#16 Copperfield Road
50 stories from The Acme Archive
Copperfield Road is a 1920s former warehouse and factory building, which sits between Mile End Park and the Regents Canal in Bow. The studio building was first established in 1992 and Acme bought the freehold for the building in 1997, converting it to accessibility standards recommended by the Centre for Accessible Environments in 1998-99.
As well as providing studio space for 51 artists, Copperfield Road has also been home to the Acme office since 1992 (its fourth home after Devons Road, the Acme Gallery and Robinson Road) and has provided space on the ground floor to other organisations. Between 1993 and 2016, Matt’s Gallery occupied the ground floor – and also the roof for 3 months in 2014, when Craig Barnes’ Centre for Remote Possibilities was installed. The ground floor space is now home to East London Printmakers, a not-for-profit studio co-operative providing affordable, professional print-making facilities.
Copperfield Road has also provided inspiration for artists’ work. Through 2013, for Acme’s 40th anniversary, the website featured 12 works commissioned from Acme artists on the home page. January’s work was ‘Mile End Beginning’ by Ed Gray, an artist based at the Copperfield Road studios. Gray described the background to the painting as follows:
“‘Mile End Beginning’ is about arriving at work for the day in the summer, I'm optimistic and full of ideas after walking from my home in Rotherhithe through the streets of London. I started to notice the workmen's spray painted hieroglyphs coming and going on the pavements and more and more characters outside my window would catch my eye while I was working on other paintings in the studio. Gradually over time I began to draw all of this on my studio wall and eventually I finished my other projects and I was able to construct this collage of Mile End park life. Dealers, furtive lovers, fishermen, art buffs and children in Victorian clothes going to the ragged school museum. It became clear that what was outside my studio window was a more relevant cross-section of city life than many of the other scenes I was working on.”