1960s train carriage arrives in Bexhill to be turned into cafe and events space - video
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The 35-tonne carriage, which was previously converted into one of London’s most unique cafés, designed by renowned artist Morag Myerscough, will now reside at The Old Ambulance Station.
The creative conversion was commissioned by property developer Cathedral Group and then installed at their Deptford development around the town's station in 2008 before moving to its new home in Bexhill.
Established in 2021 by developer Richard Upton and artist Ben Wood, the Old Ambulance Station building was converted to community artist workshop spaces with affordable rents.
The business model for the building means that rents to the artists become more affordable the more the spaces are populated and activated. As part of the arrangement, each artist gives several hours each month of volunteering in the community.
The artists will work together using their skills to give the carriage a new lease of life so it can best serve local needs.
A locally-run cafe is set to be installed inside, serving coffee and locally-produced food, with the aim of becoming a focus for the local artistic community, plus an events space for the public.
Having left its storage yard in Greenwich last Tuesday evening (July 18), the 20m-long carriage travelled on a truck overnight, landing on its beach-side green the next morning.
The new home in Bexhill is in Beeching Road, named for the infamous Beeching Axe; a drastic series of route closures and service changes made as part of the restructuring of British Rail in the 1960s. This resulted in the closure of the station at Bexhill West, which is now Grade II listed and home to Sivyers Antiques.
Mr Upton said: “This area is imbued with history, and placing this repurposed railway carriage for artist and community use feels like a fitting new chapter for The Old Ambulance Station. We want to see as many local people coming down here to support and getting involved with the spaces’ activities. This next phase of settling the carriage into her new home will play an important part in our outreach.”
The Old Ambulance Station will celebrate an official opening to all later this year.