Wanstead Nov 2008 – March 2009

Students of Redbridge Institute and Wanstead House Community Association presented a display of work inspired by the renovation of a prominent local building.

The Cornerhouse is a large house in Wanstead High Street which has always been used by the local community – Originally it was a doctor’s surgery, run by Dr Corner – hence “Cornerhouse”. Latterly, owned by Redbridge, it housed Age Concern’s meals service; it was recently renovated by local architects who were concerned that the building continued to be valued by local residents; they commissioned local builders and craftsmen for the work, which has included a new sundial for the front of the house as well as many other features:

It is a building with a history and many of the original features have been retained and restored; plaster mouldings and terracotta panels on the outside of the building; large fireplaces and windows; the central staircase and impressive stained glass panels. With all it’s additional details and the range of materials involved, the building has a distinctly “Arts and Crafts” feel about it.

Some features, although retained, have been hidden by the renovation process: the wooden roof, for example, was built with unusual skilled craftsmanship and this has been covered up by the conversion of the loft. It is partly for this reason that artists were invited in: to record the building’s current unfinished state and the many layers of history that can, during the renovation process, be seen. 

Students spent time drawing or taking photographs of architectural details or empty spaces, views from the windows and doorways or people at work. They were invited to use these images to develop further work in class or at home. The results were shown in a display at the opening of the building, renamed the Allan Burgess Centre by the Mayor, Councillor Thomas Chan.

Art classes take place at:
Wanstead House Community Association, 21 The Green, Wanstead.
the work can be seen at