Hackney People’s Press issue 10

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Hackney People’s Press #10 (April 1974).

Tabloid-size newspaper, 8pp. Illustrated. A local paper formed by a merger between Hackney Gutter Press and Hackney Action in 1973. Front page story on the upcoming trial of five women who were evicted from their squat at 190 Amhurst Road in May 1973. Also: working conditions at Ford’s Dagenham plant (illustrated with a graphic which borrows Jame Reid’s spoof ‘Fraud’ logo); reports on homelessness and squatting; more

[stolen from here - anyone with more info on Hackney People’s Press or copies that can be included on this site should get in touch]

From the National Archives site:

The Hackney People’s Press was an amalgamation of two earlier radical newspapers – Hackney Action and Hackney Gutter Press. Hackney Action was founded in June 1982 by Centerprise, who aimed to ‘promote a people’s paper. One that will reflect the feelings and attitudes of the people in the borough of Hackney.’

Hackney Gutter Press was founded circa 1971 ‘by a group of people who are involved in organised activities such as Claimants Unions, squatting, Womens Liberation, playhouses for children, food co-ops.’

The first issue of the People’s Press, was issued in May 1973. Run by a collective, the paper reported on local and relevant national radical issues, but from the early 1980s experienced difficulties in keeping enough people involved to produce and distribute the newspaper.

The collective produced 109 issues (including the first five from Hackney Action), the last of which appeared in June 1985. [link]

Text from the scan above:

BROADWAY MARKET SCHEME: THE PLANNERS MOVE IN

The Greater London Council nave taken over a shopfront at 28, Broadway Market to explain to the people living nearby what their plans for their area are. And to get their participation.

It’s a bit late, isn’t it? For many years now, the authorities have deliberately allowed the Broadway Market to run down and have been compulsorily purchasing houses since the mid sixties. They now own over half the houses in the area. Where did the idea of re-development come from? Why couldn’t there have been meetings of local people to discuss the future of the area and to decide the form the planning should take?

THE PLAN

The re-development area stretches from Queensbridge Road to London Fields covering an area of 39 acres; with 600 houses, around 2500 people, 100 shops, 6 pubs and 23 factories or workshops.

The GLC sent round a survey to less than a third of the families, asking them whether they wanted re-housing in Hackney or not. They never asked them if they woutd like to stay where they were. Or whether the area should have been made a General Improvement Area like De Beauvoir, and houses done up by the landlord or council.

Area allowed to run down

And now it’s too late! The GLC has bought up so many houses and left them empty that the whole area is “run down”, so that people want to get out. Their excuse is that the Public Health Officer declared some houses unfit. But with proper maintenance and money spent, improving the area, the houses would be attractive and yet another com-munity would not have to be des-troyed. That’s their scheme! To make sure the area wants redeveloping by making it unbearable to live in. It doesn’t matter to the planners that most of the people living there have lived their all their lives. and have relatives and neighbours and good friends in the next streets. Two thirds of those answering the GLC survey had relatives in Hackney and over half wanted to stay.

It doesn’t matter to the planners that people being “cleared out” to make way for new houses won’t be able to afford the rents. The planners say – “They can get a rent rebate.” But it’s council policy to house you in accommodation they think you can afford without a rebate.

How high the rents?

Hackney Peoples Press asked various officials of the GLC what the rents would be.

They said they don’t know.

They are saying that people will be able to move back to the area, but we suspect that with the City being so near the rents will be well out of reach.

Why are they doing it? We were unable to get a sensible answer from them. They did tell us that when completed the area will house less people than it does now!

Given the acute housing shortage, it seems crazy to be planning less housing rather than more.

How high the cost?

Again, were unable to get anything tangible from the GLC. They do admit to paying over £4 million for the land alone. The officials working at the Exhibition referred us to Mr. Dean of the Valuers Department. He said: “What relevance has it got whether it is £20 million or £200 million: it’s just a figure.” A figure made up from our rates. We feel that it should be publicly available information how much they are spending on destroying a community to provide less housing. How much would it have cost to rennovate the empty houses, and put a bathroom and a larger kitchen in every house that is going to be demolished? We can’t know for certain because they won’t tell us, but it would surely only be a fraction of what its going to cost to rebuild the whole area.

‘Going up in the world’

What wIll the new houses be like? In the exhibition they look very glamorous. It seems as though each house is separate and each has its own garden. In fact, there will be long rows of identical terraced houses with a strip of garden – separated between houses by chains! CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

[Broadway Market has of course seen its fair share of planning/gentriciation scandal in this century also – see Hackney Independent for more on that]

Amhurst Road Squatters on Trial

The trial began on Wednesday of 5 women who were evicted last May, from 190, Amherst Rd. where they squatting.

On that day the police arrived, led by Inspector Hilliard (previously attatched to the notorious Special Patrol Group), and with the help of a local builder, evicted the women inside by force. The women were subsequently charged with assault. This was necessary (from the Police point of view), since the police are not legally entitled to evict squatters: their case is that they were present merely to prevent a breach of the peace, and the assault charges must therefore be seen as a smokescreen to cover their own illegal activities.

So far in the trial, we have had three days of prosecution evidence, and Mr. Hughes (who summoned the police in the first place) has admitted under cross-examination that his intention was to enlist their aid in forcibly evicting the women. (He himself had no authority either from the owners of the property, or from anyone else, to forcibly evict anyone from the premises, where he was merely under contract to do some redecorating work.)

The police continue to maintain that their role was purely to stand by, in case of need to prevent trouble, though their evidence, vague on many points and conflicting on others, is beginning to look less and less realistic, despite their being professionals in the witness-box.

They are relying on lurid accounts of how they were attacked by the defendants, in order to cover up their own illegal action and the use of force and violence on the six women brought to trial.

This is an important case, for if the police are allowed to get away, with this kind of operation once, they will no doubt feel freer to harras people in the future.

[359 Amhurst Road was raided by the police in 1971 in connection with Angry Brigade activity]

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3 thoughts on “Hackney People’s Press issue 10

  1. Pingback: Hackney People’s Press: interview with Charles Foster | The Radical History of Hackney

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