I am involved in two exciting projects which require premises in SE1. Firstly, the hugely successful LONDON SCHOOL OF SAMBA is looking for a single location to concentrate its activities which include a dance studio, costume store and office. This will allow the LSS (which is backed by The Arts Council, England) to expand its dance and drum (bateria) workshops and augment its local outreach activities. Each year the organization plays an important role in The Notting Hill Carnival with up to 200 dancers and drummers and it also does gigs around London and at large samba festivals in Europe.
Secondly, a unique FAIRGROUND, CIRCUS, TOY & PUPPET COLLECTION is looking for a home to exhibit to the general public. It is the marvellous legacy from the life's work of the great Ricky McCormick who ran his own circus for forty years. It includes a scale model gypsy caravan which seats four people, a working model of a fairground, train sets, marionettes and puppets from around the world and toys to entrance people of all ages and backgrounds.
If anyone has a home for either or both of these terrific attractions I would be pleased to hear from you.
Each of these sounds like a great project, and I hope they both find homes here. If you've got funding in place, now ought to be a good time to get good property deals.
If you can tolerate a bit of rumble, you might look at the railway arches being renovated and marketed by Spacia. SE1 is full of them. They're surprisingly large (one of them is being cleared on Great Suffolk Street right now, having previously housed a well known recreational establishment), and they scrub up nicely. Soho Gyms is in a beautiful set of arches on Brad Street, for example.
Without wanting to sound too miserable, there will be plenty of vacant retail units around on major streets over the next year or so. You could make the collection portable and display it in the windows of empty units until a new tenant is found. This might prove cheap and a landlord should welcome it as it's better than having a completely vacant unit? Just an idea.
The currently vacant Beaufoy Institute in Black Prince Road SE11 would be a good home for the London School of Samba. Lambeth Council own it and it has to be used for cultural or educational purposes because of the terms of the original bequest.