DJs set up social club in Homerton pub to bring different cultures together

Founders of the Irish Social club Cormac Watters and Josh Clarke outisde The Prince Edward pub in Ha

Founders of the Irish Social club Cormac Watters and Josh Clarke outisde The Prince Edward pub in Hackney. - Credit: Archant

A weekly event fusing Irish folk music, reggae and soul has been started by two DJs to engage the communities they feel are being alienated by Hackney’s changing neighbourhoods.

Cormac Watters, 25 and Josh Clarke, 26, of Amhurst Road, in Hackney Central, have set up the Hackney Irish Social Club every Thursday evening from 7pm in the popular community pub Prince Edward in Wick Road, Homerton, which has faced an ongoing threat from developers but was saved earlier this year.

Despite its name the new event isn’t just for Hackney’s Irish community – and the two DJs have drawn on the influences from different cultures they’ve experienced growing up, with the aim of bringing together people from all walks of life for an evening of fun.

Josh said: “We started playing at the Prince Edward and fell in love with the place.

“The Hackney Irish Social Club is just a fun title, I suppose evocative of a time when Irish communities banded together out of necessity. We’re trying to offer a little taster of the old-style spaces where Irish people met.

“It’s tongue in cheek but meant with the best intentions.”

Cormac said: “Young Irish professionals and creative types are pretty well taken care of in other parts in London but there is a niche here for us to relax and network. We try to foster that kind of environment as well as there being a cultural exchange with local people.

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“Josh and I were raised on Jamaican culture, we have a great affinity with it.”

The Prince Edward is loved by its patrons for remaining unchanged in the face of gentrification and Josh stressed the importance of hosting an event which complemented the existing clientele, saying he and Cormac would be putting a particular focus on older residents.

He said: “Hackney is full of spaces for young people with money to enjoy themselves.

“As a young person with disposable income I feel guilty supporting yet another expensive brew house.

“People around here have no interest in the hop count of their ales, nor do they fancy spending £4.50 on a pint.

“And none of these pubs offer what the Prince Edward does, a community space, affordable drinks, free food - it’s also hugely important to the West Indian community.”

In the face of growing mental health problems caused by isolation in the elderly, the duo is keen to cater for all age groups.

Josh said: “There is nowhere for old people to go and there are plenty that would love a night out. I think the council need to be taking a lead on this.

“Once the pub closes down it’s gone. This is a healthy, lively space but it can’t compete, rents are massive.”