Today Builders Forced Entry and Damaged the Social Centre; Some Help Needed

Today at approximately 10:05 a.m. as two of us were returning from scavenging fruit and vegetables a group of about a dozen builders forced entry into the social center.  They then proceeded to affix a notice board to the wall declaring that the building was a construction site. We notified them that the property was legally occupied in accordance with the 1977 Criminal Law Act and that they had committed an offence by breaking into the building while it so occupied.   Apparently unconcerned that their conduct was illegal, they proceeded to begin gutting the building while we were inside it. They also proceeded to disconnect the buildings water, by cutting the pipe connecting to the water main.

The builders were employed by CS Solutions and their supervisor was Jim Casey, the same man who had similarly threatened us weeks ago.  No planning permission has been granted for any work to be done on the building; despite this and despite the building’s listed status they proceeded in doing significant damage to the downstairs.

DSCN6770 DSCN6768 DSCN6773

We called the police and notified them of the situation. Upon arriving the police seemed equally unconcerned with stopping their illegal conduct and stood by as the builders proceeded in destroying the building. They claimed that they needed to “find out all the facts”.  We asked if they could please ask the builders to stop destroying the space while they did so, and the police refused. With the help of a friend from the Advisory Service for Squatters, we were eventually able to persuade police Sergeant Gomes that the building was legally occupied and that Mr. Casey needed to take us to court in order to remove us, but not before considerable damage had been done to the ground floor and our property being kept there.  The builders then began to leave. However, as they were doing so Jim Casey threatened that he would be back in a week to continue what he had started whether we were there or not . We advised him once again that he would need to take us to court before doing this, and he stated clearly that he did not intend to do this.

We invite anyone who has any time today or this week come and help to repair the damage that has been done and help re secure the building.

Filmmaking Workshop 6th October 7pm

A quick announcement, and I’m really sorry for the short notice, but there will be a meeting tomorrow at 7pm for those of you interested in filmmaking with a view to starting a regular workshop. If you’re interested in film, at every aspect: writing screenplays/documentaries, sound, lights, cameras, acting and post production, then your all welcome, whatever level you’re at.


(Rock Around The Clock, 1956)

There aren’t a lot of opportunities for budding filmmakers to meet like minded people and get films made but now you can. 195 is offering a free workshop to meet energetic people, get projects off the ground and skill share creativity to  improve your filmmaking. So I hope to see as many of you tomorrow, Sunday the 6th of October at 7pm so we can get our feet of the ground.

Official Opening Night 11th October

After 6 weeks of repairing, cleaning, and imagining The 195 is now, almost, fully functioning and ready to go. To reiterate this point, we invite everyone to a showcase of the space; where we will come together to enjoy live music, vegan food, and general merriment.

The event will take place on Friday 11th october (one for the diary) and will run from 7pm-late; donations towards running costs, paying bills etc greatly appreciated.

In the mean time, The 195 Freeshop is open Sunday-Tuesday and Thursday 3pm-6pm, we have comedy Improv on Tuesdays from 7pm, and film screenings every Thursday from 7pm; we are also running a language school which currently boasts lessons in Italian, French, Spanish, German, Arabic, Portuguese, Japanese, English, and Russian (for full details of classes and times see Language school Post). Volunteers to help with the general organisation, cleaning, and bringing new ideas/projects to the space will be greatly received.

More details of the opening event including list of performers etc to be posted soon on our blog; see you on the 11th!

Get involved in People’s kitchen on Thursdays!!!


Hey everyone

We’ve decided we want to start running a regular people’s kitchen. We’ll be collecting food on the day that is reaching its sell by date and can be cooked that evening for a big dinner for anyone who wants to come along and eat yummy yummy food. We will show you what can be done with food that would otherwise be wasted or thrown away.

We’ll be having people’s kitchen at around 7pm on Thursdays (still to be confirmed), so we will push the cinema night to around 8.30pm.     What could be better than having an amazing dinner followed by a film – with a whole bunch of wonderful people. Sounds exactly how I would love to spend my Thursday nights.

Next week Thursday we will cook and prepare food upstairs in our own kitchen, which we will bring downstairs to share with everyone. In the coming week, we want others to get involved in helping us prepare and build the community kitchen. Anyone can use it and it will big enough to fit many of our bodies in there at the same time. Oh we have so much fun cooking! Lots of people dancing around and making food together. We also want people who want to help with cooking so if you would like to come and cook regularly please get in touch. Give us a call, drop and email or pop in and see us. All hands on deck..     Free food for everyone!!!!

Welcome to the language school!

The second meeting of the 195 Mare Street Language School Collective met on Monday 30th to finalise the programme of languages taught and to discuss how language tuition might take shape.

We decided upon the following things:

Each language will be taught ideally for 3-4 hours a week split over two sessions; students will be expected to be able to attend both sessions and do homework at the teachers’ direction.

All students should try to arrive exactly on time, because the gates to the 195 will be closed before and ten minutes after the advertised time of starting.

There should be no smoking or drinking/drugs to be consumed during lessons.

We will ask for small donations towards the costs of organising the language school, buying materials, and general upkeep of the space; donations are on a voluntary basis, though students may be asked to contribute a small amount of money at the end of each class if they can afford to (if you do not have any money, you will not be expected to contribute- so please don’t worry about giving a donation- we would rather you came to the classes).

All students must bring their own pens, paper, and materials as we do not have funds for providing these.

Below is the current schedule of classes in the Language School (from 7th of October):

French (Beginners): Tuesday 2 p.m., Friday 1 p.m.

French (Pre-Intermediate): Tuesday 2 p.m., Friday 1 p.m.

Italian (Beginners): Tuesday 3.30 p.m., Friday 2.30 p.m.

Russian (Beginners): Tuesday 7.30 p.m., Thursday 7.30 p.m.

Spanish (Beginners): Tuesday 9 p.m., Thursday 9 p.m.

German (Beginners): Friday 7.30 p.m.

Portuguese (Beginners): Sunday 7.30 p.m.

English (Advanced): Sunday 9 p.m.

It is likely we will also be teaching Japanese, Arabic and English (Intermediate) but they have not yet been scheduled or confirmed; if you are interested in learning one of these languages or have skills in teaching them then please get in touch by emailing us, coming by or commenting on this post.

We are always looking to expand the Language School, so if there is a language you would like to learn, or that you have the skills to teach please contact us as above.

There are already some language books in the social centre library, but they are mostly in German. We really need books in/about all of the other languages that we intend to teach; if you have any books in French, Italian, Russian, Arabic, Portuguese, English, Japanese or any other languages it would be greatly appreciated if you could donate them.

There will be a skill shares on teaching languages for teachers held periodically. The first one will be held in the social centre on Friday 4th at 5pm.

For more information, questions, or proposals, contact us @: 195languageschool(at)gmail(dot)com

Newly squatted community centre open in North Finchley

The bohemian pub on Finchely High road has been squatted and is on its way to becoming a thriving community centre. It was opened by the same crew from that reopened Friern Barnet Library last year library last year.

They want to open it up as a ‘community hub’ and there going to use the space for games nights, cinema nights and other things. I’m really excited to see the space get going. It looks like a fantastic building that they can start hosting events and workshops in straight away.

The Bohemia wide shot

Bohemia occupied web 1

There’s already a few articles out on them already

They are holding an public meeting today at 7pm. Get down there and share your ideas.

It’ so fantastic that the community social centres are coming back north of the river. its exciting that we’re working on these projects and we hope that others will begin to see the value our communities centres have. Tell your friends, get everyone you know involved – talk to a random person on the street and in the back alleys, let them know whats happening.

Share your ideas, get involved, express yourself. 


Workshops underway

This week has been pretty eventful for 195. Workshops are beginning to get going, and we’re starting to see some regular faces. We’ve met so many different kinds of people with journey’s of their own to share. Repairs are coming along nicely and the space is getting more tidy and organised by the day. Yesterday, a collective came and cleared up the space by the stage area. Its looking fantastic, so thank you to everyone that helped.

Last Tuesday, we had a comedy improvising workshop…. – honestly it was some of the best fun I’ve had. Its such a great way to express whatever is going on inside you at the time in a comfortable and safe space. Everyone had such a laugh, and trust me you can’t help but laugh hysterically. I highly recommend it.

Today we had a theatrical workshop running from 12 – 7. There was such a great energy with an abundance of giggling and laughing. I believe they also did some improvisation, but are hoping to form a more concrete collective in the future. More info on them when I get some.

We also spend some time today clearing out the free shop, and re organising it. There was way too much in the shop so it was starting to get messy, so we’ve stored some things away to keep the place tidy. I also found lots of things that most people would definitely not take from the shop, so please don’t bring us stuff that is extremely dirty, or that you know others cannot make use of anymore. We could do with some more men’s clothes. We’ve got lots of great jackets and coats so come down and pick something up for the winter.


Don’t forget to join us on Thursdays for cinema night from 7pm every week —-       we will show a different film. I’m not sure what will be showing this week, but I will soon find out – I have a feeling it’s still being decided. But don’t miss it!!!

Sundays and Mondays we have the bicycle workshop. So far, its been great with people beginning to put together bikes of their own. On that note, if anyone has any spare bike tools they no longer need, we would very much appreciate them. We don’t have enough at the moment. We would also love volunteers to help out with the bike workshop so drop us a line if you’re interested.

Oh and this is also probably a good time to remind you that our opening times have changed to Mondays, Tuesday and Thursday from 3 – 6pm. During these times you can come and hang out, read a book and check out our free shop.

Coming up soon, we’ll have a modern dance classes, meditation, art (perhaps life drawing and some other stuff)..  plus much much more….

In the meantime, regular workshops are beginning to take shape and slots are being filled on the timetable so if you have any ideas or suggestions, now would be the time to get in contact.  Check out our regular events to see what we’ve already got happening.

Don’t forget to find us on facebook — 195 mare street

And follow us on twitter @195marestreet

Volunteers needed

As 195 begins to get busier, we will need to prepare and get some extra hands to help us run the place more smoothly.

We need volunteers that would like to help with the running of the FREE SHOP:      The free shop is open Mon – Sat from 2 – 6pm. Our volunteers will help with sorting out and organising out clothes, books, toys. etc, making tea and coffee, speaking with visitors and general helping out.  You can give as much or as little time as you wish. We would like to welcome new people into the family.


We need someone who can make some leaflets for us. Some of which will be for personal distribution and others which will be stuck around the local area.

Outreach team

We need people who want to come out in the evenings, flyer, and speak with community members in about who we are and what we’re doing. We want to get out face to face with the people who do not have access to the internet. Get involved.


Upcoming events!


If you want to learn new languages or teach one of languages you know – this meeting is for you! What we already have are English, Spanish and Russian teachers but what we still need is French one! So come over and participate!


We would like to see a regular vegan café run and organised by volunteers in this social center. At the moment we are in the process of building the kitchen, making menu and so on. So if you are interested to participate – you are very welcome to help and get involved, it can be started just with your help!

And we want to remind you that we have our free shop opened every day from 2 p.m to 6 p.m., bike workshop takes place every Sunday and Monday also from 2 p.m to 6 p.m and on Tuesday we will have Comedy Improv!

Follow our news!


 Don’t forget, if you’re not already, to follow us on Facebook and Twitter @195marestreet


Hello everyone,

Well yesterday went really well. We finally had the front gate and door open to allow people into 195 Mare Street. Visitors were treated to our free shop (some local fashionistas probably had a bit too much fun), all day long food (salad, veggies, curry, barley…yum yum!), a Chilean film and then later live performances on kazoo and guitar.


Dozens came in – mostly just off of the street – and it was lovely having people stop as walking by, taking a look at our boards by the gate and then coming in for more. Plenty of folks came in with their children and this including a beautiful moment when one of our all-in-one baby outfits from the free shop found a new home. We attracted friends, of course, but also a lot of people we had never met before. People gave us gifts, told us about what they wanted from the social centre, how the could contribute and a good few told us about housing struggles. Others sat in our pretty cafe area, eating and enjoying the surroundings and watching those exploring the free shop or sneaking a quick peak at other parts of the building.


By the evening our downstairs was pretty packed. Folksy songs filled our ears as we enjoyed the rest of the night. A variety of performers arrived in advance but they were also kind enough to offer out their guitars to others for a jamming session. People sang and danced and stomped their feet.



We’re excited for our next event which will be this Friday and every Friday thereafter and is an all-afternoon bicycle workshop. If you need your bike fixed – or want to fix others – then come and join us. We’ve got tools and bicycle parts by the dozen and all are free. As usual, donations welcome.

We should also be able to post a regular events list in the coming days so that you know the days that we’re open, what we’re doing and what we aren’t.


See you soon.