Image Courtesy of Andrew Dawes, Zoda Architects Ltd


our story

Hotel Elephant was established in 2009 as a not for profit company to provide space for arts and culture in Southwark. Since then Hotel Elephant has provided over 57,000 square f00t of space across 6 'meanwhile' use property in the Elephant and Castle. 

Hotel Elephant was started by local artists and resident Reuben Powell as his studio and education space for running art projects with local primary and secondary schools. From 2012 Hotel Elephant began to run a public program of exhibitions and events, curated by Camberwell College of Art Graduate, Emily Woodhouse. Hotel Elephant has grown from here, supplying the increasing demand for workspace and exhibition space, developing relationships with local Universities, schools and local stakeholders. The program to date has included degree shows, student exhibitions, film screenings, education projects, talks and networking events. Along with this, Hotel Elephant has provided space for artists led projects and a platform for non-venue based practitioners.

Hotel Elephant is dedicated to supporting local artists and graduates to establish their practice in Southwark, along with providing exhibition opportunities, space for artists led projects and a platform for non-venue based practitioners. Hotel Elephant’s new Spare Street site which opened in July 2016, saw Hotel Elephant more than double their workspace provision.  



the team

Reuben powell - director

emily woodhouse - director

spare Street

"A new street dedicated to creative enterprise in Southwark"

Spare Street is a new street in the Elephant and Castle comprising of 8,750sqft of workspace and a public space across five railways arches. Hotel Elephant will create workspace for over 80 Emerging Artists and Creative Entrepreneurs including recent graduates, local micro business and growing creative businesses.

Spare Street has been named by Hotel Elephant after the artist Austin Osman Spare who lived, worked and exhibited in the area from the early 1900’s until his death in 1956. This forms part of a project from Southwark Council and Network Rail to bring unused railway arches back into use. Hotel Elephant has secured funding for the project from Mayor of London through the London Regeneration Fund and from Southwark Council’s Arts and Culture Grant fund.

Cllr Mark Williams, cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said: “We want to unlock hundreds of railway arches in Southwark with new shops, cafes, artist studios and cultural spaces with new high quality public realm for our residents and visitors to enjoy. Spare Street is the first section of the ‘Low Line’ that we have completed by working with Network Rail and Hotel Elephant, and we will continue this work across Walworth, The Elephant, Bankside, Bermondsey and Peckham to make the Low Line a reality across our borough. Our work with Hotel Elephant has not only kick started this vision, but has also expanded provision of affordable studio and performance spaces in Southwark.”

Spare Street sees Hotel Elephant establishing the first permanent Creative Enterprise Hub in the Elephant and Castle: “Hotel Elephant’s permanent home enables us to build on the success of our previous projects. Our mission is to establish Spare Street as a destination which celebrates and encourages Creative Enterprise and Artistic production in Southwark. A key part of this was Hotel Elephant naming this new street - which quite literally puts it on the map!”  (Reuben Powell. Director)

The move is the first phase of proposals to refurbish a series of under-used railway arches as part of a ‘low line’ project in Southwark. Loosely based on the famous ‘High Line’ project in New York, the aim of the council is to work with Network Rail to create a new pedestrian route down from the more tourist spots in Borough and Bankside into the heart of the borough, following the line of railway arches.

Spare Street opened to the public, with a special event on 1st of July 2016.