Collage Arts is a leading arts development, training and creative regeneration charity based in the heart of the Wood Green Cultural Quarter. Collage Arts arrived as squatters in the old sweet factory in Clarendon Road. We then took a lease and began renting out affordable studio and office space to help incubate creative and socially engaged businesses.
Today the organisation has expanded, offering four artspaces with more to follow. These spaces are home over 200 artists in 100 studios and a flourishing restaurant and performing arts venue.
The artspaces are:
- Chocolate Factory 1 in Clarendon Road provides 40 artspaces
- Artspace 1: Karamel performing arts, gallery and vegan restaurant in Coburg Road
- Artspace 2: Chocolate Factory 2 in Coburg Road provides provides 50 artspaces
- Artspace 3: Chocolare Factory 3 in Cumberland Road provides 45 artspaces
The development team at Collage Arts work closely with Haringey Council to ensure that artists studios continue to be central to the vision for the redevelopment of the Cultural Quarters.
Collage Works provides support aimed at improving employability and creating access to the arts and creative industries for people who have challenges to overcome, including young people who are unemployed, BAME women, care-leavers and people with health problems-among others. Hosting the training and education within the same space as working creative companies enhances the experience, bringing career opportunities to life and contributing to the diversity of a thriving artistic community. Collage Arts can also provide follow-on studio accommodation in the Artspaces it operates.
The History of Chocolate Factory
The name calls up memories of childhood: Liquorice Allsorts, Aniseed Balls, Jelly Babies, Dolly Mixtures, and Sherbet Fountain. All these, and many more besides, were made by Barratt’s of Wood Green on the site now partially occupied by Chocolate Factory 1 & 2 development. George Osborne Barratt and his wife started a confectionery business in Islington in 1848. As their business grew, so did their family – four sons and a daughter eventually worked for their father. The move from crowded inner London to Wood Green in about 1880 was a logical one. The railway arrived in 1859. Alexandra Palace opened as a major entertainment centre in 1873, and the area was becoming part of London’s Victorian suburban sprawl. New housing brought in a local workforce eager to work for an employer manufacturing products for which demand never fell.
The site itself had plenty of room for expansion, and by 1953 had reached 5 acres with almost 1000 employees. The original headquarters building in Mayes Road (now occupied by the Metropolitan Housing Trust) was constructed in 1897; the words Labor et Probitas (‘Work and Honour’) were picked out in the brickwork above the entrance. New factory buildings were erected in 1904, 1914, 1922, 1936 and 1953.
Barratt’s set great store by its ‘family spirit’: workers are not regarded as cogs in a machine but as individual persons who have every right to fair treatment and social care. In 1953 the company offered good pay and a bonus scheme, two weeks paid holiday, a canteen and medical facilities, a pension scheme, and a Social Club.
Barratt’s left Wood Green in the mid 1970’s to move to Hertfordshire, and now forms part of Trebor-Bassett, which is itself part of Cadbury’s. Caxton Chocolate replaced Barratt’s at Wood Green for a few years, but then also moved away.
Collage Arts moved into the Chocolate Factory 1 in 1996 when it converted derelict units into artist studios. The building is home to over 110 artists covering a range of art forms from visual arts to music and performing arts. Due to the high demand Collage Arts renovated Chocolate Factory 2 in 2002 and this building is home to over 50 artists and creative businesses covering a range of art forms from music, film, and media to performing arts and fashion.
In 2016, Collage was delighted to work with Haringey Council and Big Issue Invest to open what has become Artspace 3. This building is home to a wide range of creative practitioners including a saddler, milliners, a furniture designer, fine artists and much more.
The Collage Artspaces have become a hub of excellence in the creative industries. The development started with a few artists’ studios is now a major driver or economic, cultural and social activity in Wood Green and beyond.