London’s Cork Street Galleries Threatened With Closure

Cork Street, the iconic international art street, is in danger of being demolished and turned into luxury apartments, offices and retail spaces. We are aiming for 10,000 signatures by the 30th September in order to highlight this at the next West End Commission (due on the 1st October) and with Westminster’s local councillors and MP. The objective of this petition is to oppose the developer’s planning application, and to preserve Cork Street as an area of artistic and cultural importance.

For almost 90 years, Cork Street in Mayfair has been one of the most famous streets for art galleries in London, and possibly the world. Cork Street is known and loved not only in Britain but internationally, and provides a major draw to London and the UK throughout the course of a year. The history and atmosphere of this street, as well as its close proximity to the Royal Academy of Art, make this a unique place to visit for collectors, art enthusiasts, students and tourists alike.

The careers of many prominent British artists – Barbara Hepworth, Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, and Lynn Chadwick, to name a few – have been closely related to Cork Street.

In August 2012, Standard Life, the landlord for seven galleries on Cork Street, sold the building to a property developer Native Land. That means that the Mayor Gallery (the oldest gallery on Cork Street), Beaux Arts, Alpha Gallery, Adam Gallery, Stoppenbach & Delestre, Waterhouse & Dodd, and Gallery 27 will lose their leases, possibly as early as next year, when the building will be potentially knocked down and the property turned into a residential development solely for profit by these developers. Their planning application is expected within the next three months according to a trusted and reliable source. If planning for this is approved, Pollen Estate, owner of many of the properties on the opposite side of Cork Street housing another dozen galleries, will doubtless follow suit, and this most British of institutions will be lost forever.

The effect of this closure will be far reaching, not only for the galleries but also their stakeholders and indeed the artists. Businesses such as shippers, framers, catalogue producers and other local service providers will be severely damaged as well. Mayfair’s rising rents and astronomical premium rates, guarantee that there will never be such a prominent and focussed street dedicated to the promotion of artistic and creative talent of all periods in this area again. Please object to this potential threat by signing the “Save Cork Street” petition and help save part of London’s cultural heritage!

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Twitter: @savecorkstreet


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