Save the Foundry!


The Foundry minus the awful advertising that currently defaces the upper part of the building
Source: Go East Old Man (and slightly younger woman)

Ah well, another good place is being destroyed by money in the wrong hands. This time, it’s The Foundry, a pub and event space at the junction between Old Street and Great Eastern Street. The Foundry stands out in an area which has been overtaken by superficial hipness. While it may attract some of those types, it is mainly a place for artist-activists. In its elven years of existence it has housed music, cabaret, outsider art, political film festivals and even runs its own radio show. I have performed there many times as a musician and have put on events to support ‘World Oceans Day’ being recognised by the UN. Frankly, I cannot think of any other places which support such a mix of activities in central London on such a sustained basis.

Proposed to be in its place is a so-called ‘Artotel’ (ironically, an art-themed hotel) in which art does not seem to amount to mere decorative value. The blurb on their proposal reads that they are seeking links to local artist communities, but I cannot see the Foundry’s type of  ‘Artivism’ (to go with the word blending theme…) work in such a highly corporate environment. I don’t think there is much anyone can do about this other than hoping for the council to support a relocation of the Foundry on the basis that it is a place of cultural significance. Cultural significance is a concept which includes, for instance, social significance which is commonly defined as ’embrac[ing] the qualities for which a place has become a focus of spiritual, political, national or other cultural sentiment to a majority or minority group‘. Here are some examples of how ‘cultural significance’ is established. If you feel that these points apply to the Foundry, please forward your arguments to the local council:

Hackney Planning Services
Dorothy Hodgkin House
12 Reading Lane
London
E8 1HJ

Thank you!

Also check this out:

It’s a bit hard to read, but basically it says that the deadline for objections is 20 November and that you can also e-mail to gillian.nicks@hackney.gov.uk (planner for this site) and/or graham.loveland@hackney.gov.uk (head of planning) and cc to eyesoreonoldst@live.co.uk .

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