Community Workshop Space Opens in Herne Hill
On Wednesday 16th April 2014 South London Makerspace will be opening for its first public Open Evening. South London Makerspace (SLMS) is a not for profit, social community workshop, where people can come and share tools and knowledge.
The makerspace concept is a popular and widespread one. All around the world, people who share a passion for making, repairing and sharing have come together to run spaces and workshops. The largest such organisation in Europe is London Hackspace in Hackney, whose 900 members have access to a large and well equipped workshop over two floors. However, it is not conveniently located for those of us who live South of the River. From this motivation, SLMS was born.
“I’d been a London Hackspace member for a while, actually, but never managed to make time to go to the space. It was just too much hassle to travel to the other side of the city,” says Tom Lynch, Trustee and founding member. “When we saw that New York has eight popular makerspaces and London only has one, we knew that we’d be able to find support in South London for a second.”
Starting off in late 2013 as a group of around 10 people who scrounged studio space where they could find it, SLMS is now a registered company with more than 40 paying members. Together, they’ve transformed a vacant shop unit in Herne Hill into a multi-purpose workshop and meeting space. All paying members have access to all the tools in the space, and pool their resources to purchase and maintain those tools.
The space is located at 27-29 Norwood Road, Herne Hill, SE24 9AA where “The Good Companion” cafe used to be; indeed the old signage is still above the shop windows. “We hope to get that changed soon!” says Tom Newsom, second of three Trustees. “Our members have all sorts of ideas for improving the space and its decoration.”
Inside, the central column has been painted bright red, and the space is divided into “dirty” and “clean” sides. An impressive array of tools is lined up on workbenches and tables, while plenty of natural light comes in through the big windows that look out over Brockwell Park.
“I commute in to work on the train from Surbiton, so couldn’t justify going far out of my way for these sorts of facilities,” says Matthew Copperwaite, another Trustee and founder of SLMS. “But with this location, I can leave work in the evening, jump on a bus and spend as long as I like working on my projects. It’s perfect.”
The space is available to members at any time, but once a week, the space is open to the public for an Open Evening. If you’re at all interested in what the members are working on, or if you want to become a member yourself, these are the best times to come.
The first such Open Evening is being held on Wednesday 16th April, from 7.30pm until late. Everyone is welcome including accompanied children. If you repair or make things with wood, fabric, metal, paint, computer code, plastic, electronics or anything else at all, then why not go and meet some like-minded people and see what you could make, given the space and the tools?
The Trustees of SLMS are confident that they’ll be signing up lots of new members this Wednesday.
“We hope to create a creative, family-friendly and close-knit community of designers, engineers and hobbyists and we are very excited to be able to open this space to the people of South London.”
27-29 Norwood Road