Plans to reopen the Lakeside Centre as a new cultural hub

21 April 2017

Share this article

Plans are underway to reopen Thamesmead’s much-loved landmark, the Lakeside Centre as a new major cultural hub for Thamesmead.

Expected to open in October 2018, the Lakeside Centre, which overlooks Southmere Lake and Thamesmead's iconic towers, is set to become the focus of cultural and community life for residents and visitors alike, offering:

  • 40 new affordable creative workspaces for some of London’s emerging creative talent from fashion to film-makers and including spaces for local creatives
  • The Front Room Café - a flexible and welcoming space for people to meet, eat, relax, work and learn
  • The Enterprise Kitchen - supporting production and training for brand new catering businesses run by social enterprise Greenwich Cooperative Development Agency (GCDA)

The Lakeside Centre will also include a new day nursery, a gallery and project space, host a range of pop-up stalls and markets and include a wider partnership of events, a schools programme and public art.

A planning application for the scheme was submitted to London Borough of Bexley and was approved in summer 2017.

The much-loved venue first opened its doors as a bar and restaurant in 1971 and was visited by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1980.

Some arts and culture activities which have taken place in Thamesmead

Interactive workshops, from filming to African drumming

The Disraeli Dragon parade brought The Moorings together

Local students exhibited in the Thamesmead Urban Room

Thamesmead-inspired prints from Peter Chadwick

Some of London's best African music from Global Fusions

Open air cinema with a view at Southmere Square


Funded by Peabody and the Mayor of London’s Regeneration Fund's project, the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), the Lakeside Centre will be completely renovated as part of a partnership project between the funders and arts educational charity, Bow Arts.

The new space will be managed by Bow Arts, a charity with a long track record for delivering cultural programmes that engage local communities in east London.

Bow Arts is now one of the largest creative workspace providers in London, managing both studios and work spaces for young professionals. They also manage an award-winning education programme, that matches professional artists designers and makers with schools and supports over 10,000 young people annually.

  • About the Mayor’s London Regeneration Fund (LRF)

    The London Regeneration Fund aims to re-energise the capital's places of work and high streets by embracing the city’s incredible talent for creativity and technological innovation. It was launched by City Hall in 2016 following a successful bid from the London Enterprise Panel (now known as London Economic Action Partnership) to Government as part of the city’s Growth Deal.

    The London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP) brings entrepreneurs and business together with London’s government to identify actions to support and lead economic growth and job creation in the capital. It is the region's Local Enterprise Partnership.

What partners are saying

Peabody’s Executive Director for Thamesmead, John Lewis, said: “Our partnership with Bow Arts will bring this much-loved Thamesmead landmark back to life. The Lakeside Centre will be a very special place for residents to enjoy and will also help develop Thamesmead’s existing creative and entrepreneurial spirit and bring new businesses, jobs and visitors to the area. Alongside the other exciting changes taking place in the area, this will help Thamesmead fulfil its promise as London’s new town.”

Bow Arts’ Chief Executive, Marcel Baettig, said: “It’s very exciting to land in Thamesmead and immediately become a part of such an important project such as the re-imagining of the Lakeside Centre. We know the Centre will become a catalyst for unlocking the talent that we know already exists in the area. But behind the excitement lies our long term commitment to Thamesmead, as one of its newest residents it will take us time to establish and become part of the community – but this is a process that we are very much looking forward to.” 

Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said: “I’m really pleased that plans for the Lakeside Centre are progressing at speed and that the Mayor’s London Regeneration Fund is helping to transform Thamesmead into a more vibrant destination for creative businesses and talent. Small businesses in London face real challenges in finding affordable workspace in which to grow and thrive: these sorts of spaces should be part of plans to build new homes and rejuvenate neighbourhoods in the future.”

Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, Justine Simons, said: “Not only will this exciting new partnership put culture right at the heart of the community, it will transform Thamesmead and provide vital creative workspaces and affordable housing for key cultural workers. A lack of affordable space is one of the biggest threats to London’s reputation as a cultural powerhouse and we need more partnerships like this. We recognise the immense value artists bring to the capital’s identity and success, and I’m delighted that we are working with Peabody and the wonderful Bow Arts to do just this.”

Culture in Thamesmead

Find out more about culture in Thamesmead, including the Thamesmead Culture Forum and how you can get involved.