The Old Slaughterhouse

In 2014, as part of Stratford Town Trust’s Million Pound Community Challenge, Escape Arts was awarded £340,000 to renovate and transform an old Slaughterhouse, previously part of a long standing business – Hensons Butchers, into a unique Heritage Arts Centre. The project has, for the first time, created a permanent central point to celebrate local heritage, to archive and to protect Stratford’s social, economic and cultural history for generations to come.

2018 Opening Times

The Old Slaughterhouse is now closed for Christmas and will re-open on 20th Jan 'A Journey Through Time' exploring the site fo the heritage studio and it's rich history as a Tudor pub called the Crowne and Rope Walk/Flaxdresser.

We will be open every Thursday 1-4pm, Friday 11am-4pm and Sat 11am-4pm.  Please be aware we are a charity and community building and on Saturday mornings run a children's Lego club which may impact on your enjoyment of the exhibition, we recommend exhibition viewing from 1-4 on Saturdays. During this time our cafe is open serving a range of artisan coffees, teas, milkshakes and locally sourced cakes.  Alternatively you can book one of our vintage afternoon teas with a choice of locally sourced cakes, sandwiches and sausages rolls, booking required:  We can be a little difficult to find, we can be accessed off Sheep Street, between Clinkards Shoe Shop and Wetherspoons Golden Bee pub or via Red Lion Court, we are situated in the top corner of 'The Yard'. Dogs are welcome and treats and water always available!

afternoon tea

MAD arts trail

HISTORY - The Grade ll listed slaughterhouse is a hidden gem steeped in local heritage.  Records dating back to the early 17th century reveal it as a site for rope-making, wine merchants and then butchers. The building’s memorable name comes from the period when it was Henson’s Butchers. Founded in the late 19th century Hensons prospered as a family business which included an open fronted butchers shop as well as a food shop with the abattoir at the back.



The Old Slaughterhouse mission is to engage local audiences, bringing together historical communities and fusing heritage and professional arts development within a locally driven contemporary, vibrant exhibition space.

The Old Slaughterhouse is within an urban part of Stratford-upon-Avon, a hidden gem. A dynamic arts and heritage programme will provide exciting multi-media exhibition activities and events alongside a targeted outreach strategy to ensure community voices are fully represented and diversity celebrated. Escape will create unique, integrated opportunities that bring people and communities together to share and learn across the generations.

To ensure lasting impact and legacy the project will invest in young people through new Apprenticeships, in ‘Heritage and Archiving’ and ‘Creative and Digital Media’, alongside a programme of ‘Young Heritage Recruits’ learning, leadership and volunteering.
These roles will underpin research, archiving, media and technology development in order to ensure the bonds between the past and present, young and old are recognised, fully accessible and protected for future generations.


Click on the image above to be taken to the BBC's report on the Slaughterhouse

What we do?

  • Quarterly exhibitions inspired and developed by local people, celebrating their contributions alongside archived materials not previously accessible
  • Outreach programmes in schools, care homes, community groups and aimed at others different groups of the communities and engages isolated
  • Heritage themes activities linked to local festivals and event
  • ‘Have a Go Heritage’ days, family fun days held at the heritage arts centre.

Get Involved

We offer exciting volunteering opportunities for people interested in heritage research as well as the running of the Old Slaughterhouse. These include Heritage Champions who help identify and lead exhibitions and the ‘Friends of the Old Slaughterhouse, helping raise funds for the building and its exciting work.’

Hire The Old Slaughterhouse

The Arts & Heritage Studio can be hired for private events at very reasonable rates.  We can help you plan your event and can support with catering/promotion.  Three car park spaces available during the day 12 at night.  We offer a bespoke venue in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon.



Press Renovation Nearly Complete!