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22 July 2009

Experience the last days of the Foundry

The Foundry, at 84-86 Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch, certainly polarises opinion. The bar and 'arts centre' was set up some time ago by Bill Drummond from the KLF and others and continues, for the moment at least, to provide a home to many of the dirty art school skanks who frequent the area, with the help of their monthly cheque from mummy and daddy's accountant.

It would only be the most stone-hearted East Londoner, however, who wouldn't feel the slightest pang of anxiety at the news that the Foundry site is subject to a planning application scoping report to kick off plans to bulldoze it and build an "Art'otel" on the site, complete with gallery space and photographic studios.

It's another step in the gentrification of Shoreditch which is probably enough to bring the (formerly) Young British Artists out in force to defend it.

Your author, for one, is loosely a fan of the Foundry but it's ages since he's actually been in, so perhaps now is the time. The frankly bizarre interior, 'exhibits' and clientelle are always interesting and there is plenty of room to lock your bike up outside. For more information, see the Time Out review at http://www.timeout.com/london/bars/reviews/13147.html

Click here to see the location on a map.

**Edit: Just for the record, your author has had someone on claiming to be from the Foundry and complaining that "bill drummond owning/setting up the foundry along with klf is a popular myth".

Not sure what to think, as the rumour is very widespread:
i) http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/billdrummond
ii) http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/8b4d89c7-cdc8-4c1f-8438-0e9d7774be4d
iii) http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22bill+drummond%22+%22the+foundry%22&hl=en&start=60&sa=N

The correspondent goes on to say: "Most people are aware of the history so we don't usually need to publicise it. If you are looking at doing an article about it that is concise I could direct you in a number of web research ways if you are focusing on the ownership/land development from the recent G20 protests being organised there to where the funding came from for Boris Johnstones election campaign as Mayor of London, or the Russan Mafia and aluminum wars of the 90's this would all be more appropriate."

A Art'otel you say? Sounds like a fantastic idea...

The Foundry Website is almost impossible to navigate, and doesn't actually seem to contain any information about the history of the foundry. If they are looking to correct the myth your author suggests they start there.

***********Further update July 2010********

Finally, some progress has been made and the Foundry has closed, though the inevitable squatters are holding the site for the moment. The Hackney Gazette has the full story, and it is worth reading even if only for a quote from the owner of the excellent City Best Kebab in Pitfield Street.

^Picture from Wikipedia^

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