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  • Writer's pictureCarole Pluckrose

The launch of the Janet Corcoran Memorial Library at the Boathouse Studios

The Boathouse Studios was launched in 2014 as an exciting, multi-purpose arts and events venue within the Malthouse, a lovingly restored 19th Century industrial building in the heart of the Ice House Creative Quarter. The Boathouse is based on an unusual long-term partnership between a commercial construction company (Rooff Ltd ) and an arts organisation. As public funding has dwindled, the importance of the nature of this partnership has increased, and this provides a model for using commercial activities and philanthropy to support the arts within a deprived community.

The pandemic posed many challenges and has meant we have had to be fleet of foot in diversifying our income generation through increased hire of the studios for private events. We have actively used this opportunity to encourage our guests to use their imaginations in how they create the event in our unique blank canvas space. This reflects our ethos that everyone is creative and that by rejecting elitist definitions of art, its importance can be reflected in rites of passage and the myriad of ways we lead our lives. It is our focus on quality meaningful activities with creativity at their heart.that sets the Boathouse apart from other venues and offers unique experiences to young and old alike .

Janet Corcoran was a probation officer whose family live and work in Barking and Newham. She loved to write and was an avid reader. She was committed to learning and access to quality arts experiences for young people and the community. She took part in creative writing activities at the Boathouse and was part of our Love Letters to the World project (originally funded by Pen to Print during the Pandemic. Her son and daughter in law celebrated their wedding at the studios.

Sadly, Janet died unexpectedly on a trip to Brazil in August 2022.Her children Nick and Rosa gifted her large collection of books to the Boathouse as a legacy library project in their mother’s memory.

It is early days for us and we are new to running an honesty library but experience elsewhere suggests that success depends on local people actively participating by borrowing books, returning them, swapping them or donating different books. So if you are using the Studios or passing by do take a look and become one of our active library supporters!

Carole Pluckrose - Artistic Director/CEO, Boathouse Barking CIC.

For more information please email us at

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