Foundry closure protestors face forced eviction

Graffiti outside the occupied Foundry. Photo: Anna Haswell

A group of squatters who have been occupying former Shoreditch venue the Foundry in protest at its scheduled demolition have been ordered to leave the premises.

The unauthorised occupants, who have been using the Great Eastern Street building for around two weeks, since its final closure, have been issued with a court order that gives them two days to vacate the premises.

If they fail to comply, authorities have threatened a forced eviction.

Following legal action, a notice was posted on the door of the venue yesterday by Marston High Court Enforcement Officers and Certificated Bailiffs, informing occupants – addressed simply as ‘persons unknown’ – of the ultimatum:

“You are required to vacate within the next two days. Please note that if you fail to vacate, my officers, accompanied by the police and contractors, will attend to execute the writ and secure the land.”

The Foundry, which had been operating as a bar and art space, is due to be demolished in order to make way for an ‘Art’Otel’, a new concept hotel designed around a modern art theme.

But the protesters occupying the building said that the Art’Otel is designed to ‘capitalise on a sanitised imitation of what was, selling sub-culture tourism at a premium.’

In a statement posted on the side of the building, the squatters, who have been using the building to host art events and parties, described the rationale behind their action:

“This process of gentrification has forced out the disenfranchised inhabitants of the area. Our creative potential is being sacrificed to a political system that pursues profit through cultural demolition.”

“In defiance of the destructive forces of the market we assert our right to culture and community through the occupation of this building and the creation of a free and open space.”

A member of the squatting party who wished to remain unidentified told ELL yesterday that, following the court order, the action seemed certain to end, but spoke passionately about the Foundry’s past as a haven for the colourful ‘ne’er-do-wells’ of the East End’s art scene.

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