Visiting Aspire is unlike any other career-related course you have been to or read about. Come along and let us show you around.
An easy, 8-minute walk from Moorgate station through the buzz and bustle of the City of London. Smartly dressed professionals fill the streets, on their way to the office or the nearest cafe.
Arriving at Guildhall Yard you are surrounded by the patchwork of eras, styles and culture that makes London so vibrant. To your left rises the 17th-century St Lawrence Jewry Church beside the 1970s modernist geometry of the Guildhall Library. In front of you, stands the majestic 15th-century Guildhall itself. To the right, the 1980 post-modernist semi-gothic facade of the Guildhall Art Gallery. And nestled on the corner is the beautiful, late Victorian/ early Edwardian Blackwell House. Our destination.
Beyond the roofs of Guildhall Yard, glass and concrete reach into the sky in every direction. We’re standing in the heart of London, surrounded by history and art and business. Particularly business. This is the City of London, the UK’s centre of commerce. Home of the Stock Exchange and the Bank of England. This square mile of land tells the history of the male-dominated world of business.
So it is only fitting that right here, surrounded by all of this, Aspire has made its home. A space for women to gather, to learn new skills, to grow and thrive in their lives and careers, and to take on changing the world.
Inside Blackwell House, your attention is immediately held by the oldest working lift in the City of London, rising through the heart of the building. A sculptural work of golden filigree stretching 6 stories high, the lift tethers you to the rich history of the building and all those that have walked these rooms before.
And so, at last, we arrive at Aspire. The gilt, wrought iron lace of the lift in the central rise of the building was your first clue as to what awaits you upstairs. But even so. Stepping into the Leonora Parlour on the First Floor, or the Emmeline and Millicent rooms on the second floor, are like stepping into a different world. Named after some of the most influential women of the Suffragette movement, the Aspire rooms live up to the prestige of their namesakes.
You are no longer in the corporate centre of London. You are in a sumptuous, glittering world of 1920s luxury. From the art deco wallpaper to the plush velvet seats. The glittering chandeliers, the original, vintage furniture. Rich greens, purples and golds, the colours of the Suffragettes, greet you from every side. This can’t possibly be a space for corporate workshops, this must be a luxury spa.
Seeing the before and after photos of Aspire’s suite of rooms is a testament to Dr Sam Collins, the founder of Aspire’s determination. In just two months the cold, empty, corporate offices were transformed. Through blood, sweat and tears (don’t ask about the infamous sofa-in-the-lift incident), Sam and a small team painted, wallpapered, decorated and curated the space. Every detail from the lights to the window latches has been carefully styled, bringing Aspire’s new home to life.
Walking in, you can feel Sam’s vision. Both for this space and for Aspire. From the Suffragettes posters to packs of tissues thoughtfully placed among the notepads on tables. This is a space for women to be empowered. This is a space for women to discover strengths they never knew they had. This is a space for women to lift one another up, share their stories, their ideas, their support. This is a space where women gather to change themselves, each other and the world. And at the end of the day, there is tea, cake, and a bar. Time to mingle, connect, relax, and recharge.
Visiting Aspire is unlike any other career-related course you have been to or read about. We look forward to welcoming you to one of our events or workshops very soon.