Gazette letters: The Gaumont Cinema, local poetry and cancer support

The crumbling cinema facade

The crumbling cinema facade - Credit: Archant

The Hoxton Gaumont Cinema in Pitfield Street was built over 100 years ago and the facade has been an iconic part of Pitfield Street ever since, writes Anthony Thistleton, Waugh Thistleton Architects.

The cinema has not shown a film since the mid-1950s but is an important local landmark and remembered fondly by all those who knew it.

Our job is to rebuild the cinema as part of a residential development.

We started on this project in 2004 and it soon became apparent the supported original facade was in very poor condition.

We initiated discussions with Hackney as to how best to remove and preserve certain elements.

Last week, this process was accelerated by an official notification from the contractor that the facade was unsafe and that there was a risk of collapse and subsequent injury. The recommendation was that it should be taken down.

Detailed photographs, sketches, drawings and mouldings were made of the entire front elevation. The planning consent clearly describes the new building sitting behind the original facade. This will remain the case. Once the rear building is complete the facade will be carefully re-constructed from the detailed information we have.

Most Read

Once the rear building is complete the facade will be carefully re-constructed, and will be once again part of the local Shoreditch street scene.

As a poet and primary school teacher based in Homerton, local anecdotes from students often provide inspiration, and this particular poem is one which falls within that category, writes Joe Woodhouse, teacher, St Dominic’s Primary School, Homerton.

It is my hope that if Hackney-centric pieces of writing, produced by local writers, appear in community editorials, young people in the area will be encouraged to create art out of scenes from their own lives.

As a teacher, I believe anything that inspires young people to open up their imaginations and write is something to champion.

The Hamster Gangsters of Hackney

In front of me on coloured concrete, she appears.

Through rainbow hula hoops. Through all her peers.

An eight year old, dejected, full of tears.

She tells a tale. Emotions shift through gears.

She talks about a walk with Mum last night,

Not dark just yet, but twilight trickling light

out of an inky Hackney sky. Despite

advice against, her hamster’s there, held tight.

In the distance, two hooded lads approach,

through thick suspicious clouds of tinted smoke.

They blaze a cigarette with cardboard roach,

marauding Hackney’s parks for laughs to poach.

Noticing this family walk they hatch

a plan that mum and little girl can’t match.

The creature, from small trembling hands, they snatch.

They run for it, too soon too far away to catch.

The hamster’s squeals diminish, then they’re gone.

The young boys scamper into Homerton.

What can I do? How can I right their wrongs?

I’ll write her this and make her tale a song.

[editor’s note: the Gazette understands the hamster was a cuddly toy]

Free, specialist Information and support about cancer is coming to Hackney on Wednesday. Macmillan Cancer Support’s mobile service will be visiting the area, with cancer information specialists on hand to answer questions and provide information, writes Gemma Young, Macmillan Cancer Support.

The team encourages anyone with worries or concerns relating to cancer to stop by, whether you’re living with or beyond cancer, or are a carer or loved one of someone who is. It’s open to anyone, no matter what your concern.

We’re outside Hackney Library, in Reading Lane, from 10am to 4pm.

Cancer can impact on all aspects of your life, not just your health. This June, the team are highlighting issues around finance.

If you’ve been affected by cancer, your finances might not be your first thought, but many people are faced with extra costs they hadn’t considered.

Macmillan research has shown 83 per cent of people are, on average, £570 a month worse off as a result of a cancer diagnosis, often due to being unable to work and having increased costs such as travel to hospital or increased fuel bills.