The Vortex Jazz Bar in Stoke Newington's Chuch Street, famous for its vibrant music scene and a venue popular in the local community, was occupied by local activists on the 6th January. In its new incarnation as a social centre, the building has once again been filled with the voices of the community. Already happening are busy café nights, cinema and jazz nights, exhibition space, a parent/baby group and regular benefits.
The development plan for the old Vortex, by notorious landlord Richard Midda, is to make way for a Starbucks with luxury apartments above. This planned development highlights once more the continued erosion of the 'the Street' as community space soon to be identifiable only from one corporate logo to the next. A court proceeding against the occupation took place on the 24th Jan to take repossession of the building, with an unlawful eviction attempt by Midda and private baliffs on the 26th Jan. This was repelled [Photos and Video] by activists with the help of local people. The occupation of the Vortex continues, but the threat of eviction is still imminent.
Currently Exhibiting at the occupied social centre:
- London Social Centres in Picures: A photography exhibition of the last five years of social centres in London.
- Protest: A collection of photographs from photographer Guy Smallman covering major demonstrations across Europe over the recent years.
Planned events at the Vortex OSC for the week starting Monday 29th January are a cinema night on Friday 2nd Feburary, and a No Borders benefit on Saturday the 3rd.
If you want to get in touch with the social centre please email occupiedsocialcentre[at]hushmail.com or call 07960641707. Alternatively get down there in person at any time. The Social Centre open meetings take place on Wednesdays from 7.30pm.
Vortex Occupied Social Centre
Vortex Social Centre
139-141 Stoke Newington Church Street