WHERE YOUR WHOLE WORLD MEETS
THE TABERNACLE’s HISTORY
compiled by Tom Vague www.historytalk.org -Getting it Straight in Notting Hill Gate
These walls breathe ‘breakthrough’ – The Taj Mahal of North Kensington
1869 ‘The old tin Tabernacle’ was established on Talbot Road by the Protestant preacher Gordon Forlong.
1888: The Romanesque red brick Talbot Tabernacle was completed. Lord Shaftesbury laid the foundation stone in 1883.
1900s As the originally upper-middle class Colville area went into decline the Tabernacle was also used as a soup kitchen, ragged school and nursery? where from? The back of the building hosted a sunday school.
1950s: Powis Square is epicentre of Rachman’s slum empire. As more West Indians come to live in Notting Hill (7000 by 1958), Rachman was one of the few landlords to rent properties to them. But he exploited the situation by overcrowding and overcharging.
1958: Barred from the pubs, the West Indian hustlers built their own scene of illegal ‘blues’ clubs – tensions rise with the white youths of Notting Dale, fanned by Oswald Mosley and his fascists. Riots break out over August Bank Holiday, causing national outcry. The area was attacked by fascists and Teddy boys.
1960′s: Brian Jones John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins residents in Powis Square. Counter Culture takes root nearby. London Free School opens. Michael de Freitas has become Michael X, Britain’s Black Power leader. World Heavy Champion Muhammed Ali visits Portobello Rd.
1965 The Tabernacle appeared in Richard Lester’s swinging 60s film The Knack (and How to Get It). The Powis Square blues club owner Michael de Freitas became Michael X the local black power leader after Malcolm X visited the area.
1966: London Free School hippy community action featured the first Notting Hill Carnival procession organised by Rhaune Laslett. Pink Floyd founded British psychedelia in All Saints church hall and Muhammad Ali toured the area. Nancy Sinatra appeared by a Powis Square street sign on the cover of ‘Nancy in London’.
1968-73: Pink Floyd debut with a residency at All Saints Church Hall. Hawkwind form nearby. The BBC film ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ at The Tabernacle. Hendrix, Marley, Van Morrison and Rolling stones are regulars at The Globe. 25 Powis Square starred as Mick Jagger’s house in Performance, the square gardens were forced open by radical hippies. Through the rock’n'roll years the likes of the Stones, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and Van Morrison appeared at the Globe along Talbot Road.
1971 Powis Square during the Notting Hill People’s Carnival was the venue of Lemmy’s debut with Hawkwind.
1973: The Siege of Notting Hill – local councillors are locked into All Saints Hall to listen to demands that include opening the Tabernacle as a Community Centre and saving the Electric Cinema from redevelopment. The Tabernacle is squatted and will soon become the heart of the community
1974-79: After reputedly having a phase as a Chinese temple and being closed for many years, the Tab was taken over by the Council. Demolition plans were thwarted by community campaigns, including an attempt to squat the building, which forced the Council to buy it for use as a community centre.
As the Tabernacle became the ‘focal point for the black Caribbean community in North Kensington’, the music changed from non-conformist Protestant hymns to Ethiopian Orthodox Rastafarian reggae; featuring a Legalise Cannabis Campaign benefit by Moa Anbessa and the Mighty Observer sound-system Dub club.
1979 The Tabernacle was granted Grade-II Listed building status. At the end of the 70s Joe Strummer of the Clash appeared at the time of ‘London Calling’ as part of the Ladbroke Grove All Stars (a reunion of the 101’ers).
1988 In the Tabernacle’s centenary year Strummer reappeared with his post-Clash group Latino Rockabilly War. As the Tab became west London’s premier rap venue there were some early hip-hop pronouncements from the pulpit by the Krew and JC001 and a graffiti workshop on the premises. (+?) The W11 Express club at the Tab was reviewed in Time Out as ‘an ideal venue that attracts a very mixed crowd with its blend of guest DJs spinning the latest big dance beats.’
1990′s: The Stones and Pink Floyd rehearse at the Tabernacle. It reopens after a Â£4 million refurbishment, featuring a new hall, studios, art gallery and bar/restaurant. The first 21st century Portobello Film Festival is screened at the Tab. Joe Strummer dies in 2002. In 2006, the building is used as the rehearsal studio of The Good, the Bad and the Queen.
Out of Ray Jones’s Roughler cabaret nights came the Notting Hill panto, featuring local celebrities including Keith and Kevin Allen, the market trader Eddie Cain, Andrea Oliver and Anna Chancellor of Four Weddings fame. Lily Allen made her stage debut at an early 90s panto at the Tab.
1993 After the Tabernacle Arts and Community Centre went bankrupt, the Council took over the running of the building and Gill FitzHugh was appointed director of the Tabernacle Trust.
1994 At a Rwanda benefit gig All Saints appeared low down on the bill also featuring Don-e, Osibisa and Ebony steel band. Right Said Fred appeared and the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd used the hall for rehearsals.
1995 Plans were announced to return the centre to community control with a £1 million Lottery bid to upgrade the building. Mr C of the Shamen made a donation from the profits of ‘Ebenezer Goode’ to the North Kensington Sports Academy at the Tab run by the boxer Tyrone Forbes.
1996 The trust received a £3 million Lottery grant for refurbishment as an arts centre and Carnival permanent base and a further £1 million came from City Challenge, RBKC and charitable trusts.
1998 The Tabernacle reopened as a state-of-the-art community centre, featuring a new hall, bar, studios, the Tablet gallery and the Good Cook restaurant run by Allegra McEvedy, previously of Robert de Niro’s Tribeca Grill. The Windrush 50th anniversary multi-cultural history week was opened by Frank Bruno.
1999 The Tab was awarded the RBKC environment award for restoration and conversion. The new arts centre was officially launched by Vanessa and Richard Branson, Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall and the Duke of Gloucester.
2000 Into the 21st century there was a Santana showcase gig attended by All Saints and Blur members. The Tabernacle hosted the Mangrove steel band, Beat Dis jazz collective, Portobello2000 internet radio station and Portobello Film Festival. Gill FitzHugh was succeeded as Tabernacle director by Karen Woodley.
2003 After the death of Joe Strummer there was a tribute gig featuring the surviving 101’ers. 2004 The Tab hosted the Mas and Mayhem Carnival history exhibition. (+?) 2005 Due to a funding crisis the Tabernacle Trust went into liquidation and the building was forced to close for a year. (+?) Anton Phillips took over as director.
2006 The Good, the Bad and the Queen featuring Damon Albarn (of Blur and Gorillaz) and Paul Simonon (of the Clash) rehearsed and made their debut on the premises. (+?) The Council carried out a public consultation on the future of the Tabernacle.
2007 Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett of Gorillaz rehearsed their Monkey opera. The Notting Hill panto A Twisted Carol featured Lilly and Alfie Allen, Miquita Oliver and Jaime Winstone.
2008 50 years on from the race riots, the Tabernacle reopened with a staging of Vanessa Walters’ Michael X monologue play starring Clint Dyer as Powis Square’s most notorious resident.
2009 – Present: The Tabernacle officially re-opened on Carnival weekend, August 2009 under the trust of Carnival Village. A partnership of Carnival Partners Mangrove, Ebony Steelband, ABC The Association of British Calypsonians and Yaa Asantewaa Arts.
Carnival Village Trust is a unique collaboration between its partners whose objects are to develop the art and business of Carnival. With preparation and performance central to the art form Carnival Village’s vision is to create a greater awareness of Carnival Arts.
Lily Allen played a MySpace secret gig. Florence + the Machine appeared with Jarvis Cocker of Pulp, Take That, Jamie Callum and Ellie Goulding played the same week? Finley Quaye, Lee Perry, Kate Walsh, the Trojans, Psychic TV, Aqualung, A Lad in the Grove panto, talks by the likes of Brian Eno and Stephen Fry, the Prohibition club and a Michael Jackson day.
Toby Young, Dan Cruickshank, Speech Debelle, Brett Anderson of Suede, Filthy Dukes, Scouting For Girls, Delphic, Mike Snow, Corrine Bailey-Rae, James Rhodes, James Marsters, Medium Rare Cabaret, Peter Serafinowicz, Stephen Merchant, David Walliams, Kojo, Tim Key, Stewart Lee, Viv Westwood, DJ Taylor, Robert Irwin, Luke Wright, Last Tuesday Society, Bookslam, the London Jazz festival, Carnival Comedy Club, Portobello Film Festival, Pan Jazz, Hendrick’s literary salon, Florence and the Machine, Lily Allen, Take That, Jamie Cullum, Jarvis Cocker, Speech Debelle, Brett Anderson, Finlay Quaye, Filthy Dukes, Scouting For Girls, Delphic, Miike Snow, Corrine Bailey Rae, James Rhodes, James Marsters, Medium Rare Cabaret, Peter Serafinowicz, Stephen Merchant, David Walliams, Kojo, Tim Key, Stewart Le, Vivienne Westwood, Lord Gawain Douglas, D J Taylor, Sir Robert Irwin, Dan Cruikshank, Luke Wright, Last Tuesday Society, Bookslam, London Jazz festival, Carnival comedy club, Portobello Film Festival, Pan Jazz, Hendricks Lecture Series and the Portobello Panto.The Tabernacle regaining her soul – we’ve had music from artist across all genres, both local and around the world..…Florence and the Machine, Lily Allen, Take That, Jamie Cullum, Jarvis Cocker, Speech Debelle, Brett Anderson, Finlay Quaye, Filthy Dukes, Scouting For Girls, Delphic, Mike Snow, Corrine Bailey Rae, James Rhodes, James Marsters, Medium Rare Cabaret, Stewart Lee, Stomp, D J Taylor, Sir Robert Irwin, Dan Cruikshank, Luke Wright, Last Tuesday Society, Bookslam, London Jazz festival, Pan Jazz, Adele, KT Tunstall, Baaba Maal, Emile Sande, Razorlight, Snow Patrol, Pixie Lott, Birdy, Roll Deep, Rodney P & Phife Dog, Handsome Family, Unthanks, Breakfast Band, Charlie Simpson, Mick Jones, Rotten Hill Gang, Jonathan Richman, Worlds Tallest Man, I’m from Barcelona, Marquis Toliver, Willis Earl Beal, Suspiciously Elvis, Dreadzone, Hendricks, Alexander D Great, Earl Oakin, The Staves, Catatonia, Tabernacle Folk Festival, Oneness Sankara, The Island Experiment, Remi Kanazi, Mama Africa, WOMATT, UK Unsigned, Jake Emlyn, Tariq, Gary Phelan, Pete Bennett, Everyoung, Bumi Thomas, Blake, LAU, Victor Deme, Lost in Mozart, Classical Composers of African Decent, Strummerville, Humphrey Littleton Band, Soul Food, Olaf Arnalds, Blast Beat, A.R.I.S.E, Behind the Groove, Mangrove Steel Band, Ebony Steel Band Association of Calypsonians, Spirit of Pan, Armenian Opera, Music Academy, Kanda Bongoman, Andreya Trianna , Rumer and with Smoke Fairies, Willy Mason and Marina & The Diamonds playing in the next few weeks.
2010 There were appearances by DBC Pierre, Jeanette Winterson, Liam Frost, Rumer, Kiki Dee, the Rotten Hill Gang, Dreadzone and Jerry Dammers.
2011 Adele made a showcase appearance at the Tab as her second album ‘21’ was released by the XL label down Blenheim Crescent. The former home secretary Jacqui Smith discussed pornography. (?) A public meeting was held about the commercial requirements of Council funding. Rev Tom Hollander appeared in the panto Robin Hood.
2012 The Tabernacle was sold out for 15 year old Birdy (Jasmine van den Bogaerde). The Tab history corner was founded. Coming up there’s a hip-hop history convention and Joe Strummer tribute night.
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