Open for Business by Eleanor Wemyss

Exhibition open 20 – 1 July
Opening Event: Tuesday 19 June, 6 – 9pm. All welcome!

Eleanor Wemyss’ site-specific practice takes as its starting point a specific locale and period in time. Working intimately with local archives, official records and collecting first hand accounts, her work pieces together forgotten and fragmented narratives of community and place.

Her exhibition at Latymer Projects this June focuses on the history of Latimer Road. Sharply divided by the construction of the Westway in the late 1960s, the majority of the road was renamed Freston Road except a small section to the north which remained unchanged. In Open for Business, Wemyss  traces the relationships between businesses and local residents on this street, and the role these shops have played in creating a sense of belonging and collective memory in the local area.

The show brings to light ways of life unknown by younger generations but still within living memory, such as the "soapsud" culture of the 1930s. At this time, six laundries owned by three families all sat within a third of a mile of each other on Latimer Road. A focal point for the community, these businesses provided a semi-public space where people could share information, advice and local stories.

Wemyss’ exhibition also reveals the story of Mal’s Fish and Chip shop: closed down over 25 years ago, the son of the owner conserved the shop as it was for over 20 years until it was finally demolished in 2010. The shop became a time capsule of sorts, a mausoleum for what was once a lively outlet serving the local neighbourhood. This once social space has now been redeveloped into private accommodation. Illustrating how sites become contentious, Wemyss’ research brings to the surface ongoing tensions and competing desires between public and private use over the passage of time.

Along with creative works by Colville Primary School children that imagine new uses for local empty shops, the exhibition will bring together archival objects, documents and recorded memories that Eleanor Wemyss has accumulated during her research process.

‘Open for Business’ will show the story of businesses on Latimer Road since 1900, highlighting the economic situation over the last century and its effects on local communities of past and present.


Family Day -  Saturday 23 June 2 – 4 pm

All welcome – Come along and have a chat to the artist Eleanor and the organizers of Latymer Projects. Children who have made work from Colville Primary School and their parents are especially invited to join us. Coffee, tea, juice and snacks will be available.

Special Event  - Saturday 30 June 2 – 6pm

This event will mark the end of Latymer Projects event programme - we hope everyone who has been involved over the past few months can make it over to celebrate what we’ve all achieved!

Everyone of all ages is welcome, and we will plan to have some activities enjoyable for both children and adults. Refreshments and snacks will be available.


Further Reading