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Ragtime protest as dancing demonstrators wave banners and boogie while picketing Tower Hamlets Council

PUBLISHED: 08:18 22 March 2018 | UPDATED: 07:47 28 March 2018

Ragtime band from Jamboree nightclub in Limehouse on picket outside Tower Hamlets council meeting. Picture: Mike Brooke

Ragtime band from Jamboree nightclub in Limehouse on picket outside Tower Hamlets council meeting. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Protesters trying to save the Jamboree nightspot in Limehouse from closing turned up with ragtime band to protest outside last night’s Tower Hamlets council meeting.

They came with a petition asking the local authority to declare the folk and jazz venue a “community asset”.

Clubbers mingled and danced outside the town hall with other protesters who arrived to campaign on council job redundancies and a threat to a pensioners’ social club in Wapping.

But the Jamboree nightspot made the biggest demo noise—in ragtime. It faces having to close just four months before its 10th anniversary because its lease at the Cable Street Studios is up.

It has been trying to negotiate with the landlord to extend the lease by four months, without success.

Protesters dance on the picket campaigning to make Jamboree nightclub in Limehouse a 'community asset'. Picture: Mike BrookeProtesters dance on the picket campaigning to make Jamboree nightclub in Limehouse a 'community asset'. Picture: Mike Brooke

So nearly 100 supporters arrived with banners and a petition by 2,000 people which was presented when a delegation led by club founder Rena Beck addressed councillors.

Protesting trade union activists turned up meanwhile, accusing the authority of planning compulsory council staff redundancies.

A group of pensioners arrived campaigning to save their weekly tea dances and bingo club in Wapping which they fear is being priced out of their neighbourhood centre.

All the demonstrators mingled in a joint picket-cum-disco waving their different banners as Jamboree’s ragtime band set the pace for an ad hoc mass music protest as delegation after delegation went inside to address councillors with their various causes.

Jamboree's founder Rena Beck in town hall protest to save the club. Picture: Mike BrookeJamboree's founder Rena Beck in town hall protest to save the club. Picture: Mike Brooke

It was a spectacular mass “voice of the people” disco protest while inside the authority held its last full meeting before the local council elections on May 3.

Some council members even popped out of the town hall before the meeting to talk to the gathering crowd.

Cllr Andrew Cregan told the crowd: “The loss of Jamboree would be a tragedy. This is a cultural asset which is being turfed out.

“Cable Street Studios is a place of creative cultural exchange, but developers want to take it away from us.”

Nightclubers mingle with trade union protesters outside Tower Hamlets Council's last full meeting before May's local elections. Picture: Mike BrookeNightclubers mingle with trade union protesters outside Tower Hamlets Council's last full meeting before May's local elections. Picture: Mike Brooke

Meanwhile, there were cheers in the public gallery when the Jamboree delegation asked the council to declare the nightclub a “community asset” which would secure its place in any future redevelopment of the Cable Street Studios.

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