History

Thames-Side Studios is part of Emafyl (Robobond Ltd). Emafyl has been on this site in Woolwich, south-east London, previously the site of the old Siemens factory, for more than 30 years, and has been providing affordable, sustainable and secure, long-term studio-space here since 2010. It is now one of the largest single-site communities of artists, craft-makers and designer-makers in the UK. And we are committed to the continuing development of this provision.

Founded in 1983 by Howard Simons, Emafyl (Robobond Ltd) manufactured picture-frame mouldings, architectural and caravan mouldings in Woolwich, winning the Queen's Award for Export Achievement in 1996. However, with the decline in the manufacturing sector in Europe and further afield, the company developed other opportunities for the site and set about developing a centre of excellence with 470 studios, exhibition spaces, a photographic room, kilning, a yard, spray shop, cafes, and classroom.

Parent company, D & J Simons and Sons Ltd is a long-established family business. Founded in 1903 by David Simons, the company was first established as a manufacturer of wood turnery and a supplier to the reproduction furniture industry.

Succeeded by his son Jack and later by Jack’s three sons, Stephen, Howard and Brian, the business was developed into the new millennium. The fourth generation, Daniel, Anthony, Robert and Amanda, provides family continuity and commitment well into the future.