Two news items highlight the danger of losing valuable, irreplaceable parts of our cultural heritage – and both curiously linked by the name of ‘100 Club’
According to the Sunday Times, the 100 Club inLondon’sOxford Streethas failed to get listed consent, while earlier this month Duncans Pie and Mash shop shut its doors onGreen Street,UptonPark – an early victim of the Olympic stadium development.
Imagine you are a young tourist coming toLondon, and, like many of your generation, a great admirer and follower of British popular music. Where can you go to check out an authentic experience and encounter?
The 100 Club inLondon’sWest Endhas not just been there got the T-shirt, but was the place where the ‘where’ happened. Jazz, early R&B, 60’s rock and progressive, punk, you name it and it has the encore.
And it stands probably as the last remaining real testimony of this cultural sector.
Its future however has been under threat from landlords wanting to get in a higher paying tenant with presumably a pizza chain moving in, with campaigners desperately fighting to protect its future.
One response was to get a form of listing as an historical site. A move, now sadly rejected by the Government.
On the other side of townGreen Street,UptonPark will apparently welcoming a new Ladbrokes betting shop. Obviously, this is a crucial and welcome addition to the area’s culture and history.
It replaces Duncans Pie & Mash shop which closed its doors for trade last week.
For those not familiar with pie mash culture, it is a crucial part to defining what is ‘cockney’, as well as being an emblem ofLondon, and particularlyEast Endheritage and history.
OK, it may be not be the Crown Jewels orBuckinghamPalace, but for ordinary working class people, their favourite grub was not just dished up as food, but also served as a cultural icon for their identity, who they are, and what they are about.
There are now just about a hundred pie mash shops across theUK(well mainly in Londonand the South East). About 20 have closed in the last 10 years. If the trend continues….
The lesson for both ‘100 Clubs’ is the need for pro-active and determined support to make sure we have the reality we want.
It’s about each and every person who cares to do something, at the very least buy the product. It’s also about Government – both national and local, to have pro-active strategies in place to manage and protect.
Otherwise these crown jewels and palaces of popular culture will be lost for ever.
What sort of world do you want? One with real, authentic experiences, recognizing its cultural roots and heritage: or a world of betting shops and pizza chains?
I know which one I want. And I am now looking at what positive, constructive steps I can take to ensure I create the world that I want.