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Open Day at The Boathouse Design Studio @Teddington Lock

4 months ago By Mike Cotton

A little local history to explore...

For those of you interested in a bit of local history the Boathouse at teddington lock is opening it's doors for an open day on Sat 16th and Sun 17th Sept. Come over and grab a coffee and homemade cake from the Flying Cloud Cafe and take a walk round this great old building.

The Boathouse Design Studio Teddington

We hope you enjoy learning a little about the Boathouse from its nineteenth century beginnings, to its recent transformation into a thriving hub of creative activity: a ‘co-working’ space, with desks available to rent for professionals from the creative industries.

James Messenger – Master Boat Builder
(1826 – 1901)
The Boathouse was built circa 1850, and its first known tenant was James Arthur Messenger who had lived in Water Lane (later renamed Ferry Road) since birth.

As well as proving himself a top class sculler and fine craftsman, Messenger was made the Queen’s Barge Master in 1862. He held this prestigious role for many years, from 1862 to 1890. He also housed the Royal Barge for a time at the Teddington Boathouse.

Porter & Brice Boatbuilding Company
(1895 – 1910)
The Boathouse was taken over in 1895 by Porter and Brice Boatbuilding Company. During World War I the yard was used to supply vessels for Thorneycroft’s shipbuilders who had a yard based at Platts Eyot Hampton which was further upstream.

Tough’s Boatyard (1930 – 2009)
In the 1930s, the Boathouse was acquired by the Tough family, who had a long association with the river as lightermen and boat builders. They expanded the boatbuilding business, by creating a chandlery within one of the side wings of the Boathouse.

During the Second World War, Tough’s expanded greatly. The yard became a muster point for the ‘Little Ships’ for the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940, which was organised locally by Douglas Tough. At the beginning of the war, Tough’s employed 16 men, and by the end this had risen to 220.

The boathouse remained the property of the Tough family until 2009, and was used for various purposes such as housing the British Motor Yacht Club.

The Boathouse Design Studio
(2009 – present)
In 2009, the Boathouse was purchased by Architect Matthew Allchurch and Landscape Architect Richard Broome. Their respective companies, MAA Architects and Outerspace, settled into the refurbished top floor of the building. Over the subsequent years, many of the building’s original forms, features and structures have been sensitively restored; including the original Victorian brick arches on the ground floor. The current owners are keen to highlight the rich history and many beautiful features of the Boathouse. Artefacts such as old signs and fixtures, lights and boating paraphernalia can be found all over the building.

The ground floor, which was originally used as a storage and warehouse area, has now also been fully refurbished into stunning office space. The sunlight floods into the two front bays in the morning and there is a sense of calm tranquility created by the proximity of the river and the lock.

In its current incarnation, the Boathouse is a great complement to the Boathouse of the past. With design and creativity firmly planted in the very fabric of the building, the Boathouse looks to have an interesting and varied future.

Updated 13:05 - 12 Sep 2017 by Mike Cotton

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