The current chairman of the City of London council’s police committee is James Thomson and there are questions still to be answered about his vote – and that of Christopher Hayward also (then) on the police committee – in favour of granting planning permission for Taylor Wimpey’s The Denizen on the site of Bernard Morgan House, a City of London Police property sold to developers at what many see as an inflated price. Aside from the potential conflict of interest over attempting to fix a blown police budget, Thomson and Hayward – and another councillor Sir Michael Bear (now retired) – also have yet to explain why they felt able to vote in favour of planning permission for The Denizen despite roles at firms who worked with Taylor Wimpey.Read more "James Thomson, The City of London Police And The Rogers Report"
The pretence that the Culture Mile is a collaborative project between the City of London council and what it presents as ‘independent’ organisations is patently absurd. As the Rogers Report shows, the organisations the Corporation claims to be collaborating with are actually extensions of the council and controlled by the council. The Culture Mile, as we’ve previously pointed out is a cynical exercise in marginalisation and social exclusion. We have also made it clear that the Centre for Music is unwanted and the project should be scrapped. Rogers calls the Centre for Music ‘speculative’ but plenty of money has already been wasted on it and an architectural practice has been engaged to draw up building plans. However, we don’t just want to see plans for a Centre for Music scrapped, the entire Culture Mile project should be knocked on the head since it runs counter to the interests of many residents both in the City of London itself and in the neighbouring Islington wards such as Bunhill.Read more "Barbican Centre, Culture Mile And The Rogers Report"
Emma Kane is currently chair of Barbican Centre Trust and a member of the Barbican Centre Board. Needless to say, she is not the only member of the Barbican Arts Centre Board to have done or said things that undermine the diversity and inclusion policies that such organisations ought to – but all too often don’t – follow. As this blog reported back in 2018 the ‘chairman of the Barbican in London (Giles Shilson) has apologised after comparing the Welsh language to being dyslexic.’ Many were appalled both by Shilson’s racism and his ableism but it seems to have no impact on his standing at the Barbican; he is currently deputy chair of the Barbican Centre Board to Tom Sleigh’s chair – but such positions are swapped around among the elite as a matter of course in the City of London.Read more "Barbican Arts Centre Grandee & PR Guru Emma Kane ‘Excited’ To Be Associated With Slave Traders & Paedophiles"
The statues, institutional names and other memorials that have been under a media spotlight in recent weeks are the art and charity washing effluent of former times. It is right and proper that they should be removed from public spaces and put in storage. It is also worth noting that many of the slave trader memorials featured in recent news stories are for men who were in their time top City of London council officials including William Beckford and Robert Geffrye who were lord mayors, and John Cass who was a sheriff. One of the City’s current artwashing projects is the so-called Culture Mile. This consists both of grandiose projects such as a ridiculously expensive Centre For Music, and lesser ‘pop up’ programmes including last month’s Radio Local, which functioned to compromise those who involved themselves in it by drawing them into the City’s artwashing orbit and mixing together self-organised community initiatives such as a local food bank with the obnoxious animal cruelty operation Club Gascon (which masquerades as a restaurant and specialises in foie gras torture dishes).Read more "Culture Mile Is Now Artwashing Animal Cruelty Alongside Colonial & Neo-Colonial Crimes"
After the decimation of the culture industry and many other economic sectors caused by the Covid 19 lockdown, it would be obscene if the City of London went ahead with its over-priced vanity project for a new classical music venue on the site currently occupied by the Museum of London. We’re at the start of a huge recession and London already has all the classical concert halls it needs. The proposed £288 million spend could be much better used mitigating the economic toll the current pandemic will have on the lives of those living in the City of London and other London boroughs. The City council needs to cancel its plans for the unwanted Centre for Music now!Read more "We’re In Lockdown, Time To Cancel The Centre For Music Vanity Project"
A City resident obtained, through a freedom of information request, the following information about Michael Snyder, a supporter of the proposed expansion of the City of London School for Girls. I thought you might want to have it by way of background. He became a City councillor in 1986. He has been a member of the Policy and Resources Committee for 22 years. He joined it in 1997, and was Chair from 2005 -2007 and Deputy Chair in 2008. He has been on the Board of Governors of the CLSG for 29 years, from 1989 to 2013 and from 2014 to the present. He was Chair from 2014 -2016 and Deputy Chair in 1990. I have checked with the Town Clerk’s department on whether there is maximum period for which a member can sit on either of these bodies. The answer is no. In fact, there is no maximum length of service on any City committee or board except the Audit and Risk Management Committee and the Standards Committee, which have a regulatory function, and the Barbican Centre Board and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, which are “high status” appointments that many members covet.Read more "City of London Residents Battle Their Council To Save The Barbican"
Over the past few weeks the Talk Culture Mile series of events in the City has demonstrated the exclusionary nature of this project, with the aim being to bring ‘together organisations from across all sectors’ while not inviting the main stakeholders, local residents. So while the Improving Social Mobility Through Creative Skills talk was held at Golden Lane Community Centre on 4 July 2019, no one involved troubled themselves to notify tenants on the council estate that houses the venue of this event, since it seems the idea is to leave the organisation of social mobility to professionals – who we assume are mostly interested in preserving their own privileges by holding back the working class. The fact this talk was intended for people unfamiliar with the area rather than local residents was underlined by the leaflet promoting it carrying the following information after the venue’s address: “The community centre is opposite Great Arthur House, EC1Y 0RD”. Local people know where the community centre is.Read more "City of London Attempts To Flatten All Opposition To Culture Mile Gentrification and Social Exclusion"
A few weeks after the mid-January release of plans for Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s dog’s dinner of a Centre For Music building on the site of the current Museum of London, comes news of an ambitious project to build a new classical music venue in Wimbledon (part of the Borough of Merton) in south-west London. Since there is already a concert hall in The Barbican Arts Centre, and another a few minutes away in the form of LSO St Luke’s on Old Street, it is clearly pointless building yet another classical music hangout within easy walking distance of these two existing auditoriums. What many local people want is more social housing, so why not use the Museum of London site to deliver the council flats the City of London has promised but so far failed to build?Read more "Stuff The City of London’s Centre For Music! If We Need A New Classical Concert Hall Build It In Merton!"
As we’ve previously noted those pre-selling investors ghost homes in Taylor Wimpey’s planned development The Denizen AKA The Turd have hyped up the location with lies while saying nothing about the fact it will overlook the site of the old City of London mortuary in Golden Lane. What goes around comes around and so The Denizen at the south end of Golden Lane has been promoted as a place to park dead money; sadly these ghost homes will mostly be left empty rather than entombing the dead lives of those who invest in them.Read more "The Denizen – A New Palace For The Dead!"
Before I sat down to write this piece, I came across a photograph on social media posted yesterday and captioned: “Back of Liverpool Street Station – the sterile hell of a corporate winter wonderland.” The area shown in this smartphone snap is in the City of London and what was said about it really chimed with my feelings over not just the Culture Mile but also most City Public Realm projects in recent years. The council’s Department of the Built Environment is clearly in need of reform just as much as the political body that controls it. We really do need to take back the city.Read more "Culture Mile: A Cynical Exercise in Marginalisation & Social Exclusion"