Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Travels of Atlantis Art Materials - on the move again!

The largest art shop in London has moved again! 

I regard Atlantis Art Materials as one of my local art materials shops. It's had lots of locations around the East End of London since I first encountered it just off Devons Road in E3 more years ago than I can accurately remember.

I've bought masses of art materials and supplies "stuff" from Atlantis in my time. They were my supplier of choice for paper, foam core, mat board when I could access them easily by car - because you could buy masses and just load it straight on to the back seat.  Plus I've been known to acquire an awful lots of bits and bobs having to walk past shelves to get to the foam core!  I can visualise all the pastels and pencils racks still because I used to spend so long in front of them....

I was idling trying to work out how many locations it has had since I've known them - and in the end came up with six - but I have only visited four of them.

There again they've only been in the latest one in Hackney since 5th March 2018.

1. Original Location: Devons Road, London E3 (mid/late 1980s?)


I'm sure this is the first place that I first I came across Atlantis Art Materials. I don';t think they'd been going for very long when I first came across them.

It was a typical location for a company looking for a large building and not wanting to pay lots of rent! They inhabited a very modern techie type building next to where the Devons Road DLR Station (opened 1987) is now. This was by far the smallest of the stores. They got a lot bigger when they moved on from here.  I don't think the DLR was open when I first visited it - but I could be wrong.

The original Devons Road location. 
I seem to recall the building they were in looked different so it might have changed or it might just be so many years ago I can't actually remember.

I do remember going there to review watercolour paint after reading Michael Wilcox's book The Wilcox Guide to the Best Watercolor Paints (published 1993) because this was the first time I'd taken a good long hard look at Old Holland Paint - which I never ever saw in any other art suppliers. (Note: this book is now way out of date - but did trigger a bit of a revolution if testing watercolours!)

2. The Huge Warehouse in Brick Lane (Early - Late 90s?)


I can't remember the precise address but it was right opposite the Old Truman Brewery - in an HUGE warehouse with great parking. It was absolutely cavernous and one of the stores I liked the best.

They were here for ages and I made lots of early purchases here.

Many is the time I've climbed that little flight of stairs
and entered the cathedral of art materials

a very small entrance
- which led to an enormous space behind

3. Whitechapel - early 2000s - 2009

7-9 Plumber's Row London E1 1EQ (just behind the Mosque on Whitechapel Road - as was)

This was one of the best locations and was also very accessible whether visiting using public transport or by car. I could normally guarantee I could park the car either in their car park or on the street - which meant I could take my time and spend lots of money I hadn't planned to.

Plus I really liked the layout and the paper desk - which was away from everything else.

I have some very pleasant memories of having a wind down from work wander around on Saturday afternoons.

They had to move on when plans for the area were developed and the site is now home to student accommodation.

4. Hanbury Street - August 2009- 2015

Disabled unfriendly entrance
- especially when carrying stuff!
Britannia House, 68-80 Hanbury Street, London E1 5JL

This was a large bright space once you got inside and lots of space to display the products well. However the access was a total nightmare (particularly for those with mobility challenges) in terms of both stairs at the entrance, the store on the second floor and a lift that took forever - plus never enough parking spaces outside - plus controlled parking zone. Luckily I could park locally being a resident of Tower Hamlets - however I still had to time visits for when it was more likely there would be spaces!

My shopping at Atlantis dropped off after they moved here - largely because of the accessibility reasons. It more or less became an emergency visits only - and I took to ordering online for larger stock supplies.

I'm guessing this is what finally stimulated the eternal "mail order" firm into finally getting its act together and generating an internet ordering service

The building is now a  refurbished very modern and"funky" apartment block.

5. Old Street 2015 - 25 February 2018

Basement, 16-28 Tabernacle Street, EC2A 4DD

The 2015 Invite to New Premises
I've never visited this venue as I'd stopped being a regular customer after the parking problems associated with Hanbury Street. It never struck me as being particularly easy to visit - being in the middle of a gigantic one way system.




NEW / Current Location - Hackney E8 - from 5th March 2018

Unit 1/Unit 7 Bayford Street Industrial Centre, London E8 3SE

This is their announcement.  They've got two units in a business centre - Unit 1 for main art supplies and Unit 7 just for paper.
  • The plus points: 
    • London Fields overground is within 200m
    • It's near the main bus routes via Mare Street
    • will be great for Hackney based artists
  • The negatives: 
    • double yellow lines everywhere - if you're not a Hackney resident don't even think about taking a car! 
    • no information on the website about parking - it's as if nobody ever has to move large or heavy items!
    • Atlantis have left Tower Hamlets - it's not local any more!





They're not a very internet savvy firm however you can follow them on:

2 comments:

  1. They started off in Wapping! Just round the corner from Metropolitan Wharf, I have forgotten the name of the street but it had a great atmosphere and I was very disappointed when they moved to Devon’s Road despite the building being closer to where I lived at that time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. As far as I recall Atlantis began around 1979. I remember this because it was in the depths of the East End which was then the cheapest place for an artist to find studio space. Not sure which Street, but close to where it is now.

    We all went there, because it sold very cheap discontinued and factory rejects of good quality paper.

    It was set up by a group of artists who wanted to serve emerging and struggling artists.

    ReplyDelete

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