From The Picturesque To The Demolished curated by Julika Gittner, Adrian Holme and Jon Purnell to highlight the illegal demolition of Angel Cottage, Stratford, took place at The Railway Tavern, in Stratford, London, on Saturday 27 September 2008.
Despite its protected status, the Georgian Grade II listed Angel Cottage in Windmill Lane was demolished under the cover of plastic sheeting in November last year. The 1826 Georgian cottage had been sold at auction for £400,000 and stood opposite the Olympic site and the new Stratford City development on some of the most valuable development land in London . The illegal demolition was discovered by outraged local residents who demanded an investigation of the case by both the council and English Heritage.
The local council has subsequently prosecuted the owner and served an enforcement notice to have the building reinstated brick by brick at the owner’s expense. Architects are currently trying to reconstruct the building from old photographs.
For this I laminated a series of slogans (table mat sized) that played with the name of the cottage - Angel, the Olympic Games and the Fat Cat Capitalist who destroyed the cottage for material profit.
The destruction of this cottage, seemed to symbolise at the time, something greater, and several months later, we now experience if not the collapse, then certainly the demise of economic growth, caused by the collective greed of bankers and financial investors.
During the evening I kept thinking of William Blake, and how Allen Ginsberg, if he were present, would have made eloquent connections between this artist, his visions of angels, and the Fall of Capitalism.
Later Adrian Holme, sang one of William Blake's Songs, which he had set to music, standing right in front of the site of the demolished cottage.