Well Walk Pottery: Puppet Theatre set for Hampstead as historic workshop shuts

Well Walk Pottery

Well Walk Pottery - Credit: Archant

The former site of Well Walk Pottery in Willow Road is set to become a puppet theatre, the Ham&High understands.

The historic site, which had been home to a pottery workshop and shop since the 1950s, closed earlier this year.

Its former owner, the late Christopher Magarshack, was well known for the shop and workshop in Hampstead, where he threw and fired his own pots, and also made stained glass.

Matilda Moreton, who along with Claytime reopened the shop in December 2017, said she was sad it wasn’t going to stay as a pottery shop, and hoped it would remain a community space.

“I always knew this was a possibility,” she said. “I was giving it my best shot to keep it going. In the end there was nothing I could have done.

“We’re hopeful that there will be a chance of some community art space when it eventually opens. I wish them really well.”

Letters from the new owners have been posted through the doors of homes in Willow Road and Gayton Road, telling them about the plans for the theatre and bookshop.

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The community rallied to get Well Walk listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) in the face of a possible sale, after Mr Magarshack’s death in January 2018.

The application was backed by the Heath and Hampstead Society, which said there was “nothing like it in the borough and, if it were to close, it could not be replaced.”

However the ACV was overturned in court, meaning the community didn’t have the six-month window to try and raise the more than £2million the shop and flat above were sold for.

Ceramicist Edmund Du Waal gave a talk at Burgh House to raise awareness ahead of a possible bid.

There had been hope that the workshop could have returned to its former glory. Matilda had been doing workshops and lessons since she had returned to Well Walk, where she had thrown her first pot 20 years ago.

She is now doing lessons at the London School of Mosaic, in Mansfield Road in Gospel Oak.

She said: “As soon as it was sold, I went off and bought a couple of wheels and set up some classes.

“We’re doing some work with kids who have been excluded, or those are disabled, as therapy. It’s going really well.”