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 a derelict, Grade ll listed Slaughterhouse, previously part of a long standing business – Hensons Butchers, into a unique Heritage & Arts Centre.
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.
We open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday 1.30pm-4.30pm. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
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.
Please visit our dedicated website which explores it's fascinating history, including an interactive heritage timeline, at the Old Slaughterhouse website.
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.
We offer exciting volunteering opportunities for people interested in heritage research as well as the running of the Old Slaughterhouse. These include Heritage Champions and local researchers who help identify and lead exhibitions. For more information please visit:
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.
The Lost Garden of Avon
We are developing an exciting new project within the yard surrounding the heritage centre. We are proposing to enhance our space by building a wooden structure, 'the Cowshed', around the outside of the building in order for us to have more space to undertake our community activities. We will work with local community groups to develop this space through art installations and a gardening and wildlife programme. We are crowdfunding for this project through spacehive, in a campaign called the £2 pledge. If everyone pledges to donate £2, we will be well on our way to reaching our target! To support this project and find out more, please visit https://www.spacehive.com/lost-garden-of-avon#/idea . Thank you so much.
Please see our Sponsorship document to see how you can get involved and businesses may like to actively support this exciting venture.