[The library] was on Chatsworth Road … Alan [Rossiter] was always saying, ‘Well, when I was a kid, I used to go to the local Palace… it was like, “Yeah, the Palace, let’s go to the Palace!” ‘ Magical name. Glitter! A ‘good night out’ feeling rather than ‘the community centre’, which you knew that people were going to go, ‘Well, I don’t want to go there – it’s full of social workers!’ So it was called Chats Palace; it was definitely marketing itself along the line of ‘it’s a place of entertainment’, it’s like Caesar’s Palace.
Martin Goodrich remembering how the name Chats Palace came about
as quoted in “Community art: an anthropological perspective” by Kate Crehan
Chats Palace has presented and encouraged a wide variety of music, comedy, theatre, dance, carnival, disability arts, photography and other art and social initiatives for over 35 years.
The building that hosts Chats Palace was established in 1913 as a Carnegie library for the betterment of the people of the East End. The library closed in 1974 and soon after the building was reclaimed by members of the local community.
Chats Palace is in Homerton, in the London Borough of Hackney.
In the mid 1980’s up to 50,000 people used Chats Palace each year, in an area that had little else in the way of entertainment and facilities.
Today, Hackney is home to the highest concentration of artists in the world.
One of the key aims of this project is to locate the pioneering and strategic contribution of Chats Palace on the map of the Hackney/East London arts scene today.
Through an exploration of original artwork, photographs, moving image, oral history and contemporary interviews, we aim to highlight the history and work of Chats Palace, the arts project, the old Homerton Library and its surrounding community.
Our work will culminate in a resource accessible to the general public through this website, a series of exhibitions and discussions, and a final exhibition to be held at Hackney Museum in 2016 to mark the 40th anniversary of Chats Palace.
with the help of local residents, contributors, community artists and staff members from Chats Palace past and present …
Please see contact page for ways to get involved