In 1998, Trinity Buoy Wharf was an empty, derelict site. Now it is a place with studios for people in the creative industries, workspace for people who work to provide transportation on the river, classrooms for education, and indoor and outdoor spaces for arts events and a wide range of activities from conferences to product launches.
With over 500 people working on the site, in enterprises large and small, established and start-up, mainstream and way-out, Trinity Buoy Wharf has been given a new life.
The brick buildings are the heritage structures that were built to by and for Trinity House, the organisation that designed, built and maintained the navigational equipment, buoys, lighthouses and lightships that kept Britain’s costal water safe.
The recent buildings were constructed to house the new creative industries using a simple, efficient and sustainable system based on shipping containers.
London’s Docklands changed dramatically with the move down river that was required by the introduction of the much larger ships. At the same time improved technology changed the business of providing navigational lights and Trinity House moved their workshops away from the Thames.
And, as in all creative enterprises, nothing stands still, things and the people doing them are constantly evolving. The mantra “always complete but never finished” fits Trinity Buoy Wharf today and will tomorrow.
With careful adaption and regeneration, Trinity Buoy Wharf has kept its character whilst offering modern amenities: studio and event space, a pier, two schools, rehearsal rooms, The Orchard Cafe and Fat Boy’s Diner and 40,00 sq ft of new, innovative and sustainable Container City buildings.
In 1998 the then owners London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC), set up the Trinity Buoy Wharf Trust with a 125 year lease to hold the land and their vision in trust for the people of London, while the freehold was passed to the LB Tower Hamlets.
The TBW Trust holds a 125 year lease from LB Tower Hamlets and Urban Space Management in turn has a 124 lease from the Trust. The terms provide for 25% of the Wharf's income to be paid to the Trust to use for promoting arts activity in the area. To date the Trust has supported and funded a wide range of arts projects and organisations.