Havelock House

Former home of UTV and Flax Art Studios

Havelock House became part of television history when it opened as Ulster Television’s headquarters in 1959. Before the building was converted into a television studio complex, Havelock House was the former site of a hemstitching warehouse. During World War II, the building was the billet for troops to provide cover for Belfast's bridges. When UTV moved to City Quays in 2018, Flax Art Studios moved over 50 artists into Havelock House. Artists, curators and film makers used this sprawling former television and radio station until April 2022. Havelock House’s fate is unknown, Bending Glass could have been the last opportunity for the public to visit.

“How fitting, then, to feature an art that could soon fade, not because it is obsolete—far from it—but because the skills involved in its construction and care are so niche, the material so fragile, and its components so rare, that cheaper (but not more sustainable) approaches to commercial signage have been steadily outperforming neon in sales since the 1960s. Here, today, you can relive the glamour of being a studio audience member basking in those neon signs and colourful strip lighting. 

While you wait to enter the studios, why not sit back, relax, and watch the tube? Enjoy the show!”

Text adapted from the essay Welcome to Havelock House by P.E.A. Blair.

This introduction video was screened to visitors in the reception of Havelock House before they entered the exhibition:


About Flax Art Studios: 

Flax Art was founded in 1989 by a group of recent graduates seeking space to make large-scale sculpture and installation artworks. Space was eventually found in Edenderry Industrial Estate, an old linen mill building situated on the Crumlin Road in North Belfast. In June 2003 the building in which the studios where housed was destroyed by fire. Fortunately, this disaster, which completely destroyed the entire organisation’s contents, including all facilities and artwork, was not the end for the organisation, rather it was taken as an opportunity to take stock and move on and develop further. In 2004-18 Flax Art moved into new premises on Corporation Street in Belfast City Centre. The studios grow with each move and now Flax Art Studios occupy a building on North Street and two buildings on Bedford Street.

Flax Art Studios Website 

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