Sunday, 1 December 2019

Big trouble ahead for Ridley Road market traders

On Tuesday 3rd December the Save Ridley Road campaign is inviting local people to join them from 5pm for the unveiling of a new campaign banner followed with an evening of talks, music, dancing, laughter, food and drink in the Ridley Road Market Bar until late.

You will learn the latest situation concerning the indoor market traders who battled the off-shore development company which tried to evict them from the Shopping Village on just 14 days notice. And how recently it gave just 3 days notice of its intention to lock-out the tenants using the basement storage units.

You will also learn about the community's application to Hackney Council to declare the Shopping Village an Asset of Community Value. The Shopping Village has been a longstanding community resource as a place for up to 60 small independent traders, as essential storage for street market traders, and for its cultural uses by 60 artists and creatives working on the upper floors. Its owner, Larochette, which is based in the British Virgin Islands secrecy jurisdiction, has applied for planning permission to turn the Shopping Village into luxury offices and flats.

And, if that wasn't enough trouble, you will learn of Hackney Council's emerging plans to impose new licensing regulations on Ridley Road's street market traders which run to 33 pages. One trader described the document as "101 ways to lose you licence". The changes include the Council's right to cancel street trading licences when required to enable private development. ( The Shopping Village developer claims that 28 pitches in Ridley Road will need to cease trading during the works Ed.).  Hackney have recruited new staff to implement these changes including their enforcer who is reported to have been dismissed from the Met Police for misconduct following allegations of "discreditable conduct" and of using bullying and harassing language and behaviour. Another  new manager is rumored to have had a career in privatising Council markets (I fear that this is not going to end well. Ed.)

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Dalston Arts seasonal fair - 30th November and 1st December

The Dalston Arts Fair is back for its third annual exhibition and sale of work by some 30 local artists and makers. The Fair will be in the beautiful Grade II Listed St. Mark's Church Hall, Colvestone Crescent E8 1LJ on Saturday 30th November from 11am and Sunday 1st December from 10am

Poster designed by Dalston artist Jane Smith

The exhibition is great opportunity to meet the artists and to buy work direct from them. (Think ahead - christmas presents! Ed.)
Diane Ambida's ceramics

The work on display will include paintings, drawings, collages and ceramics ( including six artists from Dalston's iconic Glebe Road ceramic studio)

Fiona Fouhy's monoprints

Hedy Parry-Davies' mixed media collage

Graham Stone painting 
London Trees - watercolours and prints on birch by Sheaufei Hoe
Also exhibited will be beautiful jewellery, embroidery, accessories, homeware and much more 

Ange's upcycled jewellery and accessories

Freda Silcott's batik

Shirley's truly delicious home made lunches, teas and cakes will also be available throughout the weekend - all at affordable prices.( Reason enough to visit the exhibition -Ed)

Michelle Butler's felt work

You could turn your visit into a Dalston Arts Safari. Call in at the Chocolate Factory, nearby in Farleigh Place N16 7SX, which has open studios from 11am to 6pm over the same weekend. Also, on Saturday from 11am-9pm you can visit Ridley Road Ceramics open studio upstairs at 51-63 Ridley Road E8 2NP (above the Shopping Village) 

Barnaby Hoskin's ceramics upstairs at Ridley Road Ceramics Studio 

Here are some more of the beautiful items that will be exhibited for sale at the St Mark's Church Hall  exhibition. 

Michelle Owoo's collage

Rooma Parmar's embroidery

Debbie Munday's homeware

We look forward to seeing you at the exhibition  ( Don't forget - bring some cash so you can support our local artists! Ed)

Jane Smith's print

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Community Bath House wins £35,000 crowdfund grant from the Mayor of London

The Mayor of London announced today that he’ll be backing a campaign to restore the Old Bath House on Englefield Road to the tune of £35,000. Vietnamese, Chinese and Filipino groups have come together to revive the vacant building as a community centre for migrants and refugees. The campaign needs another £10,000 to get the project over the line, or they’ll lose the Mayor’s grant and other pledges. But if they succeed, they will use the money for a community kitchen that will form the heart of the centre, and a way of building bridges with Hackney locals through East Asian cooking classes and pop-up restaurants.

You can help by contributing to the crowdfunding campaign here, which closes on 12 August 2019:

Community groups celebrating with the Mayor of Hackney on Lunar New Year

The building has served Hackney communities for almost 100 years, first opening in 1932 as a public bath house. Up until the 1960s, over 60,000 people were taking a bath there every year, paying around 40p in today’s money. In the 1980s, newly arrived Vietnamese refugees moved into the building, opening it as a community centre financed by its popular restaurant. Locals to Englefield Road still remember Mr Khane Thanh Vu, who led and co-ordinated the An Viet Foundation for over thirty years to ensure the employment training, community services, library services and the community restaurant ran smoothly.

Image of the bath house in 1947, by permission of Hackney Archives

When the An Viet Foundation dissolved in 2017, the Vietnamese community drew on the support of Hackney Chinese Community Services, and the Filipino consortium Kanlungan. If the current campaign is successful, the community kitchen will open in May next year.

Jabez Lam from Hackney Chinese Community Services said “This is a fantastic opportunity. Our new centre aims to have a community kitchen at the centre of its services, and this grant pledge will help realise our dreams. We will now be able to support our communities through elderly luncheon clubs, training locals in East Asian cuisine, or hiring out our new dining and kitchen area.

Dr Ella Parry-Davies, a University of London researcher working with Filipina migrant women, says the centre will benefit some of London’s most invisible and isolated groups. “Many Filipinos in the UK are domestic and care workers, who work long hours behind closed doors. I meet women every day who tell me they’re looking for a home away from home, a place to unite and organise to act on their rights. It’s so important to have a physical space where the community can come together.

The Bath House today

The campaign is bucking the trend of top-down “regeneration” in Hackney, and the erasure of the borough’s multicultural heritage  The Bath Community House campaign is a turning point for East Asian migrant and refugee groups, but it’s also about continuity with the past. Hackney Council has approved a £400,000 budget to stabilise the structure of the building, and the restoration will see the building extending its life as a public space.

Susan Cueva of the Filipino consortium Kanlungan said, “This provides us with a wonderful opportunity to support East Asian women in catering business, as well as encourage innovation though pop up restaurants. We’re building a home here. It’s going to be a legacy to the community.

Invitation to the laying of the foundation stone ceremony in 1931, by permission of 
Hackney Archives

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Dalston Speaks - a community organised public meeting on Sunday 2nd June

Next Sunday 2nd June, between 1-5pm, local community groups have organised a public meeting to exchange and explore ideas about the future development of Dalston. The meeting is taking place in the former CLR James Library at 24-30 Dalston Lane. All locals are invited.

You can just drop in, listen in or join in the conversations, enjoy the friendly atmosphere, and stay for as long as you want. There'll be exhibitions and short films as well. Hackney's Mayor, Philip Glanville, will also be attending towards the end of the event when questions and proposals arising from the conversations  will be put to him. There's lots to talk about.

Ridley Road street market is under threat. We are all aware of the massive rises in land values and rents for homes, shops and work space in Hackney - young families, small business, artisans and cultural businesses have increasingly been priced out. 

Last October traders in the “Ridley Road Shopping Village” covered market were given just 14 days to get out by the new tax-haven corporate owner which seeks planning permission to build luxury flats and offices in their place. There was a public outcry. What can we do to help preserve the character and affordability of our market, on which so many of us rely, but which is increasingly at risk?

Central Dalston's architectural and cultural heritage is under threat. In November 2015 Hackney Council  decided that its "preferred strategy" for its Dalston sites was to recruit a development partner for a single "comprehensive development/refurbishment". Hackney has bought two of the sites as a "natural extension" of the Dalston Square development. Its plan was a package for "regeneration" which would "maximise capital value and rental revenue for the Council."  

The proposed development sites included part of the Eastern Curve Garden and properties in Ashwin Street and Dalston Lane all  of which are owned by the Council and are presently in affordable social and cultural uses. Hackney's Mayor has denied that the sites will be sold - but  Dalston's experience of Hackney's "comprehensive regeneration" schemes is one of demolition and unaffordable outcomes. What can be done to reduce the risks of  that outcome? Should the development process be controlled by a Community Development Trust? Would Hackney agree to that? Simon Donovan, who is Chief Executive of the Manor House Development Trust, will join the meeting to discuss his experience.

The air we breath in Dalston contains unlawful levels of toxic pollutants, caused mainly by motor vehicles. Its effect is chronic ill health outcomes particularly for children. How can we reduce and mitigate the overall level of  air pollution in the short and long term?  Do the Council's closures of  residential side streets make things worse by forcing more vehicles onto the main roads like Kingsland High Street and Dalston Lane - where there tend to be more schools and housing estates? Can we learn from other boroughs like Walthamstow's mini-holland scheme?

Why have developments on public land not secured more than 15% affordable housing and 10% affordable workspace? Could a neighbourhood plan help achieve more affordable homes and affordable workspace as well as protect community assets and secure community benefits? Our Dalston Speaks event takes place at a time when Hackney has submitted its Local Plan 2033 for government approval and is consulting on a supplementary plan for Dalston's future development.   Crossrail2, which could cause extensive demolitions locally, is waiting in the wings. Anna Doyle of the Soho's  neighbourhood forum will be join Dalston Speaks to recount her experience. 

The spaces between buildings are often overlooked when planning applications are considered - with the result that public space and heritage assets are diminished by dominating neighbours,  by poor design, blighted by overshadowing and made to feel gloomy, cold and unwelcoming.  

The Dalston Speaks event next Sunday 2nd June between 1-5pm provides an opportunity for you to drop in and raise the issues which are of most concern to you, to discuss them with other local people in an informal friendly environment and to contribute to a series of questions which will be put to the Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, who will attend the event towards the end of the afternoon. Don't miss out! Do come along!

PS The local groups promoting the event, in addition to OPEN Dalston, include the Eastern Curve Garden, Save Ridley Road, Hackney Society,  Rhodes Estate Tenants and Residents Association, Colvestone School Parents Association, Dalston Conservation Area Advisory Committee, the Rio Cross Residents Association and others. The event is hosted by Hackney Council for Voluntary Services.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Rio Cinema screening of "Under the Cranes" on Sunday 5th May - a benefit for #SaveRidleyRoad

On Sunday 5th May at 3.45pm the Rio Cinema will be screening "Under the Cranes". Historic photos of Ridley Road market, from the Rio's collection, will also be projected.
Book now to avoid disappointment - it sold out last time !

The film has been described as "a polyphonic meditation on time and urban space - a joyous wonder, an instant addition to the modern canon of filmic London" and  a "marvellous evocation of Hackney - the place, the peoples and their dreams too".

Filmed on location in Hackney, and with rare archive footage, the film is a collaboration between the poet Michael Rosen and the film maker Emma-Louise Williams. Michael and Emma will be at the Rio to talk about the film and their own experiences of the changing face of Hackney.

The Rio is screening the film to help raise funds for the #SaveRidleyRoad campaign. Our street market is increasingly at risk from "regeneration", gentrification and social cleansing.

Rocketing land values and rents threaten the sustainability of Ridley Road's small businesses, street traders, artists and artisans and threaten the affordability of its produce on which so many Hackney families depend.

@SaveRidleyRoad campaigners have been battling successfully to protect traders from summary evictions and to resist the planning application to turn Ridley Road Shopping Village covered market into upmarket offices and luxury flats. Your support is invaluable to this struggle.

You can see the details here of the planning application, under Hackney's reference 2017/2897. 
If it helps with your objections you can see ours here
You can object to the planning application quoting the application number 2017/2897 by email to or write to  Hackney Planning Service, 2 Hillman Street, London, E8 1FB
Do it now - numbers count!  

Monday, 1 April 2019

Support is growing for Save Ridley Road campaign

The Save Ridley Road campaign is going from strength to strength. There was a strong show of community support, and solidarity with the market traders, at the festival in Gillett Square last Saturday

Cordia, Talularose, Dollybluebelle and Aga 

The artists brought their brushes and paints...  


and Hackney's legendary Ray Carless played his saxophone... 

Prince Terralox
and we also had DJs...

Chloe Giles and Aleh

and Food Not Borders brought us free vegan food...

Lauren and Zaia

and we heard speeches from Save Ridley Road campaign... 


and from the campaigners of Ward's Corner Save Latin Village ...



and we had help and advice from London Renters Union...


and performances by spoken word artists and poets....

Soraya and Nafeesah

and we made sure...


that the message from our community.... 

to the developers and the Council ....


was loud and clear.... 
Save Ridley Road!


As someone rightly said "You've got to fight to save the London you love". Our weapons of choice last Saturday were art, music, poetry, love and solidarity! 

(Plus local people wrote over 150 thoughtful comments and objections to the planning application for redevelopment of the Ridley Road Shopping Village. Yeh! Ed

You can see the details here of the planning application, under Hackney's reference 2017/2897. 
If it helps with your objections you can see ours here
You can object to the planning application quoting the application number 2017/2897 by email to or by writing to Hackney Planning Service, 2 Hillman Street, London, E8 1FB .  Do it now - numbers count!  

All photos copyright of Tamara Rabea