Riverside Studios open as usual despite entering pre-administration process

Image above: Riverside Studios in Hammersmith

Arts centre open as normal for time being

Riverside Studios in Hammersmith is open as usual despite announcing on Friday it was starting the process of going into administration. All scheduled events are to continue as normal they say, and no cancellations have been announced so far.

Events are scheduled until August, but it is unclear quite what will happen next. Riverside Studios need to raise £500,000 quickly in order to deliver their planned artistic programme and their community programme.

The board of the Riverside Trust, who oversee the famous arts centre beside Hammersmith Bridge, said they had filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators saying they faced “eye-watering” energy bills and crippling debt.

Riverside Studios only opened in December 2019, having been relocated to the new site beside Hammersmith Bridge from the historic site on Crisp Road where David Bowie and the Sex Pistols performed and TV series such as Dixon of Dock Green and Hancock’s Half Hour were recorded before that.

The new studios started life with £25 million of debt to pay off on the eve of the pandemic, which forced a series of lockdowns with the closure of public spaces, followed by a cost of living crisis.

The Trust has said opening when it did, it has been hard to rebuild revenue streams. The nail in the coffin has been a 300% increase in energy costs.

Image above: Sam’s Riverside restaurant

“Maybe time for a change” says restaurateur Sam Harrison

Sam Harrison, who opened his restaurant Sam’s Riverside as part of the Riverside Studios complex, says it is business as usual for the restaurant. It was opened with the Riverside Studios audiences in mind; there is an entrance from the studios directly into the restaurant, but Sam told The Chiswick Calendar’s editor Bridget Osborne:

“Actually a very small percentage of customers come from Riverside Studios.”

He has built a strong reputation for top quality food, and expanded his business last year by opening a grocery store in Chiswick, Sam’s Larder in Turnham Green. Sam told us:

“ I am very sorry regarding Riverside Studios and they have our full support at this very difficult time. We know very well how hard it has been and continues to be for the arts and hospitality world.

“As far as Sam’s Riverside is concerned, we would like to reassure all our loyal guests that nothing changes and we continue to trade as normal.”

He stressed that the Riverside Studios is only in the pre-administration stage and currently it is thriving, with Winnie the Pooh shows playing to packed audience in the Easter holidays and a new TV show starting to record at the studios next week.

If it is taken over, administrators will probably look to sell it, he says, but will want it to continue as an arts centre. He leases the restaurant. “Our lease would just be owned by somebody else, that’s all.”

“It might be a good thing. It might be time for a change. Maybe a fresh pair of eyes, some fresh ideas might help them. I think there are things that could be done better.”

Asked what, he said the first thing he would want to address with Hammersmith and Fulham Council was the parking.

“You are only allowed to park for two house maximum all round the building. How can the cinemas compete with other cinemas in the area?”

Sam’s Larder is a member of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme and you can see their latest offer to subscribers here: Sam’s Larder Club Card offer.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Riverside Studios enters administration process

See also: St Paul’s Church Grove Park appoints a new vicar

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.