Feedback from Hackney-based media, general public and early staff members

“This archive is a real treat and a true part of East London’s design heritage” Rob Alderson from “It’s nice that”

“The images will fascinate social observers, illustrating not just alternative society advertising styles but reflecting local political and social issues of the time” David Altheer from Loving Dalston

“Your project is doing me a lot of good, helping me drag out the past through making contact again with old Hackney friends. All is grist for the mill in respect of my own book in progress.” Mike Gray, Hackney historian and the founding chair person of Chats Palace

“Thanks so much for this video. Was just vaguely watching and then saw my Grandad @ 13 seconds. The one with the white hair. WOW! He passed away in ’84 so, fabulous to see him move again. The research you are doing sounds fascinating! 
I am living in Enfield/Edmonton area at the moment, though would love to hear about the history of Chats Palace and help in whatever capacity.” Vimeo response to the Queen’s silver jubilee 1977

“I would like to trace a film or stills of a movie Freeform made on hackney marsh adventure park and kingsmead estate E9. made with the help of many of the kids around 1976-78 was in the Hackney Gazette. I was the star of Appkido wonder-woman, I was 12-13 years old at the time. the plot was about natives and stuff, all filmed in the summer and I wore red jumpsuit and green lipstick. fond memories of this as many of my school friends were in it and my brother and good friends. I would love to see the film or photos.” Angela Dalgarno

“I have a series of my monochrome photos of one of the first ever youth arts projects at Chats,the Labyrinth (1978). A labyrinth was made in the hall using canvas donated by the Old Vic Scenery department and painted by the children. The audience reached the entrance by taking a “boat trip” along the corridor. As you travelled round the labyrinth you would discover scenes from various aspects of Hackney’s past, present and future. There was a factory assembly line making teddy bears; Hackney Music Hall stage and performance; a mediaeval dungeon decorated with collages made from photograms made in the cellar darkroom and Xrays from the old Homerton Hospital; and a plague victim with an inflatable tubing backdrop and a futuristic dance area. The boy playing the latter had the ability to turn his eyelids inside out and he would thrash around on the inflatable tube to terrify the audience!” Alan May, Freeform artist featured on the Dalston Peace Mural with the saxophone

“The festival made all the papers next day. All this fun and enjoyment had an effect that is still felt today, because of the vast numbers of people moved by the wholesale demolition of the area, new communities were formed when they were rehoused. All new communities are uncomfortable with each other, some people finding themselves living near people from different countries and of a different race, the festival simply introduced all these groups to each other, with friendships being formed that are still going today.” Brian Walker on the Hackney Marsh Fun Festival

“I’m in the photo of the Free Form group outside Chats Palace. We weren’t just putting on a panto, of course, we were also managing the project which converted it from an abandonned library into an arts centre – Kelly and Alex, at the back, were leading on this. I think, though, it was the following year’s panto when we were lent the Vietnamese pot-bellied pig to give some authenticity to the “arabian bazaar” we set up in the bar, but the pig had to be returned when it’s frequent bowel movements gave just a little too much authenticity.”  Anonymous

“My play The Chambermaids was performed by the Poodle and Swordfish Community Theatre at Chats Palace in 1988 ably directed by Annie Smol and Dave Woolley.  They involved a community choir, so the music was fantastic.  It was an epic, joyful production, Ellen Gallagher, Geordie shop steward who led the striking chambermaids at the Grosvenor House Hotel came down from the NE for it, the cast were delighted to meet her, she was proud that their struggle for the rights of migrant women workers was remembered.  Participants told me how good it was to be involved in something that was about people like them.  Anyway, fond memories and I’ve still got the t-shirt, fading now, but…” Kathleen McCreery

“I remember writing, directing and producing performances at Chats Palace between 2000-2003. I applied to Chats Palace as an independent creative director after being totally inspired by a director I worked with on a mime anti racist performance in Italy, as I could see how I could utilise my skills and training to encourage people.  That was my aim and passion at the time, coming from another area into Hackney was a clearer insight of how I could genuinely support people. I often reflect on being an aspiring performing artist and getting involved in directing and writing at a young age has helped me transfer my skills on many different levels.  The urgency to support and empower women and artists in the local community was totally needed but very rewarding.” Iesha Slater

“These are marvellous. What a nice Friday surprise. I remember some of those gigs. Thanks so much for making me smile today.” Lesley Allan