Stanley Halls, Croydon

An ornate Edwardian Grade II public halls in London SE25, being brought back to life by a community group, The Stanley People’s Initiative (SPI).

Stanley Halls was once significant for its avant-garde music and debate, by the turn of this century only a handful of groups were using it.

Croydon Council had managed it for many years and cuts to their service meant they had not been able to properly market the Halls and saw no option but to close it down. In 2011, a group of local people formed SPI to seek community asset transfer and manage the Halls.

SPI is on the verge of taking the lease and opening the Halls much as William Stanley, an Islington-born inventor, manufacturer and philanthropist, first envisaged them, as a place of entertainment, education, community and art. Added to this mix SPI wish to open an enterprise centre, badly needed in the area, to use and bring in an income from the multitude of 'back' rooms.

SPI is looking towards funding in the region of £3m to make the Halls accessible and restore some of this heritage. In the meantime, the volunteers at SPI have been allowed operational use of the Halls to try out public events, so there is a full programme of music, film, theatre and public meetings being planned and hosted.

This project is supported by The Prince's Regeneration Trust through the BRICK mentoring programme.