Restoring Harrow’s historic multi-arts venue
As the only professional multi-artform venue in the borough, Harrow Arts Centre is a key part of the council’s cultural strategy, hosting events that encompass music, theatre, comedy, dance, film and much more besides.
The historic site comprises charismatic old buildings, including the Elliott Hall auditorium, which dates back to 1904 yet had sadly been left without care over time. Refurbishment works were needed to the Studio, Boiler House and various workshops to bring them back to life – to fix collapsing walls, rotting timber features as well as the general bad state of repair. Following a successful bid to the Good Growth Fund, the Centre now has a total of £1.8m committed to the project, including council funding. As well as bringing the old venue back in use, new spaces of approximately 500sqm will be added, including artist’s studios.
We worked alongside Rooff Ltd from concept to completion, decorating both new and existing elements. Our goal was to keep the original aesthetic wherever possible, preserving any historical features that were not too badly damaged. To achieve the right look we used a variety of products, including Little Greene Heritage paints for the internal side of wood doors and Osmo oil for the exterior.
Some rooms and the pitches of roofs required us to strip back the existing sarking boards, soffits and timber trusses before completely redecorating them. This was time consuming and at times difficult, however the end result is something we’re really proud of, and it was worth putting the time in to get it just so. Harrow Arts Centre can now continue its role as a community arts hub, welcoming people from all backgrounds to enjoy and participate in the myriad activities.