Whilst over at the wonderful Euroart Open Studios on Friday night, I wandered over to Fountayne Road. Demographically, it's similar to Harringay's Warehouse District in that the buildings have been given over to an artistic crowd to use as live work spaces. I really rather liked it. Light was fading fast but I got a few snaps.
Nice set. I whizzed round Euroarts on Saturday, hadnt been inside before and was amazed at how much there is of it. As they say, it's Bigger On The Inside.
The only risk with all this is that we might end up like Dalston, which would not at all be a good thing.
Pam, your last sentence is one of the most intriguing comments on this topic. I'd be interested to know more about how you see the parallel.
A key point about Euroart is that Lorraine and Nigel have established a successful business. They also want the artists in the building to be successful and they've lots of ideas about making this happen.
For several years I've raised doubts about an opposing approach: the Council-led fantasy of a "Cultural Quarter" around Tottenham Green. This walking-dead idea got a substantial fresh injection of public cash after the riot.
But "culture" is organic and obeys neither lines on maps, nor the limiting definitions of bureaucrats. Even if the council regeneration experts don't seem to get this, some developers do. From talking to and reading people in the "creative industries" it seems that recent history shows a pattern. They are first welcomed into changing areas and then squeezed out by their own success. Higher rents prompt a move elsewhere - further out from London's wealthy core.
But there's another change.
Did you see Suzanne Moore's recent article? "In the digital economy, we'll soon all be working for free – and I refuse". She writes about: "a fantasy world of start-ups and blogs and YouTube TV where a very few people manage to make money but most work simply for 'experience'."
Her article quotes Jaron Lanier who: "sees musicians and artists and journalists as canaries in the mineshaft of this new economy."
Locally, I'd see them more as trailblazers, bringing fresh life to run-down areas; and finding new uses for underused or disused old buildings. But whether expendable canaries or adventurous trailblazers, in the medium and longer term we need to ask the classic question: Who Benefits?/Cui Bono? In Deep Throat's modern version this becomes: "Follow the money".
The benefit should be for the whole community. But if people are being used in some places as expendable canaries then who are the mine owners? My suspicion is that in many cases, it will be the freehold owners, scooping windfall profits from their properties.
(Tottenham Hale ward councillor)
I work at the Choc Factory, which is referred to a a 'cultural quarter.' Never fully understood if it's council led or not but I think council plays a part anyway. I have a studio in the Choc Factory with Collage Arts, which is a charity. in 2002-3 I had a studio with Euroarart when it was at White Heart Lane. In the same way as a council cant make an artist successful, a landlord cant either. I find that the more 'hands-off' approach of CA works better for me. Euroart is or was very hands on and I found that they just didn't have the right kind of knowledge that would help me even had I wanted that level of support. I didn't want it though, so I departed. As individuals I got on well with them but our areas of interest and, therefore, knowledge was categorically different. I'm not sure if our rents at CA are reduced because the landlord has charitable status or not, but I do know that the rents are very reasonable for which I am eternally grateful. That alone has made a major contribution to the success of my career in the last three years. It is by far the most important thing. The rest HAS to be done by me. No amount of hands-on or off can make a difference there - it is the rent that is decisive and the only significant contribution a landlord can make.
I think its going the way of Dalston as Shorditch did before..I can tell from the massive rent increases that we in the warehouses have incurred how ever there is an open studios event for the Fountayne Rd on the 22nd all are welcome to come and see what is behind the photos on this post :)
I hope, Gemma, that you are not "canaries" for the freeholders to ratchet-up rents, and eventually redevelop former warehouses into blocks of flats.
Years ago I visited Liverpool and met University academics who showed me the (then) newly redeveloped Albert Dock. They told me that large retail chains were happy to let small businesses take the early risks.
I don't know what we are really. I just know that the rents are a bit ridiculous (going up 30% + on contract renewal) and more and more development of the surrounding warehouses have sprung up, but I don't think Investment is their plan as they get enough money from doing almost nothing.
Interesting that there is an absense of mentioning the councils 'inspections' of Imperial Works properties and most of Fountayne Road. There seems to be a huge issue with the landlords not changing the properties use when they went from factories/sweat-shops to live-work. And now we could pay the price for that. I know of one eviction notice already on Markfield road.
I do think Alan has a point of us being the canaries in this prior to the gentrification and progress which is sure to come. I have seen the development plans of the council which would see major changes for our wonderful area. Be it 'progress' or not. Councils do tend to play the long game & I fear this is just an element of the end-game.
there has always been a plan to make a railway through fountayne rd and so the landlord changed and filled the empty 7 building, to a low standard to get more money for it once the plans go in to action.. As I understand it the mark field was a sublet build by the guys who had the fire in the high cross ones so that's probably why they are out, and yes inspections are imminent but it is land lords responsibility to rehouse. I pay residential bills council tax etc so the council should know already what type of building we are I think its the planning division that hasn't been informed but it took a year for them to bill me so I think it will be some time till they go in to action and probably can't afford to take the landlords to court anyway
us being here has already attracted some gentrification I know band that have been told to stop practice on a Saturday afternoon cos they were making too much noise! but they moved here to be able to make noise its like telling an artist to stop painting cos it smells.. the people who shouldn't be here already are and i fear slowly growing :(
I'm glad Manuela took the point! This is another area that has so much more to it than meets the eye and seeing is believing
Really enjoyed seeing this - it's inspired me to actually register and post.
Good to see all the work and energy that has gone into this paying off.
I live just round the corner and have a feeling that this part of the world will be coming to life very soon - not least once gyratory carnage is finally removed from Broad Lane. And I wouldn't mind a bit of Dalston-lite activity to be honest!
Glad it's inspired you to post. It's great to hear from you. I think you may be right that the area is at the jumping off point. In all the regeneration, let's hope they don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.