Acme, supporting artists since 1972

Fire Station Centenary Plaque by Ben Cove

Since 1997, a Grade II listed former fire station in Poplar, E14 has been home to Acme Studios’ Fire Station Work/Live Programme. The building was formally opened on 19 May 1911 as Brunswick Road Fire Station and served the communities of the East End for many years, including throughout the Blitz of World War II. 

Following the decommissioning of the building in the 1960s, it lay empty for several years until we purchased and converted it into work/live units for artists. In 2011, Acme celebrated the building’s history and its new use as a permanent home for one of the most supportive programmes for artists in the UK.

To commemorate the building's centenary, Acme commissioned artist Ben Cove (Fire Station Work/Live Programme 3) to design a plaque for the front of the fire station. The plaque was unveiled by local politician and former firefighter Jim Fitzpatrick MP (Limehouse and Poplar) on 21 May 2011. 

The Fire Station opened its doors to the public throughout the weekend of Saturday 21 May and Sunday 22 May 2011. The 12 residency artists, along with artists Julie Umerle, Andre Wallace and Richard Ducker on the ground floor, opened up their studios during the weekend with some of the artists responding to the centenary with new work. Further information can be found in ‘Further Reading’.

Fire Station centenary plaque designed by former Fire Station artist Ben Cove. Photo: Acme Studios (2011)

Fire Station centenary plaque designed by former Fire Station artist Ben Cove. Photo: Acme Studios (2011)

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Further Reading

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National Housing Federation member | NFASP member | Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

Between 1996 and 2012 Acme received £3.2m of capital funding from Arts Council England which supported the creation of six permanent affordable studios in London: Copperfield Road, Fire Station, Galleria, Harrow Road, Leven Road and Matchmakers Wharf. This resulted in 186 studios and 12 work/live units in four London boroughs.