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5 May 2009

Shunt Vaults

*********Edit - July 2010 - Shunt has now closed*********

Shunt is a bar, lounge, theatre company and artspace which lives in the vaults below London Bridge Station. If you've never been then you're really missing out as it's an unrivalled venue in Central London.

You never really know what to expect when attending, and whichever performers and artists are in residence, they always put on a good show in various different ways, but the place itself is really entertainment enough. Entrance is via a small doorway in London Bridge Tube Station.

There's an ulterior motive for writing about this one, as Shunt manages to maintain such an air of mystery and confusion that your author is never quite sure what is going on.

Gossip was rife before Christmas that the organisers were no longer able to have amplified music, and now your author hears frequent rumours that Shunt will close altogether in June, though characteristically they are not backed up by a formal announcement on the website, just an announcement that the organisers are "pleased to announce a further membership period of the Shunt Lounge starting during May [and are] still looking for new & exciting spaces". If you know anything more, or just feel like speculating, please do feel free to leave a comment or send an email.

Shunt is (probably still) open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It gets very busy nowadays, however, so it you are going on a Friday or Saturday aim to be there before 9pm. As it is a member's club you have to buy day membership on the door.

********Update February 2010 - following closure in the autumn, Shunt has reopened on Friday and Saturday nights. See http://www.shunt.co.uk/shuntvaults.htm********

Update - 9th June (scroll down for main article)

The kids at Shunt Lounge are clearly mind (or blog...?) readers. By way of clarification, this popped into your author's inbox this afternoon:

"Dear Shunter

Shunt Lounge Extension!

As you may know we are looking for a new home for the Shunt Lounge due to the re-development of London Bridge Railway Station and the surrounding area. The search continues for a new building for the Lounge and various exciting opportunities have come up which the company is currently investigating.

The latest news is that the Shunt Lounge will be open at the vaults in London Bridge until 12th September 2009. This means that we will be putting another 8 week membership period of the Shunt Lounge on sale in July for the period 22nd July - 12th September.

There is a possibility of the Shunt Lounge continuing here at the vaults in London Bridge beyond the 12th September, but this is dependent upon building work taking place next to us as part of the re-development of the station area. We will keep you informed of any further news regarding this.

In the mean time, we hope you can join us throughout the summer for further curations of the Shunt Lounge at the vaults in London Bridge."

Your author's attention has been drawn to articles here, here, here, and here, which all back up the closure rumours, and an intriguing twist in the possibility that Shunt is planning a move to a warehouse in Bermondsey on the London Se1 website, which includes a statement that:

"The company has plans to present a new show to the public but needs another building for this production so that the existing operation at the vaults (the Shunt Lounge) can continue unaffected".

So what does that mean? Various closure conspiracy theories seem to involve the Olympics, London Bridge Station redevelopments, a Superclub and a shopping centre, but all are unconfirmed at the time of going to press.

*********Further update*********
The latest Shunt Newsletter has just popped into your author's inbox, stating the following:

"Shunt are pleased to announce a new period of membership starting on the 20th May until 18th July. The Shunt Lounge will be closed for maintenance on Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th May but we are open as usual on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th May. We will open on 20th May with slightly less space than before. We will keep you informed via our website of these changes."

Clearly it will now remain open until July, but with 'slightly less space'. The plot thickens...

For more information visit the website at http://www.shunt.co.uk.

Click here to see the location on a map.

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