcycling and salvaging for space fit out - by ri-joo-vuh-neyt - £8,500 (24%)
Making Space running costs, volunteer recruitment and project documentation - Fitzrovia Noir CIC - £8,050 (23%)
Pre-production costs as organisational development - 5 days at £200 per day + VAT - £1,200 (3%)
Other - £946 (3%)

Costs Breakdown

This shows how money raised for the project will be spent. These costs have been confirmed by the project's Delivery Manager and verified.

Upcycled glass studio materials and workshop costs by Picture Utopia
Upcycling and salvaging for space fit out - by ri-joo-vuh-neyt
Making Space running costs, volunteer recruitment and project documentation - Fitzrovia Noir CIC
Pre-production costs as organisational development - 5 days at £200 per day + VAT
Other Read More
  • Spacehive fees
  • VAT
  • Transaction Fees


This project is enabled for overfunding. If the project hits its funding goal before the end of the campaign period, any extra funds raised will be spent (in order of priority) on:

  • Continue and expand this project for more Poplar/Tower Hamlets residents into 2022
  • Offer sessions at other nearby locations that have expressed great interest eg., Poplar Works, Poplar Union, Trinity Buoy Wharf
  • Create a 15 minute video featuring our volunteers and participants, giving a group of young people film-making experience

Total £35,646

Our Volunteer List

We're currently looking for people to offer skills and time to develop our project! Check out the list of what we need below and then use the 'Volunteer' button to the right to get involved.
  • We need cathode ray tubes from those chunky old analogue TVs or glass desktop computer screens to melt in our furnace and upcycle into art - don't throw them out, give them to us ! Can collect in central/North/East London - thanks

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