Rooms of our Own has taken a bit of a back seat over the last few months while we have all be working really hard to try to keep the Women’s Library where it belongs – in its purpose built home in Old Castle St.
Sadly our campaign has not succeeded. We think it is an extraordinary irony that LSE are SO keen to get their hands on all the precious archives and leaflets from past campaigns for Women’s Liberation. However they completely ignore a contemporary campaign to keep one of the few remaining Women’s spaces, refuse to meet with us for months, and tell us “no leafletting” is allowed in Houghton St. I just have this vision of 20 yrs hence when the LSE librarian is eager to get their hands on the leaflets we were forbidden to distribute so they can put them in a glass case in their library…….
So – we are left with the situation where there is a building…..which is I guess where Rooms of our Own’s main interest and expertise lies. Heritage Lottery Fund provided £4.2mn of public money to have this building designed and constructed, for the purpose of holding the Women’s Library collections. We have obtained a copy of the contract under Freedom of Information legislation, and the clauses are very clear. However sadly there IS a get-out in the Heritage Lottery can cancel obligations if they see fit. In London Met’s case they did see fit for reasons which are beyond our understanding.
Now London Met state that they have no intention of selling the building, but are going to use it for their own purposes! possibly moving some OTHER collections in there! How can that possibly be allowed?? SaveTWL is continuing to meet to discuss what we can do about this. Tower Hamlets Council is eager to support us. We are also concerned to ensure that LSE lives up to the promises in their bid; we suspect a few years down the line those promises wont be worth much…..