A building where George Orwell once stayed when he wrote “Down and Out in Paris and London” now houses London’s most inventive and dynamic community arts project. But the inhabitants and the building, known locally as The Spike, are under threat from Southwark Council, which wants to kick out the long standing residents, demolish the building and then sit on their fat backsides and tell everyone what a great job they are doing.
The Spike Surplus Scheme, to give it its full name, is a large, beautiful and diverse community space that raises awareness for low-impact living, celebrates the fascinating history of the place, and makes dreams come true. They are planning a festival this weekend as they need to raise $400,000 to save the historic building which is about to be listed by English Heritage in a last ditch effort to prevent the eviction.
The locals love the community because “ Its pretty free in there – you can turn up and whatever you dream you can do” said Sarah Bear, 28, sho has been living there just over two years as a caretaker. She is also a freelance researcher and musician
“I just want a better world for everyone, more opportunity for synchronicity magic to happen, more spaces for us to come together,” said Sarah.
The residents have a stunning community garden with free permaculture courses for all; a rehearsal and professional recording space for local bands and artists; a collaborative music production studio; a dojo used for yoga, martial arts and the like, with a weekly drop-in wellbeing clinic offering complementary therapies; a video production space; ‘camera obscura’; a cinema and much more. It’s all run on a donations basis and open to all. Come check the space… reckon you’ll love it.
They have big plans for the future development of The Spike, but they need help.
Southwark Council have decided with no notice that they want to sell the space, without event visiting to check what Spike contributes to Peckham.