Acme, supporting artists since 1972


The creative history of a brownfield site

UNEARTHED was a project by Neville Gabie, the Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA) Artist in Residence on the Olympic Park.

The initial UNEARTHED exhibition and archive sought to reveal the cultural history of the Carpenters Road artists' studios in the former Yardley’s perfume factory, which used to be on the site of the London 2012 Water Polo Centre. These studios were managed by Acme and home to 500 artists between 1985 and 2001.

A collaboration between InSite Arts, Acme Studios, archaeologist James Dixon, and many of the artists, UNEARTHED was hosted by Ardmore Construction at Warton House, Yardley’s former offices in Stratford High Street.

As artist in residence on the Olympic Park, Neville become aware that most people involved have little or no idea of the history of the area prior to the Park being built. It is variously described as having been a ‘derelict wasteland’ or a ‘brownfield site’. Before its history of having supported the largest studio complex in Europe is completely lost, the motivation was to explore the creative impact of those studios.

There is an obvious connection between Warton House and the Carpenters Road factory. Both buildings have a shared Yardley’s history and Warton House is currently being converted into new studios for Acme, creating a permanent artist presence in the area when they open in October 2012.



In September 2011, an exhibition of work from 68 artists who previously had a studio at Carpenters Road was shown at Warton House, 150 Stratford High Street, E15. Additional events included a sunday afternoon family tea party and an artist talk at The View Tube.

An accompanying film was created by Bevis Bowden featuring interviews with some of the artists' involved in the exhibition.

Carpenters Road studios. Photo: John Riddy (1990)
Carpenters Road studios. Photo: John Riddy (1990)
'Unearthed' at Warton House, E15. Photo: Acme Studios (2011)
'Unearthed' at Warton House, E15. Photo: Acme Studios (2011)
'Unearthed' at Warton House, E15. Photo: Acme Studios (2011)
'Unearthed' at Warton House, E15. Photo: Acme Studios (2011)


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