Asterisk Asterisk

Remembering Reynard's Garage

September is a special month for us at SPARK. Back in September 2017, we placed our first container onto the plot of land where we reside - 17-21 Piccadilly. The process was long-awaited and many hoops were jumped through to make it the interesting, creative and relevant place that we aim for today.

So, after a friend brought in a press cutting by chance earlier this week, we’re throwing it all the way back to the early 1920s, when the original building that occupied this site before we did. The building was originally a trolleybus shed before becoming an impressive Airspeed factory back in 1931 owned by renowned author and aerospace entrepreneur Nevil Shute, and manufactured aircrafts and gliders. It had close association with the beginnings of an important aircraft company, which subsequently contributed much to the defence of the country during World War II. It then became Reynard’s Garage, the name which it became informally known as until the present day. Before a brief period as a laser quest venue until the mid 1990s, the building then stood derelict for 20 years, succumbing the wrath of mother nature and ultimately demolished in 2015. Although we would have loved to use the original building for SPARK (it would’ve been nice to have a proper roof) we hadn’t had the idea yet and the old building was deemed not safe for use. We often think back to how different things were then, how far we’ve come, and all the different elements of Piccadilly that have allowed us to become what we are now. The effect this space has had on the many people who have walked through the gates of various activities on this site over the last 150 years is an interesting thought. Thanks to friend of the project Chloe and her wonderful Grandad Bernard for sharing press cuttings from 2013 and allowing us to reflect.