News & Information

VOICES FROM HOXTON HALL...A COLLECTION OF MEMORIES.

14.1 02/07/14. posted by Karmel Edmonds

Another entry in our series of memories from Hoxton Hall, as we try to create a snapshot of all the varied kind of people that we attract as a venue, a community space and the umpteen guises that our Hall has taken over the years. 

People and memories are central to our ethos and our moving forward. Here is a snippet from an ex employee

 

Siva Sagel - previous employee 

To me Hoxton Hall means DIVERSITY        

 

The things that bought me to Hoxton Hall were work and a passion to get a unique venue known to as vast an audience as possible, this included the variety of Hirers to visitors.

 

The thing that I will always remeber about the Hall is a sense of a living building, from one day to another you never knew what would happen when you walked through the doors, the building felt like sometimes it was breathing or sighing.

 

Watching  the Young people  going from workshops to becoming part of our staffing pool, offering us advice on projects, technology, listening in on the office gossip and joining in on the fun. And Finally everyone I have worked with from Staff to companies working with diverse skills, diverse events & mad people...mainly mad people

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Restoration and refurbishment : Strength and structure

11.1 20/06/14. posted by Karmel Edmonds

 

As an ageing body creaks and moans so too do the bones, ligaments and sinewy structures which hold together age old architecture. Lengthy consultancies and inspections have led us to undertake major, much needed works on the main hall - the heart and life source of the building and the charity.

Our proud hall is unrecognisable at the moment. This week has seen skilled scaffolding staff and our contractors erecting a large square nest of scaffolding in the centre of the music hall. The scaffolding will provide much needed access to each and every corner of the space so that attention can be paid to each corner of the hall.

 

The process of erecting the scaffolding was something quite wondrous which we have captured in this short time-lapse film which we present here for your viewing pleasure. (Please click picture below)

 

 

The floor below has been strengthened and the roof above has been stripped...Nipped and tucked and sanded down. Two and a half months have flown by, Hoxton Hall the music hall - centre for entertainment and public meeting is currently re purposed, the mornings are louder and the evenings considerably quieter, daytimes filled with the sound of cutting and sizing and building. Potential energy is being stored and our beast lays low resting and recuperating, ready for another 150years of it! 

 

 

 

 

 

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VOICES FROM HOXTON HALL...A COLLECTION OF MEMORIES.

14.1 27/05/14. posted by Karmel Edmonds

ANTHONY BURTON. Hoxton Hall board memeber 2003 - present day.

What does Hoxton Hall mean to you?

For me, Hoxton Hall offered an opportunity to help with a project to restore and re-energise a historic institution – which pleased me, since my professional life (as a museum curator) had been concerned with making history come to life in the present.  I certainly don’t think of HH as a museum.  And, if I feel that I helped it to find new life, I don’t want to suggest that it was dead.  The great thing about HH is that for 150 years it has constantly adapted to survive, and (apart from a year or two very early in its history) has never closed down and sunk into silence and darkness.  Always, there has been something going on.

However, when I got involved, it had just emerged from a severe financial crisis in 2003.  We had to pull ourselves together and regroup.  I thought that, with my museum background, I might try to raise the profile of HH’s history, so I dug into the archives, and produced, first, an exhibition, which had numerous outings on ‘Open House’ days and other such occasions, and, second, an article in Hackney History (vol.16, 2010).  I realised that we must, in rescuing ourselves, concentrate on the present and the future.  But I thought that a wider awareness that HH had had an active and enterprising past might impart something to our momentum in the present.  I think that my cunning plan perhaps worked, because the new booklet on HH by Patricia Lawrence (2013), while making use of my work on the history, presents HH as a vibrant influence in the present in a way which I could not have done so well.

What brought you to Hoxton Hall?

A friend on the Board, James Grant, roped me in.  James was a Quaker, a Hackney resident, and an actor, and was thus amply qualified to be on the Board.  I am afraid I did not have such qualifications.  I had never had much involvement with the theatre, and my religious affiliations were not with the Quakers.  I was not a Hackney resident – though, living only 20 minutes’ walk away across the canal in Islington, I think I turned out to be the nearest Board member in terms of residence.  (Soon HH started to work in Islington at the Rosebowl, which made me feel more relevant in local government terms.)  I had some experience of cultural work in the East End.  My working life was mostly spent at the Victoria and Albert Museum, but included sixteen years running the V&A’s branch, the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood.  My route to work often took me through Hoxton Market, and I became aware of HH – but only, I realised later, after the new facade gave it a presence in the street in 1983:  I remember thinking, ‘I don’t recall seeing this before’ and wondering….  I also had experience of sitting on the Trustee Board of an independent museum, the Charles Dickens Museum. 

 

What will you always remember about Hoxton Hall? 

As I was very much concerned with HH’s premises (as chair of the Buildings Sub-committee during the implementation of Phase 1 of the Masterplan), it would seem likely that the building would be what HH primarily means to me.  To an extent that is so.  But what I really valued was serving on a Board which was constructive and co-operative.When I started at HH, the place was more or less jointly run by two people.  Rachel Dring ran the Youth Arts programme, and Mark Hone was the general administrator.  Mark set in place a good programme for maintaining and improving the building.  He obviously hoped to be able to develop some interesting theatrical programming to continue what had happened at HH before the financial crisis...Hayley White moved over from the post she occupied in charge of the administration of Hoxton Works.  She grew into the position of Director of HH, showing herself to be quick and flexible, and emotionally capable of coping with anything the job threw at her. So what I remember about HH is that it was an exciting and welcoming place to work.  I always used to feel, on coming away from meetings or events, that I myself had been re-energised.

 

 

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Restoration and Refurbishment : Floorboards

15.1 16/05/14. posted by Karmel Edmonds

This week things have really started moving in the refurbishment of Hoxton Hall. Fairhurst Ward Abbot have their focus firmly on the first floor balcony of the main theatre.

FWA move swiftly with due care and attention as they completely change the face of our Theatre, ripping out theatre seats and lifting up floorboards, cleaning through decades of debris and rubbish, digging up the occasional relic and heritage worthy item (for recent finds see our facebook and instagram) , as well as kilo's upon kilo's of monkey nut shells!

Some snaps - the transformation of the hall.

The first floor balcony at Hoxton Hall, April 2014 a month before renovation works begin. Seats intact and floorboards firmly rooted!

 

And Just one month later, floorboards scattered and bags of debris and rubbish lining the floor. There is a kind of romantic charm to this scene don't you agree?

 

This diagram outlines plans for the Theatre and the balconies including re strengthening and increased capacity.

The theatre is transformed and the air is filled with a sense of opportunity and renewed hope. The main focus of the work on the balconies is the structural strengthening of the balustrades, the opening up the balconies, creating space for increased seating capacity which will translate to larger audience numbers and increased participation, the repercussions of this on both Hoxton Hall and the local area are many fold - to be divulged and discussed in further blog editions.

The hopes and dreams of Hoxton Hall are that all the work to this area of the theatre will result in an influx of visitors, a rejuvenation in the programming at Hoxton Hall increased interaction in our high street, with our local community and various audiences at large .

 

 

Hoxton Hall will be the home of original, exciting and engaging material, a beacon in the community and a home to people from all walks of life.... watch this space.

Please stay in touch with us and receive daily updates by joining us on

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or by signing up to our newsletter on the home page. If you are interested in being involved with any of the work we do here please do just drop us a line or give us a call.

 

Thanks! 

 

 

 

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Digitising the Archive : Hackney Archives, a partnership

13.1 14/05/14. posted by Karmel Edmonds

"Digitising the Archives" is a partnership project with Hackney Council,more pointedly with Hackney Archives. We are lucky enough to have the support and resources of this amazing facility based in the new Hackney Library building in Dalston Junction at our disposal .

The archives are an inspiring and interesting environment and space to visit, they are home to artefacts including; Newspapers,maps,council documents as well as photographs,paintings and audio visual collections dating back to the 1700s. A veritable goldmine for those interested in local history.

Being awarded the money from the Heritage Lottery fund has enabled us to finally be able to take some real care over our archives,in beginnin ofg the process of catalouging and sifting through various documents and paraphanalia, it quickly became apparent that we would need to partner with an archive provision in order to be able to store our collection in the right and proper manner - Hackney Archives was and obvious choice, with excellent storage and digitising facilities.

 

This week, our dedicated team of volunteers have been shown around the archives, the temperature controlled storage rooms, the viewing spaces the various collections. The team were shown the various digitising and scanning technologies on hand that they may well use during the digitising process. 

At Hoxton Hall, we believe that the process of preserving material remnants of our history is of the utmost of importance in a continous learning and reflection process, both on a small scale for the theatre as well as on a larger socio anthropological scale - looking at East London, its place within London and the nation to date.

Recording and preserving records of past event and happenings in and around the hall, even those which may seem trite and inconsequential at first, all add up and contribute to a deeper understanding of our heritage, our identity our place within our street, our borough our city and our country. It has been a huge learning curve for Hoxton Hall as our past is slowly revealed.

We will soon be starting the digitisation process, this will result in our collection being stored in an orderly and easily accessible manner,enabling access for the various individuals and groups who may find it useful.

If you are interested in looking into our the history and Heritage of London we would encourage you to get in to contact with Hckney archives. 

 

Visit the website here : Hackney Archives

 

If you are interested in our history and our archives, please do not hesistate to get in touch with Lorna our Heritage manager on 02076840060.

 

If you would like to help Hoxton Hall in reaching it's full potential then please help us raise the funds to do so. you can donate a little, or a lot here : Spacehive

 

 

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Voices from Hoxton Hall...A collection of memories.

12.1 08/05/14. posted by Karmel Edmonds

BIRGIT REICHARDT

First found Hoxton Hall 1988/1989

'...I indeed loved the theatre, the historical atmosphere, which on wouldn't expect to find in an area like this - especially a stranger like I was 25 year ago, when I first came there. Friendly people like Alison Bowry andBruce Bayley welcomed me, so it for me it was the place to go, a good location to learn living and life in London....

 

I was member of Youth Drama, speaking hardly any english, or better, I dared not to speak so much. Never mind, the improvisation theatre we did. Was funny though....

 

I Was an Au Pair from Germany, came to London in 1988 oder 89. And found Hoxton Hall and the programme in a brochure. Spend a lot of my time at there then, in the coffee shop, Youth Drama Group and the interesting people I met, including Ian Wright, Kate Rigden, Chalice Wonder Shine....'

 

 

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