Gate Darkroom Autumn Launch Party 2017





You’re probably keen to hear – and see – more about the darkroom!  Over the past few months we’ve been working hard to create a great new space that’ll support all who wish to be involved in black & white photographic print making.  And that includes camera-less printing as well!  We’ve now an array of enlargers in a much bigger space than New Cross Gate.  In fact, we have double the area with over 900 sq ft.  This is split into a walk-in darkroom with light trap, seven bench-mounted enlargers and one drop-down baseboard De Vere.  There’s a wet section with plenty of room for 20’’x 24’’ trays and a large and small sink for washing.  In the studio there’s also a large sink with adjacent wet area which has the dryer for resin-coated paper and the drying cabinet.  All the kit you need to develop film is there too along with the essential chemicals.  One great benefit is the natural light that comes into the studio area which really helps us assess the quality of our prints.  We’ve also just completed our phase II build which includes a long work bench for assessing negatives. 

The darkroom has opened this month and Toby has been providing a full induction for all members.  We also have an online booking scheme though this isn’t compulsory and usually people just turn up, find an enlarger and get printing! 

We are currently running a great opening membership deal of £70 per month.  This gives you unlimited access to all the equipment and chemicals.  All the details may be found on the About page, but hurry as this offer will not continue for ever and we may decide we have enough members for the time-being!

If you just want to come along, have a look, see the space & have a chat about membership, you are more than welcome.  Please just get in touch:

You may be wondering what the travel and journey times are like to the new darkroom.  At first sight, the location may look a bit remote (unless you live in East Greenwich!).  Actually, it’s much nearer than you think!  Our closest tube stop is on the jubilee line at North Greenwich, in Zone 2, and takes only 15 mins from Green Park.  It’s then a 15-minute bus ride (472 or 161), and the buses are pretty frequent – normally you only have to wait a couple of minutes or so.  There’re also direct trains from London Cannon Street to Woolwich Dockyard which is just a short walk away.  Services run every 10 mins and take about 23 minutes.  So it’s really only about a half hour journey from Central London!  

More locally, the same train service stops at Deptford and from there it’s a 12-minute journey to Woolwich Dockyard.  Or zip up to Canada Water from New Cross/New Cross Gate on the Overground and pick up the Jubilee Line – it’s around a 10 min journey to North Greenwich.  Local buses which pass by the front door are the 180 to Greenwich (30 mins) and Lewisham (37 mins) and the 177 also via Greenwich to New Cross and Peckham (45 mins).  If you’re coming by bike there is a lovely river path that takes a leisurely half an hour from New Cross Gate and there are bicycle racks on site.  If you’re driving, there’re loads of free parking bays at Thames-Side, along with 24 hours security. 

Several of us travel across from west and north London and the journey time has only lengthened by 15 minutes from the one we used to do to New Cross Gate.  However, we are finding that the benefits and advantages of the new space and environment are well worth that travelling commitment (just look at that gallery space:IMG_2121 and we haven’t even mentioned the darkroom yet!)   

Finally, for those seeking a real river experience, you could always board river boat RB1 from Westminster Pier (about 45 mins, 4 every hour) or from Bankside Pier (28 mins, and very handy for the Tate!) to Greenwich Pier and then hop on the 180 or 177.  And if you’re looking for an aerial view, why not just take the Emirates Air Line!

And just so you know where we actually are, the map is here:

2017-07-18 19.38.28IMG_2080We would like to say a few words about our new location.  If you don’t know Thames-Side – and I didn’t before we were tipped off about it – it is a remarkable place, a 7-acre riverside site in East Greenwich with over 460 artist studios, the largest single site provider in the UK.  There are cafes, a superb gallery, an education space, the ‘Hub’ (a serviced desktop area), an upper floor lounge above us and a balcony walk way on the river wall overlooking the Thames.  With plenty of parking it is a fantastic place to visit, and even better to be part of a community that supports creative engagement and development for artists to grow and sustain their practice.  The Gate Darkroom fits very well into this community as we have the Thames-Side Print Studios and the London Sculpture Workshop as neighbours, both of which provide excellent opportunities for those interested.   You can see some images of Thames-Side here:

Or just have a look at their website:

4 Darkroom launch phase1 122 Darkroom launch phase1 7A big thank you to all those who were able to join us at the end of last month for our launch party, it was fantastic! If you were there you’ll have seen first-hand the quality and size of the space we now have. We had a great evening, well attended and huge fun. Janet our accountant joined the barrista team as we served up some cracking cocktails. Of course, the darkroom is always about alchemy! Some photos can be seen here:

We are thrilled to report that the darkroom build is progressing well.  We are now on the verge of completing most of the structural work, along with new workstations to house 7 bench-mounted enlargers.  These will include the Durst Laborator 1200 and the De Vere 504 with the multigrade head, along with the Durst M 805s.  In addition we have a De Vere 504 with a drop-down base board, making 8 enlargers in all.  The plumbing is almost complete providing two large sinks along with a small one.  We are soon to begin the electrics and are currently undertaking the finishing work, ensuring the space is light tight and fully functioning for black and white printing.  So it is certainly looking more like a darkroom!  We are hoping to announce an opening date soon and will keep you posted.  If you wish to take an online peak, please take a look here:!AhTq8HM-v4IgpGyHYI1nI1470caR