CamdenNewJournal

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Intruders trash former Camden Town music venue before stealing sound equipment

Owner of The Forge says he is sympathetic to housing crisis but 'we are not a faceless company with an empty building'

05 October, 2017 — By William McLennan

POLICE are investigating after a music venue was broken into and trashed just as new owners were ready to sign a deal.

Owners of the Forge, which closed in March, arrived at the site in Delancey Street, Camden Town, on Monday morning to find floors strewn with rubbish and walls daubed with graffiti. Sound equipment had been stolen. The building, which won architectural awards for its sustainable design after it opened in 2009, was taken over by squatters at the end of last month.

Paint on the walls inside the Forge

A possession order was issued in court on Monday, but when co-owner Adam Caird arrived he found the squatters had left.

Mr Caird, who developed and ran the venue with his wife Charlotte, said: “It’s quite upsetting. We put our heart and soul into it. It was like a child to us and we were hoping to go in and say goodbye before it’s sold.”

He hopes the sale will be completed in coming weeks. It is expected to remain a music venue. The restaurant and 300-capacity venue were celebrated for their eclectic music nights, poetry and storytelling, “intimate theatre” and free weekend reggae parties. It had previously been the home of Café Delancey restaurant.

Charlotte and Adam Caird

For Mr Caird, the graffiti was particularly galling. “The beautiful walls are a key part of the building and its character,” he said. “They have survived eight years of all sorts of events and then this is how it ends. It’s really tarred the whole experience.”

He had spoken to the squatters, who he said “were quite reasonable and said they were looking after the building”. He is unclear whether this group had moved out before the building was trashed.

The Forge, before it closed earlier this year

“They were putting forward squatters’ rights and said: ‘There is a housing crisis and we need somewhere to live’,” he said. “From an ideological point of view I’m sympathetic, but that should be followed up with respect for the building. We are not a faceless company with an empty building. This is not a victimless crime.”

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