Tea dance OAPs and jazz nightclub protesters to picket Tower Hamlets council

Pensioners outside Raine's House in Wapping who picketed the town hall. Picture: Vickie Flores

Pensioners outside Raine's House in Wapping who picketed the town hall. Picture: Vickie Flores - Credit: Vickie Flores

Protesters are turning up from different groups and organisations to picket tonight’s Tower Hamlets council meeting on different issues involving pensioners and night-clubbers.

Pensioners outside Raine's House in Wapping who picketed the town hall. Picture: Vickie Flores

Pensioners outside Raine's House in Wapping who picketed the town hall. Picture: Vickie Flores - Credit: Vickie Flores

The pensioners are presenting a petition to save their bingo club and tea dances they have been holding for the past 45 years at the listed Raine’s House in Wapping. The council wants to turn the 300-year-old Raine’s House off Wapping Lane into a modern ‘community hub’ with £30 hourly charges to hire rooms on top of kitchen hiring fees.

The pensioners, who began their campaign last month, say they can’t afford the proposed charges which would mean closing their social club.

“There’s no way we can pay every hour,” 90-year-old retired rag trade machinist Sheila Cope said. “What I take on bingo goes out as prize money. I was told we can apply for a grant to pay for hiring a room—I’d be dead by the time that happens.”

They are presenting their case to councillors to be allowed to continue running their socials without hourly charges.

Pensioners outside Raine's House in Wapping who picketed the town hall. Picture: Vickie Flores

Pensioners outside Raine's House in Wapping who picketed the town hall. Picture: Vickie Flores - Credit: Vickie Flores

They had looked after the building until the council changes the locks and sent in security staff to manage opening times.


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So the pensioners are picketing the town hall and presenting a petition.

Another group is turning up at the town hall in their campaign to save the Jamboree nightclub in Limehouse having to close when their Cable Street Studios lease is up.

They want the top London folk and jazz venue listed as a “community asset” to be included if the site in redeveloped.

Pensioners outside Raine's House in Wapping who picketed the town hall. Picture: Vickie Flores

Pensioners outside Raine's House in Wapping who picketed the town hall. Picture: Vickie Flores - Credit: Vickie Flores

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But they were unable to secure 2,000 signatures in time for last week’s deadline to lodge it at the town hall and be allowed to address this month’s council meeting.

But they still intend holding a picket outside the town hall hoping that a council member could still put forward an emergency resolution for debate.

Jamboree’s founder Rena Beck told the East London Advertiser: “It’s important that the council protects grassroots venues and east London’s nightlife culture.”

Several businesses are located in the Cable Street Studios complex including a gym, dance studio and recording studio. There is even a mosque. Jamboree is the last remaining night-time business.

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