Not a lot of people know this… (channelling Michael Cain)

The Old Town Hall has been occupied for over a year now. It isn’t standing there all mothballed and consuming unnecessary heat to prevent deterioration. There are actually people in there, lots of people. I saw a comment on a forum that stated the building was empty so I thought I’d clear this up.

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The Old Town Hall Credit: Lewisham Homes

Back in December 2014, Housing organisation Lewisham Homes, left their Holbeach offices and moved into the Town Hall. By January all their staff had moved from offices in Deptford, Sydenham and Honor Oak to coexist in the one place. They promptly threw up their branding all over the front of the building.

Of course the old Holbeach office was squatted not long after they moved out and I witnessed one of a few evictions one morning, but that’s another story.

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Squatters evicted from the Old Job Centre offices

Anyway, Lewisham Homes aren’t the only company in the Old Town Hall, there are a few others and soon Catford will be getting art studios as Bow Arts set up on the fourth floor.

According to an article in The Art Newspaper the educational arts charity Bow Arts has won the tender to create workspaces, for between 35 and 60 emerging artists. Designed by the Hackney-based practice, Studio Tilt, the project is being funded by Lewisham Council and the Greater London Authority’s High Street Fund.

Bow Arts is also partnering with the London Small Business Centre to develop the fifth floor of the town hall into a space to support creative start-ups.

“Catford is one of those places to watch in London,” says Marcel Baettig, the chief executive of Bow Arts. “It is growing in reputation and confidence really fast and is becoming an exciting place to be in the arts.”

And no Catford doesn’t want to be the next Peckham, we just want to be Catford or the “New Catford”. Am I right?

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Nope!

So now you know. The Town Hall was rebranded The Old Town Hall over a year ago and it has people in it. So stories about what Lewisham Council are up to should not be accompanied by an old picture of the Town Hall as this may be confusing to some people.

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