Among their common interests they found they had a link to the central London enclave of Fitzrovia: Garry as a long-time resident and Lucy who had been born there at the Middlesex Hospital. On discovering that this 250 year old institution was to be demolished, they moved rapidly to document it, contacting the developers to allow access to the site for an artistic intervention. They invited fine artist Graham Carrick who had lived opposite the hospital, specialist large-format photographer Peter Mackertich and audio-visual artist Pamela Furness to collectively respond to the rich history of this hospital’s huge site and unusually complex building. The works made and documented in-situ resulted in a unique documentation project spanning painting, film, found object, portrait photography and projections entitled ’Memory and Demolition’. So in 2008, Fitzrovia Noir was born.
Under this banner Garry, Lucy and Graham went on to produce ambitious art interventions in underused, unusual buildings across the UK and abroad, collaborating with Venezuelan artist Manuel Sanmartin on a number of showcases for Latin American and British artists. Locations included a former aircraft factory in Hatfield; an old Edinburgh chapel; a London crypt; a Cold War fallout shelter in Peterborough; the winding shed of a 19th Century Tyneside coalmine; a crumbling 13th Century French château and numerous spaces previously untried as sites for contemporary art. Most recently, through an ongoing partnership with Poplar HARCA housing association, Fitzrovia Noir converted an east London florists into a thriving community pub, The Tommy Flowers, now widely recognised as ‘a new model of creative outreach’ first cited by the Plunkett Foundation at the The House of Lords in 2019.
The fostering of emerging groups concerned with social justice and opportunities for all, continues at The Making Space, 48 Aberfeldy Street, offering modular space for development to local organisations such as The Wild Women Collective and international partnerships like Young Blood Initiative.
Establishing Fitzrovia Noir as a Community Interest Company in 2011, the last decade has seen their continuing commitment to activities which broaden access to the arts, working with many groups and engaging a wide range of residents in neglected neighbourhoods across London and North East England. This work has been made possible with development support from The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Heritage Fund, Local Trust, Trinity Buoy Wharf Trust and for the very first time, a direct Arts Council England grant in 2020.
Fitzrovia Noir’s immediate ambitions include a mobile glassblowing studio to tour as part of our commitment to public participation in creative making and the planning of an immersive workshop programme for schools. In the future Fitzrovia Noir aims to expand its reach into other parts of mainland Europe with a continuing programme of revitalising empty buildings with new art and activity.
To find out more about our Founders, please go here.