Hackney has a seaside — and here’s the proof

POSTERS from an era when Hackney was a byword not for hipsterism but for people power are being assembled for a superb exhibition next year. The images, produced at Chats Palace, left, mostly in the 1970s and 1980s, will fascinate social observers, illustrating not just alternative society advertising styles but reflecting local political and social issues of the time.

Until 1998 Chats Palace in Chatsworth Road, Homerton, had a screen-printing facility, set up by René Rice, a conservator, which produced posters or helped activists and local people to make them. The community arts centre also presented music, comedy, theatre, dance, disability arts and other projects for more than 35 years.

Despite funding cuts it is still open several days a week. Its photography workshop has attracted interest from young people as film cameras have regained some of the ground lost to digital photography.

Peter Young, of the centre’s Photochats, told Loving Dalston: “Screen printing stopped at Chats Palace in the late 1990s as it became a bit out of date. After we’ve exhibited the posters, we’re planning to show photographs of events in the 1990s.”

The Chats Palace building was erected in 1913 as a Carnegie library. It became a council library but was closed in 1974. Two years later it was taken over by local people. 

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* The poster exhibition will open next May as part of the building’s centenary celebrations. The pictures cannot be examined by hand yet but a selection can be viewed at the centre’s blog.

* The top poster on this page is from 1975 and advertises a festival that became hugely popular after its start in 1973. Do you have a 1973 poster for the fest from that year? If so, fragilearchivists@gmail.com would love to hear from you.

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