Angel Alley, London

210505 Site Plan Venice March 28 2021 in

Angel Alley, London

David Turnbull

University of Portsmouth

I arrived in Angel Alley at one-thirty*. I had been thinking about the work of the anarchist, architect, advocate, Colin Ward (1924 - 2010), on ‘communities of propinquity and communities of interest’, kinship, cooperation and dissent . . . the politics of gardening, alternative agriculture, labour-intensive work, and music — self-building — ‘anarchy in action’. Mostly I have been remembering the beauty and generosity of his writing for ‘Freedom’.

For ‘Conceiving the Plan’, I am presenting an unsolicited project for ‘Freedom Press’, 84b Angel Alley, Whitechapel High St, London E1, currently home to Freedom Bookshop, Haven Distribution, Solidarity Federation, Anarchist Federation, Corporate Watch, IWW UK, the National Bargee Travellers Association and the Advisory Service for Squatters. Founded in 1886, the ‘Freedom Press’ moved to Angel Alley in 1968. Fire-bombed by the neo-Fascist group, Combat 18, in March 1993, subject to a catastrophic arson attack in 2014, the building in Angel Alley remains scarred by repeated attempts to damage or destroy ‘Freedom’. Proximity to the Whitechapel Art Gallery, opened in 1901, that hosted Picasso's Guernica in 1938, and the Independent Group’s ‘This is Tomorrow’ in 1956, renders Angel Alley a nexus of radical politics and art, writing and publishing — a window into and out of the city.

*photograph: The Whitechapel Art Gallery, addition (1988), designed by Colquhoun and Miller — the side entrance, opposite the ‘Freedom’ anarchist bookshop and publishing house (established in 1886), in Angel Alley, London E1 — as seen on 13/11_2019 at 13:30 GMT . . . manipulated 31/01_2021