Campaign Started to Save The Tudor Rose

Fight on for music venue described as 'only black-owned business in Southall'

The Tudor Rose is located at The Green in Southal. Picture: Google Streetview

Campaigners are fighting to save the “only black-owned business in Southall” which is under threat of demolition.

The Tudor Rose, based at The Green, could be destroyed as part of early plans from Peabody in partnership with Ealing Council to undergo a major regeneration project which would see the music venue knocked down to make way for an access road.

Protesters gathered on Wednesday, July 8, as part of Black Lives Matter action locally, to show support for keeping the business of importance to the black Caribbean community.

The Tudor Rose was first opened in 1983, converting the space from a “dump” to a place to celebrate black culture. It has hosted weddings, funerals and birthday parties as well as international musicians from across the world.

Ursula James, a co-owner of the Tudor Rose, said: “We wanted to build something for the Caribbean community. At that time we experienced a lot of racism and we wanted somewhere for black people to come without having to be abused by people.

“The home was built for Caribbean people and you want to remove it?”

She added, “They thought we were going to sit down and let them do what they wanted…we will fight, we will try.”

Black Lives Matter protestors outside the Tudor Rose
Black Lives Matter protestors outside the Tudor Rose. Picture: Janpal Basran

The venue’s absence was “awful” for the community when it had its licence – “wrongfully” say the owners – taken away in 2014, and it did not reopen until February 2019.

But now back in business and surviving “by our teeth” through lockdown, Ms James says the owners have big plans to create a museum and community-centred uses when it returns to open its doors.

Protesters also included supporters from the Southall Community Alliance who want to save the Tudor Rose and in turn “preserve the contribution and history of the local African-Caribbean community that it represents.”

A petition set up in January has gained nearly 4,000 signatures.

In a plea to save the venue, it reads: “The Tudor Rose has served as a space that is familiar to a generation that has no plaque or memorial in their names. The Tudor Rose is that generation’s museum that holds the memory of being that generation’s cultural centre and archive.

“The loss of the Tudor Rose would be a great travesty, especially when so many people of different cultural backgrounds are very happy that the Tudor Rose is up and running again.

“Save the Tudor Rose and let not the demolition of this venue that is steeped in BAME musical cultural heritage be allowed to proceed. We must not be trampled on.”

Supporters of the Tudor Rose gatherSupporters of the Tudor Rose gather. Picture: Janpal Basran

Campaigners say so far Peabody and Ealing Council have not been listening to their concerns, but hope changes can be made to the development plans before the formal proposals for 550 homes are submitted.

Council leader Julian Bell visited the Tudor Rose last week at the invitation of campaigners and signalled support for the cause, but campaigners say they will keep up the pressure until they have it formally in writing that their property will not be destroyed.

Cllr Bell said plans with Peabody were drawn up three years ago when the venue was not in operation, but that a final proposal “will need to take into account the changed circumstances of the venue”.

“I am glad I had the opportunity to visit the Tudor Rose and meet the owners and users to discuss its future”, Cllr Bell added.

“I know how valued Tudor Rose is locally and particularly with the Afro-Caribbean community. I want it to not only survive, but to thrive as a cultural venue.

“We are continuing to work with our project partner, Peabody, on ensuring this can happen, while also delivering desperately needed affordable homes for Southall on The Green.”

A Peabody spokesperson added that the developer is in talks with the Tudor Rose and has offered a space on the development for a new “purpose-built” venue.

They said, “We continue to work to deliver the brief set by Ealing when we were selected as their development partner.

“We would very much like to continue our conversations and engagement with the Tudor Rose, and we’ve offered them space within the new development to create a new purpose-built venue.

“We’re working closely with Ealing Council as our plans for over 500 new homes, with 50 per cent affordable housing, evolve and will respect any decision they make in regards to this community facility.”

Anahita Hossein-Pour - Local Democracy Reporter

July 17, 2020