Local History – the St Pancras Rent Strike of 1960

Those with a bit of spare time on their hands might be interested in this documentary covering the St Pancras Rent Strike of 1960.

A new council elected in 1959 for the borough of St Pancras (Camden Council didn’t exist yet) planned to drastically increase council tenant rents. Naturally, many council tenants objected. They formed tenants associations, and started withholding rent when the rent increases came into effect.

The dispute went on for most of 1960. Although ultimately unsuccessful, the rent strike did lead to the formation of many tenants associations, and arguably laid the groundwork for the system of tenant participation that we have today.

The Roundhouse – A short history

Everyone has heard of the Roundhouse – a Camden landmark, where many great musical acts have played over the years.

Inside, it has a distinctive shape, and gives everyone a good view of the performers and allows flexible fitout for different types of show, from circus performers, to rock bands, to theatre performances.

The Roundhouse was built in 1846 as a place for trains to be turned around, and the tracks can still be seen in the floor. The building was from a design by Robert Stephenson, son of George Stephenson (of “Stephenson’s ‘Rocket'” fame).

Etching of the Roundhouse as a turntable shed

After only about 10 years the trains got too long, so it stopped being used as a turntable engine shed. In 1871 it started to be used by local wine & gin merchants W & A Gilbey as a warehouse (you can still buy Gilbey’s Gin – the distillery used to stand on the site of Gilbey’s Yard near Morrison’s supermarket).

Continue reading “The Roundhouse – A short history”

Live in a protected building?

A listed building is a building with historical or architectural importance. A building in a conservation area might not be listed in itself, but any works that could affect the character of that conservation area must be approved by planning.

If you live in a protected building, you have responsibilities that other people don’t have. Extra levels of permission are needed for things that other people don’t have to worry about. This can include what colours walls can be painted, or what improvement works can be done.

The exact limits depend on each building, and the reasons for the building being listed. Details for any listed building can be found here:

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/

Camden Council, as the approving authority and as a freeholder, have a responsibility towards their own listed buildings. Any changes have to take into account the building’s historic features. Emergency works can be done, but should be the minimum required. Materials used have to be approved as suitable.

Just because the Council are doing work on one of their own buildings, it doesn’t mean they can do whatever they like.

Also see:

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings – www.spab.org.uk