Social centres in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom social centres can be found in squatted, rented, mortgaged and owned buildings. Social centers differ from community centers in that they are run autonomously, usually without assistance from the state and or corporations. The aims and policies of the centres are determined by those running them.
UK Social Centre Network
The UK Social Centre Network (also known as the Social Centre Network) is a grass roots initiative to establish a network between self identified radical independent community social centres in the United Kingdom.
There is no single policy statement but a general desire to improve communication and co-operation between "the growing number of autonomous spaces to share resources, ideas and information". Network participants draw a distinction between their radical autonomous spaces and state or commercially sponsored community centres. The network of social centres in the UK is in its infancy compared to in Holland, Italy and Spain.
The last gathering of the network was at Kebele, Bristol between 28-29th November 2015, and the next is due on 26-28th August 2016 around various London Social Centres.
The second national gathering of social centres was held at the 1 in 12 Club, in January 2007.:34
In November 2014, the Sumac Centre in early Nottingham hosted the first weekend gathering of a (re)launch of the 'Social Centre Network'. The network met again in April 2015 at the Next To Nowhere Social Centre in Liverpool and became known as the 'Social Centre Network of UK and Ireland'
Evicted Social Centres
Examples of long-term squatted and now evicted projects would include the Spike Surplus Scheme and the 491 Gallery. Other past squatted centres in London have included the Bank of Ideas, RampART (Peckham), Our Bohemia, The Square and Ratstar.
Other evicted centres include the Free Factory in Bristol, The Black Cat Centre in Bath, Pleb's College in Oxford, Cwtch Community Centre in Swansea, the Peoples Autonomous Destination (PAD) and Gremlin Alley in Cardiff, the George’s X Chalkboard in Glasgow, Matilda in Sheffield, the Mill Road Social Centre in Cambridge, Sabotaj in Brighton, Justice not Crisis, the Birmingham social centre and most recently, Free Milk! (Platt Chapel) in Manchester.
Some social centres occurred in a number of times and/or locations such as 195 Mare Street, Offmarket and the Really Free School. There are groups which choose to do temporary squatted events lasting a fixed time. Such groups may exist for years, such as the House of Brag (London), A-Spire (Leeds), Temporary Autonomous Arts (London, Sheffield, Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff), Anarchist Teapot (Brighton), Wildcats (Brighton) or the OKasional Cafe (Manchester).
There has been debate on whether legal spaces are a useful anti-capitalist tactic, or not.
Paul Chatterton and Stuart Hodkinson view social centres as part of the "broader 'autonomous movement,'" playing an "important role in the re-thinking and re-making 'citizenship' by bringing people together in spaces whose very reason for existence is to question and confront the rampant individualism of everyday life."
|1 in 12 Club||21-23 Albion Street, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 2LY||1981 ||Building established in 1988||1in12.com|
|56a Infoshop||56a Crampton Street, Walworth, London, SE17 3AE||June 1991||Squatted until 2003, then council rented||56a.org.uk (archive)|
|Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh||17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh, EH7 5HA||1997||Preceded by Unemployed Workers' Centre occupation.||autonomous.org.uk|
|Black Cat café||76 Clarence Road, Hackney, London||October 2013 ||Preceded by Pogo café, workers' co-operative, leased.||blackcatcafe.co.uk|
|Casa / Initiative Factory||29 Hope Street, Liverpool||December 2000 / 1998||industrial and provident society||initiativefactory.org|
|Common House(, The)||Unit 5E, Pundersons Gardens, Bethnal Green, London E2 9QG||2013||Collectively rented||commonhouse.org.uk|
|Cowley Club||12 London Road, Brighton, BN1 4JA||2003||Mortgage, co-operative.||cowleyclub.org.uk|
|Decentre @ Freedom Press||84b Whitechapel High Street (Angel Alley), London E1 7ZX||Decentre opened April 2016. Current location of Freedom c.1968||Above downstairs bookshop, coffee & meeting space.||freedompress.org.uk|
|DIY Space For London||96-101 Ormside Street, London, SE15 1TF||Collective est. 2012, opened 2015.||Co-operative, rented.||diyspaceforlondon.org/|
|Kebele Cultural Project||14 Robertson Road, Bristol, B55 6JY||September 1995 (squatted) Summer 2006 (owned outright)||Over 20 years in.||kebelecoop.org|
|London Action Resource Centre||62 Fieldgate Street, London, E1 1NS||1999 (bought) c.2002 (opened)||Resource Centre and meeting space||londonarc.org|
|Next To Nowhere||Basement, 96 Bold Street, Liverpool, L1 4HY||2007||Underneath 'News From Nowhere' bookshop.||liverpoolsocialcentre.org|
|Oxford Action Resource Centre||Upstairs in the East Oxford Community Centre, Princes St (junction with Cowley Rd), Oxford OX4 1DD||March 2005 ||Resource Centre and meeting space||theoarc.org.uk|
|Partisan||3Space, Mount Street, Manchester, M2 3NN (temporary)||Collective exists since 2015.||Currently in temporary space manchestersocialcentre.org.uk||partisancollective.net|
|Red and Black Umbrella||57-58 Clifton Street, Cardiff, Adamsdown CF24 1LS||October 2011 ||Currently closed and unlikely to re-open||redandblackumbrella.squat.net|
|Star and Shadow||Newcastle upon Tyne||Orig. late 1970s (by Amber Films) Stepney Bank location (November 2006)||Currently in process of moving to new location.||https://www.starandshadow.org.uk/ http://cannylittlelibrary.tumblr.com/|
|Sumac Centre||245 Gladstone Street, Forest Fields, Nottingham, NG7 6HX||Bought in 2001, opened 2002 ||Mortgaged. Preceded by the Rainbow Centre.||sumac.org.uk|
|Warzone||Little Victoria Street, Belfast, County Antrim BT2 7JH||Collective est. 1984. First premise 1986-1991, second premise 1991-2003, current premise 2011.||Part of the n.Irish DIY punk scene.||warzonecollective.com|
|Wharf Chambers||23-25 Wharf Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EQ||Preceded by The Common Place||wharfchambers.org|
|491 Gallery||491 Grove Green Road, Leytonstone, London||2001 to 2013||Squatted, focus on art, music and garden, closed due new owners, (sister building Vertigo remains pepercorn rented)||491 gallery|
|121 Centre||121 Railton Road, Brixton, London||1981 to 1999||Squatted, closed due to eviction|
|The Autonomy Centre||Wapping Wall, London E1||August 1981 - March 1982||Run by the London Autonomists.|
|The Basement||Lever Street, Manchester||to 2007||Non-squatted, closed due to flood, succeeded by Subrosa||manchestersocialcentre.org.uk|
|The Black Cat Centre||various venues in Bath||2009-2010||Squatted social centre in Bath, closed due to eviction, and dissolution of the project||blackcatcentre.blogspot.co.uk|
|Blackcurrent Centre||24 St. Michaels Avenue, Northampton, NN1 4JQ||1989 ||Building being used as a Housing co-op||blackcurrentcentre.org.uk|
|The Centro Iberico, :||Westbourne Park Road, London W8||April 1982 - August 1982|
|The Common Place||23-25 Wharf St, Leeds, LS2 7EQ||Non-squatted, succeeded by the Wharf Chambers||thecommonplace.org.uk|
|The Black Rose||268 Verdon Street, Sheffield||sheffieldsocialcentre.org.uk|
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