Cafe in Hackney re-occupied

Mark mark at
Thu Dec 29 23:38:27 GMT 2005

29.12.2005 18:15

[NB I tried the mobile numbers contained in this email and couldn't get anyone - TonyG]

Tony's cafe in Hackney's Broadway Market which has become the site of a community struggle against gentrification has been reclaimed (and
rebuilt!) after squatters were evicted last week.
URGENT ACTION: people are needed to come down and help out: we need people to help occupy the place, tables, bedding, food and gas heaters.

More details:

To prevent re-eviction we need people to keep the place full at all times.
If you can come down during the day or night for a few hours, let us know.
If you are not working this week we particularly need people to stay
overnight or come along in the early morning. Drop by the cafe or contact us on 07939 333 465 or 07949 239 415 and let us know what you can do.

If you have any of the following to lend or give away we would be
delighted to come and pick them up for the cafe:
Bedding – sleeping bags, blankets, duvets, mattresses, sleeping mats,
futons etc.
Tables – dining tables or cafe type tables.
Food - whatever you can spare would be great!

Bring them to the cafe, or we can come and collect. Contact: 07939 333 465 or 07940 814 170 or drop by the cafe.

We need entertainment! TVs, chocolates, videos, music (and musical
instruments) – all very welcome. We will be resuming film screenings and kids movies in the afternoon soon so watch this space!

On December 21st the occupation in defence of Tony's Cafe at 34 Broadway Market was evicted. Developer Dr Wratten's henchmen smashed half the place down. On Boxing Day morning, a new group of supporters of the campaign managed to enter and re-occupy the cafe.

We have now undertaken an ambitious reconstruction scheme and are
rebuilding the cafe almost as fast the wreckers smashed it down. (We plan not one but two floors – but no exclusive penthouse apartments or
concierge on this development!).

We still have lots of work to do, so if you have building skills or just would like to help out, we'd be glad to see you. We urgently need more bedding, food, heat, and other provisions. Anything you got for christmas and don't want would be gratefully received. Please come down if you would like to help out keeping the place occupied.

As promised, we are going to go on fighting for Tony to get his cafe back and to defend Spirit's shop. The fact that new people were willing to come forward and carry on this community occupation shows how strongly many in this area feel about the sell off of Tony's and Spirit's places.

For more information on why we occupied the cafe and what we are trying to achieve, please see the News updates section of our website.

Please sign up to our mailing list and pass this news on to everyone you know – we need your help to keep this thing going! Thanks to everyone for their support so far.

Mailing list:  resist_gentrification at

Tony, the leaseholder of Francesca's Cafe at no.34, was evicted from his premises in the Summer, and the building was sold to Market House Ltd., a property development company owned by Dr. Roger Wratten, who has also acquired other properties in the Market which he intends to turn into flats. Dr. Wratten was able to snap up the properties at bargain prices, despite the fact that leaseholders of several properties, including Francesca's, had been trying to buy the freeholds for years.

The sell-off resulted after sustained financial irregularities by Hackney Council, and the Estate Agents appointed to handle the sale are believed to have sold of £225m worth of properties for a mere £70m, thus increasing the burden on council-tax payers in the Borough who will be forced to pick up the debts created through the council's ineptitude. The people of Hackney have already suffered closure of amenities, privatisation of services and demolition of schools. Property values in the Borough are expected to rocket as developers clamour for sites to accommodate the Olympics in 2012.

The cafe was reoccupied by members of the community in time to prevent its demolition on Monday 5th December. The occupiers have received support from local people and welcome visitors.

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