Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Artistic Future for Explosives Laboratory

Explore, Experiment and Create

THE EXPLOSIVES Laboratory at Wat Tyler Country Park is set for an artistic future with the site becoming an arts studio in the New Year.

One of the parks few remaining buildings from its time as an Explosives Factory, The Laboratory has recently undergone an £80,000 refurbishment as part of the Heritage Interpretation Project which has seen a complete transformation of the park over the past five years.

Following the refurbishment, part of the building will now be used as an arts studio by local artist Lisa Smith who will be offering a range of classes for all ages and abilities and children’s art parties for birthdays, celebrations and weddings.

Councillor Kevin Blake, cabinet member for leisure and arts at Basildon Council said: “The Laboratory has a rich history and the refurbishment of the building has been sympathetic to this, whilst at the same time creating a modern, usable space.

“Lisa has been working with us on a number of arts projects at the park, and has recently installed an exhibition based in the parks Green Centre. I am delighted that she will be using The Laboratory for this new venture and the art studio will really add to what is already a diverse range of activities on offer at the park.”

Run by the British Explosives Syndicate and owned by Swedish Industrialist Alfred Nobel (he of the international Peace Prize), The Laboratory was severely damaged by an explosion in 1916. The result of this can still be seen in the colour contrast of brickwork on the building.

Restored because of its heritage integrity, the refurbishment project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and whilst the outward appearance is unchanged, the building has been fully restored internally with double glazing and under-floor heating, making it an ideal venue for the new studio.

Lisa Smith added: “The use of recycled materials in many of my sculptures fits in well with the ethos of the park and its buildings and will help children and others to better understand how we can all live more sustainably“. 

 The Laboratory Arts Studio will open to the public on the 12th January 2013. For more information visit or call 07970332097

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