Warehouse Homes: Spratt’s Factory London
Once the largest pet food factory in the world, the Spratt’s Complex in Poplar, East London, was transformed as live-work units between 1985 and 1989. Six substantial red-brick warehouses, set around a series of courtyards, stand imposingly beside the Limehouse Cut canal and still bear original signage. And long after the factory closed, the complex still hums with life and productivity.
Spratt’s Works was one of the first residential warehouse conversions in London. Each unit was sold as a basic shell, to be completed by its owner. And the original factory features, including expansive windows and dramatic double-height spaces, as well as the potential for open-plan living, have always made the complex popular with artists. Today, the creative community at Spratt’s is thriving, with musicians, painters and designers all drawn to, and drawing inspiration from, the industrial environs. One long-term resident, documentary photographer Debbie Bragg, has embarked on a new project to catalogue her neighbours’ diverse professions and distinctive homes. Capturing residents in their apartments and studios throughout the Works, Debbie demonstrates that this enormous former factory continues to be a hive of activity. Here, we step inside four homes at Spratt’s, including Debbie’s own. To follow the project as it develops, and see more behind the scenes at this unique development, to find out more visit Debbie Bragg’s website.
“When we purchased our apartment in 2007, it had remained untouched since it was originally converted in the 1980s,” Debbie says, “the property had previously belonged to Roger Law, one of the creators of Spitting Image, the renowned British satirical puppet show; and when we moved in, we found a life-size Margaret Thatcher in a cupboard!”
“The Spratt’s Factory has a strong industrial heritage and a character that inspires creativity. Every warehouse home within the complex is as individual as its owner. I’m thoroughly enjoying learning about my neighbours’ varied professions and their crafts and I am really excited to create a body of work to celebrate this unique development and its residents.” Debbie Bragg
Ceramicist and make-up artist Carol Morley has lived at Spratt’s for almost 10 years. She crafts her delicate ceramic vases and vessels entirely by hand in her light-filled apartment. To find out more visit Kabin Shop.
Ian Berry’s remarkable indigo coloured art is painstakingly created from many small pieces of denim, individually selected by shade, then cut, stitched and glued in multiple layers. From urban scenes to life portraits, even at touching distance the intricate works give the appearance of blue-toned photographs or oil paintings. Ian’s open-plan live-work apartment at Spratt’s is almost entirely devoted to his craft, with salvaged denim carefully catalogued and hung by colour. Much of the floor of Ian’s home is covered with scraps and lengths. He even sleeps amongst his materials, in a denim teepee. We recommend exploring Ian’s work by visiting his website.
Below: The Gently Revolving Drum Goes Quietly by Ian Berry, price upon request, ianberry.org
The home of author and mid century modern dealer Andrew Weaving is a showcase for recognisable furniture designs by Herman Miller and Eames. Whitewashed exposed brickwork and large factory windows set the scene for spare simplicity and ensure the individually selected modern classics do the talking. Andrew has lived at Spratt’s Works since 2007 and shares this sophisticated studio with his partner Ian, son Nathan and dogs Dana and Timothy. It is here that Andrew also spends time at his original hand loom, weaving distinctive textiles and cushion covers.
This feature has been taken from Warehouse Home Issue Four, which is out now! The latest issue of the internationally renowned Warehouse Home magazine is live online and can be enjoyed in full and entirely free. Read Warehouse Home Issue Four by clicking here or view the entire issue in the reader below.
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