Everyone at Currell Battersea was distraught to see the much loved Battersea Arts Centre in flames last Friday afternoon. Sadly, the fire destroyed the Centre’s Grand Hall and Lower Hall, spaces that had been used for entertaining Londoners for more than a century.
Luckily though, and thanks to the sterling efforts of the fire brigade and the centre’s staff, the front of the building was saved and re-opened within 24 hours. We did what we could on Friday and again over the weekend by opening our doors to the BAC’s staff so that they had a place to regroup and hold meetings.
Needless to say many of the staff were extremely distressed. This really brought home to us how much the BAC means to the people who work there and the local community as a whole. It is times like this that remind you what a wonderful place Battersea is.
The Centre’s artistic director David Jubb has been giving regular blog updates in the aftermath of the fire and in it he speaks about Battersea’s mid-19th century motto Not For Me, Not For You, But For Us. That’s been evident all around over the last few days as people do what they can to help, however small. David describes in his blog what happened when he went to buy some flowers at the stall outside Clapham Junction station to brighten up the BAC’s Scratch Bar. A complete stranger asked if the flowers were for BAC and immediately offered to pay for them.
Anne from the BAC has told us that they are already looking to the future and “the long road ahead, from rehousing our creative programme, to assessing what’s lost and what’s salvageable, to rebuilding and reevaluating our plans for the building.”
That is going to take an awful lot of money and the fundraising has already started with the support of the National Funding Scheme. As at Tuesday afternoon, more than £64,000 had been raised from donations and a further £100,000 pledged from the owners of Battersea Power Station. You can donate here. Every penny will go towards helping the Battersea Arts Centre rise from the ashes, literally. For updates go to www.bac.org.uk, or follow BAC on witter @battersea_arts or @davidjubb. If you can support in any other way, please email email@example.com