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 Cork Street, as well as its close proximity to the Royal Academy of Arts, 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.
A large part of Cork Street, the internationally renowned art district, is in danger of being demolished and turned into luxury apartments and non-art retail spaces. 21 independent art dealers operate out of Cork Street and two recent proposed property developments threaten to force out over half of these historic local art businesses.
These two separate developments would seriously damage the livelihoods of not only the galleries forced to relocate from Cork Street but also those remaining during the four years of major construction on and around Cork Street. This would inevitably result in this most British of institutions being lost forever.
The Save Cork Street Committee, representing all of the galleries on Cork Street, was formed in August 2012 in response to these planned developments. A Save Cork Street campaign was launched in the form of an e-petition to Westminster City Council to save part of London’s, and specifically the West End’s, cultural heritage. In just one month more than 11,000 people signed the Save Cork Street petition, illustrating huge support from the arts world and from the general public in protecting Cork Street as the international arts destination, which it is.
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 focused street dedicated to the promotion of artistic and creative talent of all periods in this area again.
Please sign the “Save Cork Street” petition and help save part of London’s cultural heritage!