Raising the funds to buy Portland Works was one of the largest community purchases in the UK. Since then over 8000 sq ft has been renovated, opening up more workshops for tenants and space for educational activities.
Since the 2013 purchase, existing activities such as silver-plating, wood-working, photography, graphic art, metal-working and music have been joined by jewellers, a rug-maker, gin distilling, a guitar-maker, laser-cutting, and a bicycle maker.
In 2014 work on the original Mosley showroom and adjacent offices was completed, making space for a large artists’ studio and four workshops. In 2015 three more derelict spaces were brought into use and now house a knife-maker, a rug-maker and a jeweller. So the vision of providing affordable work-space for a new generation of ‘makers’ is proving realistic and viable.
In 2017 a large work-space around 150m² in size was renovated and equipped with a good-quality AV system, seating and graphics display screens, paid for by Friends of Portland Works and the Foyle Foundation. This space is now available to rent for lectures, exhibitions, meetings and other events.
Thanks to various donations and grants, Friends of Portland Works have already funded other renovation projects, including new gutters and down-pipes on the Randall Street frontage and two projects to renovate brickwork, windows and a roof on C Block. Work is due to start on repairs to the central chimney and crumbling brickwork on the Randall Street elevation. Friends of Portland Works will also be funding this work.
In 2019 we will be focussing on raising funds to renovate more spaces and create workshops that meet current standards for future tenants.