Stapleford Granary (also known as The Association of Cultural Exchange) is an Arts Centre whose aim is to foster cultural understanding through education. We aspire to be a unique, inspiring environment for experiencing music and art, underpinned by our ‘culturally curious’ approach. We believe that the Arts enrich lives and provide a foundation upon which we can better understand, respect and value one another.
The charity was founded in 1958 by Philip Brookes Barnes, a pioneering journalist who developed a unique brand of travel, designed for individuals who wished to learn something new and engage in other cultures. The variety and number of tours has grown steadily over the years and was restructured as a company owned by the charity (ACE Cultural Tours). All Tours still follow the vision of the charity, blending cultural sightseeing with exclusive visits and scholarly expertise. Profits from the Tours have supported life-changing worldwide educational projects and cultural enterprise here at Stapleford Granary.
Stapleford Granary was a derelict 19th century farm, once a state-of-the-art Victorian complex with a particularly fine two-storey granary. In 2009 the charity bought these beautiful buildings as a home for ACE Cultural Tours and a place for music and the arts to thrive. Overseen by Paul Brooke Barnes (the son of Philip), Trevor Barlow and local architects Toni Moses and MCW, the new Stapleford Granary building was awarded a RIBA Regional East Award 2019 for its authentic renovation whilst staying true to many of the original features. The site has a concert hall with an excellent acoustic enhanced by Douglas fir flooring and local gault brick walls. The space also includes recording and filming facilities, studios, gallery walkway and cafe.