Trampery grows low-cost startup offer

London shared workspace provider The Trampery has stepped up its efforts to address what it has called an “existential threat” facing the capital’s arts and technology startup community, with a new offer of free and affordable space for creative businesses. Julian Blake reports.


The Trampery, one of London’s pioneer startup workspaces , has announced a year-long project offering creative startups free and affordable space to build their ventures. It is part of the Trampery’s effort to help make running fledgling creative tech businesses in the capital more affordable.

The Trampery Republic (pictured) will provide 20 free desks for emerging creatives with the most talented early-stage ideas, with a further 30 desks priced flexibly for more established projects. London’s Barbican Centre also plays a role in the project.

The move, driven by a team led by Trampery founder Charles Armstrong, is part of its response to London’s cost-of-living crisis. The Trampery has its roots in helping define the Tech City cluster in east London – a district that once attracted startups because of its cheap rents. (No more.)

Earlier this year it announced a bold move into property development, joining social landlord Peabody on a 580-home and workspace development at Hackney Wick’s Fish Island, backed by more than £7m in public funds from the mayor of London.

To date the Trampery has opened eight buildings, with specialised hubs for software, travel, retail and digital arts. But, writing in March , Armstrong said “there wasn’t much point providing gorgeous workspaces if the people we were setting out to support couldn’t afford to live in London in the first place.”

The Trampery was itself a victim of London’s rising rents when it was forced to move out of its London Fields fashion hub following a 400% rent hike.

The Trampery Republic occupies a luxurious 9,000 square foot workspace next to East India DLR station, complete with lounge and event space, with a wrap-around roof terrace offering spectacular views of Canary Wharf, the Thames and City of London. It is the first workspace to open as part of the Republic London development, transforming a 1990s office complex into contemporary east London landmark.

“This will be a unique cocktail for new ideas and creative cross-fertilisation,” said Armstrong. “As a response to London’s cost-of-living crisis for emerging creatives we’re committed to providing facilities free of charge to the most talented early-stage ideas.”

The Trampery Republic project will run for a year from January. Places will be awarded through a competitive selection process and reviewed by a panel led by Armstrong.

The Trampery Republic will also house a joint initiative from the Barbican to support innovators in digital arts. The new project will build on previous collaborations including the Hack the Barbican festival of art and technology and a digital arts incubator at Fish Island Labs.

The new East India space is intended for startups, designers, artists, producers and others developing creative ideas. It will also house Playdiation, a “studio developing cinematic games” led by Berg co-founder Jack Shulze.

The call for applications for free desk space is now open today and runs until midnight on December 15. Apply via A drop-in open afternoon for anyone interested in applying is on site from December 2 from 2-5pm. RSVP