Knights Hall

Knights Hall

The Portico Gallery

The Portico Gallery is a fascinating and idiosyncratic building located on Knights Hill, West Norwood.  It opened in May 2010 as a community gallery, exhibiting the work of a diverse range of local artists, both trained and untrained.  It is a not-for-profit operation, and is proud to provide an arena in which new and established artists of all disciplines (including musicians, clowns and more serious actors)  can exhibit, present, and sell their work. The gallery space is used by, and is available for, local religious, community and political organisations to hold fundraising events, training, public meetings, hustings, parties, and AGMs on a regular basis. The space is also used as office space for various local improvement organisations such as West Norwood Feast and BID and because of the size of the place, storage for West Norwood Feast gazebos and its monthly event equipment.

The Portico Gallery also host workshops and sessions for groups and individuals to practice their craft and receive training and tutelage where desired.  A hub of the local community, nurturing local talent and raising aspirations of all, Portico Gallery is an inclusive arts and community space – bring your expertise and share it as one of our tutors, or bring your curiosity and learn more. There are facilities for disabled groups and individuals, physical and mental, to use and enjoy The Portico Gallery’s space.

The conceptual heart of the Portico Gallery, centres on how all forms of art and artistry can be used as a tool to explore social ideas and challenge societal ideology.  Founders John Price and Rick Pinn, share the belief that society cannot exist without art, and are driven by the notion of Art for All, ensuring art and creative expression remain accessible to the wider community.  They are particularly interested in the concept of encouraging the encourager, ensuring that community groups can use the resources for seminars, meetings, lectures and discussion, alongside workshops which facilitate the teaching of art and craft skills. Current classes and activities include pottery, sculpture, drawing, painting, sewing, drama, music, yoga, qi gong and photography and film.

Long standing Portico associates include fine-artist Chrissy Thirlaway, ceramicist Emma Fenelon, singer Abigail Sudbury, playwright Deirdre Strath Clyde, textile-artist Angela Hartley and artist Felix Price, who are just a few of the professional artists tutoring and making new work at the gallery.

History of the building

Dating back to 1885, the Knights Hall – what is now the Portico Gallery – was originally built as the first West Norwood public hall, hosting theatrical production and musicals to large audiences.  Charlie Chaplin once performed here, arriving to the hall in grand, horse drawn carriages.  Throughout history, the space continued to be used as a base for community action, until falling into disuse after the first World War. Many decades later, it was restored by John Price, who, inspired by the proportions of the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, introduced a mezzanine floor, and re-established the grandeur of Knights Hall.  The space began being used for hosting artistic events, film clubs, yoga classes and children’s events, and through the success of these informal events, the concept of The Portico Gallery was born.

Directions: From West Norwood station, continue up Knights Hill, until you reach the gallery, which is opposite Wolfington Road. To the left of the Portico Kitchen, is a set of white double doors, and inside is an intercom for the building.  We look forward to you joining us.

For queries to the Gallery contact us at:  info@porticogallery.org – 020 8761 7612