“The present house stands at the extremity of a meadow, about a furlong from the highway and a hundred feet above high water mark, commanding extensive views” – History of The Rochford Hundred by Phillip Benton,1866
In Southend-on-Sea, Metal are based in Chalkwell Hall, a white Georgian house sitting within the much loved grounds of Chalkwell Park, overlooking the Thames Estuary across to Kent. Since renovating the listed building in 2007, we have hosted hundreds of artists-in-residence, public events, workshops, classes and creative community socials and programmes. A key part of our activity is encouraging conversations with the wider communities of South Essex.
Chalkwell Hall is a grade II listed building. It was built by George Mason in 1830 and at the time it was a farmhouse on a large estate. The trees lining the drive (now the avenue from the house to the London Road) were planted the same year. The hall has magnificent views of the Park and across the Thames Estuary to Kent.
After George Mason died the house was sold to Southend Council in 1899. At the same time, there was a building boom in the area, spurred on by the newly developed railway from Southend to London.
As housing estates began to settle in the surrounding areas, the Council managed to preserve 26 acres of land for use as a public park, and so, in 1901 Chalkwell Hall became a popular cafe in the centre of the park. The house was also used as the home where the park keeper and head gardener resided.
Back in 2007, Metal invited author and archivist Rachel Lichtensten into residence to help us understand the history surrounding Chalkwell Hall. Her research and residency took place prior to and during the renovation work on the house as Metal began its incarnation from a vacant into the space.
Chalkwell Hall is a hub for ideas, a space for testing, experimentation and process. Inside, we host space for our artists-in-residence bedrooms and workspace, community hot desks, staff offices, collaborative meetings space and a collective communal kitchen advocating the sharing of ideas, relationship building with artists of various disciplines and stages, and the wider community, through food.
Metal Southend is home to the colourful Metal Art School building which hosts a variety of local artist-led classes and wellbeing sessions for the community for all ages and backgrounds, throughout the year. This is a free arts service for people living with mental health concerns.
For current events click here and for information about our current projects running from Chalkwell Hall, click here.
In partnership with Southend City Council, Metal hosts the NetPark Wellbeing project. We also regularly work with local and national arts organisations, community groups and grass-roots collectives.
At Metal Southend, we are part of the following networks:
- Southend Creative and Culture Network
Our NetPark Wellbeing Project is also part of:
- Livewell Southend
- Southend Volunteer Association (SAVs)
- Castle Point Association of Voluntary Services (CAVS)
- Dementia Navigators at Southend Borough Council
- Dementia Community Support Team
- South East Essex Mental Health Partnership Forum
- South East Essex’s Trauma Alliance, Essex Partnership
- University NHS Foundation Trust
When you first arrive at Chalkwell Hall, you are met with an accessible ramp that reaches the front door. Inside the house on the ground floor, is the wheelchair accessible and gender neutral toilet and a lift for anyone unable to use the stairs to reach the first floor to the artists’ bedrooms and the top floor. One bedroom has an accessible bathroom ensuite.
The Metal Art School is also an accessible space with ramps and a wheelchair accessible and gender neutral toilet.
We want everyone to feel welcome at Metal and we do not tolerate harassment or discrimination. We take holding a space seriously and if you have any feedback or would like to raise a concern, please let a member of staff know.
Use of our space
Chalkwell Hall supports and hosts a wide range of activities, including artist sharings, talks, gigs, book launches and workshops. If you would like to hold an event at Chalkwell Hall as part of our public programme, please fill out our enquiry form here.
If you’d like to enquire about running a creative class at Metal Art School, please fill out the form here.
Chalkwell Hall is also available for private hire on an ad-hoc basis for meetings. If you would like to find out more about a private hire booking, please fill out our enquiry form here.
We are also offering a Festive Party Package on Fridays and Saturdays across late November to December. If you would like to know more about this, click here.
We offer adhoc volunteering opportunities throughout the year during our programmes and events. You can find out more about volunteering at Metal here.
How to find us?
Metal at Chalkwell Hall
Southend on Sea. SS0 8NB
T +44  1702 470 700
For directions to our spaces, download this PDF.
The nearest train station is Chalkwell Station, and the nearest step-free station is Leigh-On-Sea.
Get in touch!
You can contact us via our phone number 01702 470700 or by dropping us an email firstname.lastname@example.org
For directions to our spaces, download this PDF.