As the dust settled from last week’s bulldozing of half of Denmark Place, on Monday night culture-loving young activists Barnet Bohemians moved into the 12 Bar, one of the city’s oldest music venues. ‘It’s cultural and social cleansing,’ commented one of the anonymous group of the redevelopment of Tottenham Court Road. The Grade II-listed, seventeenth-century building was an integral part of Soho’s rich, creative history – welcoming the likes of Jeff Buckley, Martha Wainwright and The Libertines through its doors – and Barnet Bohemians aren’t ready to let it die.
‘We would like to save Tin Pan Alley and offer a solution to educate people by creating a cultural centre.’ The Barnet Bohos will be hosting a ‘squatting academy’ today to share their knowledge of occupying and building social centres. Then on Friday they’re filling the old venue with music once again, as they host an open mic session for anyone who fancies swinging by and supporting the cause.
The Zone 1 area has been under construction since work on Crossrail began in 2009, causing a domino effect of destruction to the buildings near Tottenham Court Road tube station, which itself is undergoing a heavy revamp. To make way for the shiny, spacious outlet straight onto Oxford Street, the old maze of tube exits have gone, along with Edouardo Paolozzi’s mosaic murals that decorated the escalator arches, which TfL have promised to preserve 95 percent of. For a better idea of the direction TCR and Tin Pan Alley is heading in, the developers have released a creepy, ‘Black Mirror’-esque promo vid, watch it here.
By Danielle Goldstein