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Hands off Tudor Rose Campaign

Fri 17 Jan 2020
One of UK’s premier music, arts and educational venue is under threat of demolition due to a proposed development scheme in west London. A community wide inspired national campaign has been launched to save the iconic building.

Situated on The Green, Southall, Tudor Rose venue is included in a plan by the London Borough of Ealing and Peabody Enterprises Limited (Peabody) to build housing. Peabody is preparing to submit its planning application imminently and a decision is expected within months.

Campaigners believe that Tudor Rose venue represents a unique legacy for the town and its African-Caribbean community and there exists formidable case to support and save it.

  • Tudor Rose venue is the only building and business in Southall that is owned and managed by members of the African-Caribbean’s Windrush generation. Established in 1983, the owners of Tudor Rose, against all odds including suffering racial prejudice, have created one of the most dynamic and successful businesses and educational venues.
  • Tudor Rose venue has gained an iconic status in hosting and showcasing Black Music since its inception. Virtually all the main Reggae and Soul musicians from across the globe have played at the venue. It has created a unique identity within the music industry, one of the very few terrains where Black community members have excelled in the UK and it is acknowledged as one of key drivers for introducing global Black music within UK’s mainstream Arts industry.
  • Tudor Rose venue is the only venue in the locality that caters for the African-Caribbean community and encourages other communities, including communities that are viewed by the Government as hard to reach, to host event at the venue. These include educational programmes for young Black children, funerals and birthday celebrations involving Somali and Indian Christian communities.
  • Built in 1910 as the Southall Electric Theatre; it is Southall’s first cinema and venue for live performances. It was also the first to show Bollywood films in the UK and is regarded by the local community as a site of local heritage.

Campaigners also believe that both the local authority and Peabody have chronically fallen short in their duties to carry out proper public consultation and equality impact assessment on their plan to demolish the venue. This week marks the annual birthday celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, one the great civil rights leaders in the USA. The campaign will emulate the civil rights movements energy, passion and protests as well as its vision to save the only black owned successful venues in Ealing and perhaps even in London.

Ursula James owner of Tudor Rose venue will say: "I have spent four decades, almost a lifetime, establishing a Black owned business. The venue wasn’t established for the benefit of the Caribbean community alone, other communities such as the Somali and the Asian populations have also benefited from our enterprise."

"Despite facing huge obstacles, I managed to establish a black owned business that is valued by prominent musicians internationally. Artists such as Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Womack and Womack, Amy Winehouse and Shaggy have all performed at the venue and George Michael and Boy George have visited as guests. The venue is a proud and irreplaceable symbol of success by the African Caribbean community."

"Over time, despite our efforts and determination to succeed, we have never felt supported by the local authority. The current development poses the greatest threat to our existence. Once again, my pleas to Peabody and London Borough of Ealing to save the centre seem to have fallen on deaf ears. But we shall not be moved. We, along with our supporters from different communities, will resist. I will use all my experience, strength, passion and resilience gained over the lifetime to win the latest battle".

Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing Southall, will say: "The Tudor Rose is an asset of great community value in Southall, West London and nationally. It represents a piece of our cultural history and vibrant legacy, having had many forms since it was first opened. I welcome, support and join the campaign to ensure its role in our community in Ealing Southall is enhanced not diminished and retained for our future generations and not demolished, closed and redeveloped for private -profit".

Canon Mark Poulson of St John's Church Southall Green and Convenor of Southall Faiths Forum will say: "It is inconceivable that the Tudor Rose, the premiere African-Caribbean owned cultural events venue in West London, could be considered for demolition."

The building, which is used widely today by the Christian community of Southall for receptions at weddings and funerals, is a landmark destination for Southall. We have precious few social assets left in the area and this is the vibrant heart of the African Caribbean community. The Tudor Rose is utterly unique, seeps history from every pore and is at the centre of our shared cultural heritage in Southall- unthinking demolition will send a very negative message for community relations"

Janpal Basran, local resident, Manager of Southall Community Alliance representing over 100 local groups and businesses said, "It is completely unacceptable that a community building, like the Tudor Rose, which exemplifies our community strength and diversity and has such enormous resonance within the African Caribbean community and the wider communities in Southall, should be earmarked for demolition."

"We clearly need more such community spaces in Southall and not less. Southall Community Alliance stands in complete solidarity with all friends of Tudor Rose, as we oppose this assault on one of our most precious remaining community assets".

Mor Dioum, Co-Founder and Director of The Victoria Climbié Foundation UK based on The Green in Southall will say: "The Tudor Rose is a monumental building that have culturally, economically, socially and politically contributed to this community, in particular the African Caribbean community through its services. It has been the successful face of black businesses over the years and is now the only surviving black business servicing the borough."

The proposed demolition of the Tudor Rose has heightened the isolation of the African Caribbean community that has political representation and feels excluded from the decision making process in the Borough. Given its contribution in challenging Gun crimes in the 1980’s, its demise will mean a critical loss to the current challenges of knife crimes and youth criminalisation".

Dorothea Jones, user of Tudor Rose and Music lover will say: "As a user of the Tudor Rose and a campaigner I realise the significance and importance of the venue and all it offers to the community both past and present."

"I first visited the venue in 1988 as a teenage girl. Clubs in the 80s in London did not adequately cater for lovers of reggae, soca and soul music and the Tudor Rose was a bastion of Black music and artists. It is to my knowledge the last Black owned music venue from this period. It holds an important place within the Black community and is pioneering. It must be preserved."

"Peabody and the London borough of Ealing must not wipe out the erasure of the African Caribbean community’s contribution to Southall with the proposed demolition of the Tudor Rose. We as a diverse community must lend our support to this campaign and ensure the unthinkable does not happen".

Oliver New, local resident and Secretary of Ealing Trades Union Council will say: "With Crossrail on the horizon, major property developers have been tumbling over themselves to make big bucks from Southall. With little or no community input it’s being turned into an unrecognisable tower block city, the bulk of the planned new apartments being unsuitable as well as unaffordable for most of the local population."

"You might think that at least the planners should avoid demolishing lovely iconic buildings such as Tudor Rose - a much loved landmark with a history all its own. Instead it’s inexplicably and arbitrarily been chosen for the bulldozers."

"Efforts to find an explanation come up with nothing. It just seems that planners fancied choosing that spot to have an access road with shops to the latest development. Other routes could have been chosen, but the unaccountable planners either deliberately chose to target this building, or had no interest in it."

"The nearby Gas Works mega-development is already hugely controversial for many reasons, including the pollution which has given rise to an angry ‘Clean Air’ campaign as hundreds of tons of soil polluted with carcinogens are ‘cleaned’ next to local houses and schools."

So the Council plan to knock down Tudor Rose – just because it can - is creating even more resentment in Southall. You can’t help thinking they have completely lost the plot".

Suresh Grover, local resident, Trustee of Tudor Rose Mentoring Academy & Director of The Monitoring Group, anti-racist civil rights organisation will say: “Tudor Rose is not only part of our valiant history but an inimitable beacon for the future, it is impossible to visualise an inclusive vision for our town without its presence and for what its represents."

"We will launch one of most fearless and imaginative campaigns, using all the weapons at our disposal – including legal, cultural, peaceful disobedience & protest as well as public support – to save this unique social and cultural venue established by Southall’s Windrush generation".”

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