Urgent – Help Save the 12 Bar, Soho

12 bar

The squatted 12 Bar in Soho is now the frontline against the complete redevelopment of the West End and Soho. Having executed a brilliant open-mic last Friday (with acts like the Bohemianauts, and Smiley and the Underlass), they are now up in court on Wednesday, facing an Interim Possession Order (IPO) on the building. At an open community meeting on Monday night, ex-employees of the 12 Bar, local workers, students, activists, bohemians and supporters came together to discuss how we could save this culturally significant venue from being demolished. Resist, Occupy, Win!

What You Can Do To Help

The most pressing issue is the court case on Wednesday. The plan is to get the 15-minute court hearing adjourned to get a few more weeks to hold more events and build the campaign. This will be an IPO hearing, and if successful, the owners (Consolidated Developments) can reclaim the building within 24-hours, using High Court bailiffs (ie those who resist could be arrested). The following actions could help get the case adjourned:

1] Write a Letter to the Judge (before Wednesday morning):

Write a letter to the judge explaining why the 12 Bar should not be reclaimed by the owner to be demolished (for reasons see notes below); if there are enough letters, the judge may adjourn the case to review this evidence.

Post to, or drop letters off at: The Occupiers, The 12 Bar, 26 Denmark Street, WC2H 8NL

Or email your letter to: thebarnetbohemians@gmail.com (Subject: Letter to Judge RE: 12 Bar, Soho)

These MUST get there before 9am Wednesday morning (28th January).

2] Come down to Show Your Support at the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand

The hearing will take place at:

Central London County Court, Thomas More Building, WC2A 2LL

Date: Wednesday 28th January

Time: 10am

To check which courtroom, look for: Consolidated Developments v. Persons Unknown

3] Skills Required before Court:

Surveyor: to check the building and see what damage the developers have already done to the Grade II listed building (evidence)

Electrician and Fire Alarm Specialist: to check there are no dangerous electrics, and fire alarm meets Health and Safety standards

General: engaging local shops, people on the street, recruiting musicians to come play, getting celebrity support, maintenance & carpentry work, and so on.

Come down to the 12 Bar anytime; the crew are friendly and hospitable

4] Sign the Petitions

There are two petitions for existing campaigns challenging the developments/ demolitions taking place on Denmark Street and in Soho. As the developments span two councils, Camden and Westminster, people are asked to sign both.

Save Denmark Street Campaign” (Henry Scott-Irvine) “Don’t Bin Tin Pan Alley – Save Denmark Street & Save The 12 Bar Club”

Save the Spirit of Soho petition

5] Put Pressure on Consolidated Developments

tin

Consolidated Developments Ltd, owned by Laurence Kirschel, are the main instigators of redevelopment and demolition of Tin Pan Alley. Their company details are:

Company HQ:

26 Soho Square

London W1D 4NU

Telephone Number: 020 7437 4372

Fax Number: 020 7437 3800

They don’t have a website, email or any other form of contact

For more info and to dig dirt on the company, see background and links provided in Notes below.

6] Network It!

Twitter:#bohemians4soho (12 Bar occupiers)

Twitter:#tinpanalley (Save Denmark Street campaign)

Twitter:#SaveSoho (Save Soho campaign)

Upcoming Dates:

1] Tuesday 27th January – Live Music night at 12-Bar

2] Wednesday 28th January – Post-Court Meeting at 12-Bar (7pm)

3] Saturday 31st January – March for Homes ends up in Central London

4] 22nd March – Save the Spirit of London march, Westminster

Notes from Monday Night Meeting:

Significance of the 12 Bar & Denmark Street

The 12 Bar was originally an old forge and blacksmiths, and around the 1900’s Denmark Street gained the name Tin Pan Alley for the music that was created there. During the 1960’s/ 70’s, Regent Studios across the road recorded Black Sabbath’s first two albums, the Kinks and Jimmy Hendrix. The 12 Bar was opened in 1992, part of the “toilet circuit”, “ground zero”, the place new musicians got their first exposure, including Jeff Buckley, Jamie T, Adele, C60, the Libertines, King Blues, and many others.

Development Pressure in Soho

Soho, once reknowned for its independent spirit and culture, has seen a massacre of unique venues in the past few years due to Crossrail and property developers. These venues include: Intrepid Fox, The Astoria, Metros, Mean Fiddler, and now Madame JoJos is facing closure. Many businesses in the area have known about the development proposals for the last 5 years, but most were lied to about the extent of the changes (eg demolition). The businesses on Denmark Street are independent, specialists in musical instruments/ recording/ etc, employees are musicians who care about what they do; while the area won’t be demolished all at once, the introduction of corporate businesses will be the beginning of the end for the independents. Local residents are also starting to face evictions from their homes.

Countering Strategies:

  • Joiners Arms have just got their building listed as an “Asset of Community Value”, which means developers can’t knock it down.
  • Get celebrities against gentrification (eg Stephen Fry) involved
  • Make links with local shops, residents, musicians, who would come out in support
  • Campaigns need to work together, for the common purpose of saving the area; put egos aside
  • Put on interesting events, like music nights, recycled clothes fashion show, etc.
  • Resist the eviction

Consolidated Developments (the owners and developers):

Company Number: 02904116

Company Information: http://www.endole.co.uk/company/02904116/consolidated-developments-limited

Registered Company Address:

131 Edgware Road

London

W2 2AP

Consolidated own 23 properties, worth £205million. The Director of Consolidated Developments is Laurence Kirschel, who has 30 other Directorships

kirschel

Some Background on Kirschel:

“Are You Laurence Kirschel?” [Crazy Billionaire] “Prince of porn and property” [Independent, 1999] (about Laurence Kirschel’s sleazy ex-business partner, Paul Raymond)

Kirschel said about the Denmark Street development: “We are creating a successful new quarter that will enrich and integrate with the surrounding well-established neighbourhood, making it a vibrant community for people to work, meet and live, as well as a new, internationally recognised destination that London can be proud of. The development will invest in local shops and not only safeguard, but reinvigorate the area’s fantastic music and cultural scene.”

His Charity “The Kirschel Foundation”, which claims to be for the “promotion of internal spirituality and harmony which leads to positive thought and action” (may be a tax-evasion scheme)

Background Media

“Denmark Street and regeneration: slow death or triumphant rebirth?” [The Great Wen, Aug 2014]

“Is Denmark Street, London’s ‘Music Alley’, Under Threat?” [Mojo, June 2014]

“Demolition of Denmark Street – latest as the council close the road” [lounderthanwar, Nov 2014]

“Tin Pan Alley gets spruce up OK” [bdonline, Nov 2013]