£3.7million project to double creative workspace in Cornwall’s heartland

The transplanting of a hundred year old Mulberry Tree in Cornwall’s mining heartland next week will herald the start of a £3.7 million pound re-development project which will see the nationally-acclaimed Krowji creative hub flourishing among the top providers of creative space in the country.

The arm of a big digger will push through the wall of a derelict 1970’s staff room to rescue the Mulberry from its overgrown courtyard and move it to a safe new plot – allowing demolition works to begin ahead of the construction of two state-of-the-art buildings which will double Krowji’s capacity to 200 people.

The major works on the site of Redruth’s old Grammar School will see the handsome 1907 building preserved while the dilapidated post-war canteen and gym will be replaced within a year by airy new work-space with views across five miles of countryside to the sea at Portreath on the north Cornish coast.

The new buildings - with impeccable eco-credentials and designed to the needs of their creatively-minded tenants - will be linked by a glass bridge, leaving a “keyhole” view to the sea from a new courtyard garden - the pathway between the old buildings and the new.

Krowji (meaning “workshop” in a rough translation from Cornish) is currently the working home of more than 100 artists and actors, designers and journalists, musicians and jewellers all rubbing shoulders and exchanging ideas in the Melting Pot Café – one Cornwall’s quirkiest watering holes from its plastic-spoon chandeliers to its collage-covered tables.

Already a magnet for the wider community alongside Krowji’s own creatives, the Melting Pot will remain the beating heart of this flourishing community. Current tenants like MyCornwall magazine are eagerly anticipating a move across to their customised new space.

“We’ve been here at Krowji for the last three years and I wouldn’t be anywhere else,” says editor Mark Pugh, “It’s an amazing place for getting inspiration, bouncing ideas and finding stories and soon we’ll have all that and a lovely view too!”

Others who have found a permanent home in the Krowji family include Miracle Theatre, one of Britain’s foremost touring companies, as well as Cornwall’s key arts-sector agencies - Creative Skills, FEAST, Carn to Cove and the Cornwall Film Festival.

The expansion project was devised by a Krowji team led by founder Ross Williams who has made it his life’s work to support and encourage Cornwall’s creative energies through the Arts Council-backed social enterprise ACT.

Based on a known need for the type of creative working environment that Krowji provides – and an enviable waiting list of prospective tenants - the team, working with project managers Vickery Holman, has produced the rock-solid business plan for expansion which clinched £3.7 million of funding – both privately sourced and from the European Regional Development Fund  Convergence Programme.

“We’ve been working on this project for so long it hardly seems possible that our dreams for Krowji are about to become reality,” says Ross. “The vibrant atmosphere that’s evolved here over the last ten years is extremely precious and any change has to enhance that. We’ve been very patient in devising a truly sustainable scheme where the new will perfectly complement the old. To see it actually happening at last is a very proud moment for us all.”

To find out more about Krowji, its work and partners, as well as progress on its flagship building project please visit www.krowjinewbuild.org.uk .


Notes to editors:-

Media Invitation for XX a.m. on Thursday 27 March 2014:  

Shots in hard-hat area – big digger at work, demolition of wall, digging out and moving of 18ft Mulberry Tree, higher shots possible from flat roof.

Also access to studios / interviews with artists etc

Interviews – Krowji: Ross Williams; Project Manager (Vickery Holman) Dan Cape.

ATTACHED PHOTOS (all available as hi-res) :

Krowji in the sunlight – (by Kirstin Prisk)

Artist’s impression of the Krowji project (by Elisa McLeod)

Melting Pot Cafe - (by Kirstin Prisk)

Artist Elisa McLeod – Studio Manager of Krowji – at work – (by Kirstin Prisk)

Archive photo of Redruth Grammar School classroom

Archive – old Grammar School – exterior

  • Krowji work-spaces come in all shapes and sizes and currently provide space for more than 100 “makers” and creative businesses – from tiny rooms where silversmith Frank Luckham makes his sculptural jewellery, to Marie Louise Denny’s sunlit designer-knitwear studio, to Miracle Theatre’s large rehearsal room.
  • Krowji space is affordable but not subsidised. Most of the tenants who have moved in have stayed - not surprising given the wealth of support on hand – from business advice to photocopying.
  • Krowji has been passionate about forging and nurturing strong links with its wider communities. Through the years Krowji has worked closely with Cornwall Council, Camborne Pool Redruth (CPR) Regeneration and a wide variety of people and organisations to create a vibrant centre where people can come and go freely for coffee, meetings, live music nights and the hugely popular biannual Open Studio events.
  • Krowji Phase I is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs.


For more information visit: 


Project Investment:

ERDF Convergence: £1,914,264.

For more information visit www.erdfconvergence.org.uk


Krowji - Elisa McLeod - 01209 313200

Louise Midgley Communications – louise@midgleycomms.co.uk – 01326 319884 / 07831696093

ERDF Convergence – Matt Silver – msilver@cornwall.gov.uk  - 07805737444

Monday 24 March 2014