Rochester Square has been an abandoned and derelict nursery site for more than a decade. In early 2016 Francesca Anfossi and Eric Wragge, a local couple, formed and led a partnership to purchase the abandoned and derelict nursery site from the previous owners. Since then, they have secured it, completed extensive remediation and are currently assessing the feasibility of options for revitalising the square and bringing it back into use.
A long term and sustainable plan has yet to be defined but is currently envisaged to include creating earth enveloped building(s) beneath the surface of the square to generate a commercial return, restoration or replacement of the buildings on the surface of the square, and removal of the concrete that covers most of the surface to make way for gardens and landscaping.
We are in the process of revitalizing, testing new ideas and working with social engaging projects. As part of our outreach process we set up communal studio for recreational use and collaborative ideas for artists and neighbours where we learn and share knowledge through making.
Rochester Square wants to bring people and communities together through ceramic facilities and socially-engaging projects. Emphasising the fascinating system of recycling clay: where after firing at a low temperature, the cups and pots are still so fragile that you can smash them on the ground after use and turn them back into the soil, which can then be used again to create new ceramic objects. This idea guides us in our approach to the development of activities at RS: a creative cycle from the earth (clay) to plants (garden) to plates (food). For us, there is great meaning in creating a space that can become a catalyst for people to meet each other through the powerful yet simple tools of making things together.