this map is interactive

The "Loakes & Co Trail of Destruction" was one of two events in the 2007 E17 Arts trail, that were organised by antiscrap, the campaign to stop the destruction of our two local museums. The event caused controversy when the council announced they were withdrawing their advertising of the whole of the Art Trail, which included work by some 90 local artists. This action was greeted with disbelief and dismay by the artist community and the wider public alike.

The council have never come clean as to who organised their action, wether it was an over zealous officer or and elected member. But their attempted justification was clear, the work concerned portrayed the the council in a poor light, and opposed their actions and as such it had to be banned. They couched this in fancier language, they claimed the works lied about the council, without saying what the lies were, and they falsely said that council employees could not handle, ie distribute, material that ran counter to council policy.

Not once did they approach antiscrap for an explanation or understanding of the work. They did approach the organisers of the Art Trail to have the map withdrawn, and reprinted with the offending works removed. They were politely told that would not happen.

With that mean spirited display of antidemocratic and anti artistic feeling the Trial of Destruction received exceptional press coverage before it had ever happened, this no doubt contributed to the success of the event.

On the day the white boiler suited antiscrapers assembled outside the closed toilets in front of the William Morris Gallery, with the giant figure of the death of culture lurking around. Soon a crowd developed and the tour began, as they moved from place to place more people gathered, the crowd ebbing and flowing as it traveled. At its biggest there were over 100 people on it.

The purpose of the event was to highlight the way council cuts were affecting culture in the borough. The original campaigning around the cuts in the William Morris Gallery and Vestry House Museum had thrown up an alarming situation in the borough. This ranged from the effects of a massive hike in the rental of council rooms, causing clubs to disband and the Waltham Forest Philharmonic and West Essex Choir to move away, to the demolition of our only theatre leaving amongst other things the Scout group with nowhere to have their Gang Show. It took in the fact that this borough was once the home of the British film industry, and now we don't have a single cinema, and that the home of the finest collection of William Morris's art in the world is destined by the council to become a wedding venue.

The finale of the event was outside the Vestry House Museum, where singers and poets entertained us, on the way we had been enthralled by rap artists, verbal historians, ranters, philosophers, actors and in general people who love this borough and what it could bring to us, if only it were allowed. One of the finest happenings we have ever seen.

"Reelnews" the film making collective documented the whole thing and their record of it is available on a DVD from; www.reelnews its issue 10 you are after...........