Meetings and minutes

If you would like to be part of the Torriano Working Group yahoolist and receive minutes and get involved with running Torriano Meeting House email hearing_eye[at]

Torriano Meeting House AGM 2016

Present: Eve Pearce, Susan Johns, Dan Kennedy, David Floyd, Lisa Kelly, Tom Rubens, Agnes Hay, Gianna Lapini, Peter Phillips, Emily Johns

Apologies: Chris Gutkind, Stephen Watts, Dinah Livingstone, Joan Michelson, Leah Fritz

1) Minutes of 2015 AGM
EJ recapped the minutes. SJ suggested an alteration to reflect accurate name of meeting: ‘Torriano Meeting House AGM’

Minutes were approved unanimously.

2) Annual Report – 2015 – 2016
EJ read out a list of activities taking place at Torriano Meeting House (TMH) over the course of the year :
Thursday Poets Group (weekly event)
Sunday Poetry readings (weekly)
Storytelling for beginners course
Anarchist Research Group (monthly event)
Unity Folk Club (monthly event)
Fleet Arts Collective (monthly)
Film made of ‘Vera’
Sante Refugee Mental Health Benefit
Socialist Party of Great Britain (monthly meeting)
Crick Crack Club
Torriano Story Night (monthly event)
Different Planet Arts rehersals
Magic Mad Hat impro courses (weekly)
Camden Labour Party meetings
Socialist Party meetings
Song Writing workshop
New Factory of the Eccentric Actor ‘Lenin in London’ rehersals
Booklaunch Grenadine Press
Radical Routes co-operative network meeting
Eve Pearce voice workshops
Lily Dior singing rehersals and lessons
Exhibition: Urja Burkhart paintings
Fun Palace
Wilf rehersals
Neighbours party
The World is my Country exhibition and week of events on resistance to First World War
A Conversation about Hungary (4 events)
‘Hope for great Things to happen’ New Factory event
Solstice social
Magma hire
Howard Fritz exhibition and writing workshop
Green Party election training
Tristan Cooke reading
International Women’s Day celebration
Chelsea art students show
Momentum meeting
J. Punter theatre rehersal hire
Torriano Working Group meetings

EJ reported that the committee continued through the year to press London Borough of Camden for a new lease.

3) Accounts
Balance Sheet – 31 March 2016

Income & Expenditure:
– Accumulated surplus – £59

Current Assets
– Bank & Building Society – £19,049

Current Liabilities
– Accruals – accountancy fees – £480
– Due to Susan Johns – £18,510

Income & Expenditure – 2015/16:
– Income – £11,101
– Expenses – £4,840

Profit for the year £6,261

Rates – £1,885
Water – £211
Printing – £24
Lighting & Heating – £764
Telephone – £413
Repairs & Maintenance – £218
Refreshments – £97
Insurance – £676
FSA – £60
Accountancy – £480
Sundries – £12

GL asked whether we should have a note in the accounts to reflect the fact that we have not been paying rent while attempting to negotiate a new lease with London Borough of Camden.

SJ and EJ agreed to raise this issue with the account and ask his advice.

Aside from this query, the accounts were approved unanimously.

4) Election of Officers.
DK was elected as chair. Nominated by AH, seconded by SJ. Elected unanimously.
Chris Gutkind was elected secretary. Nominated by EJ, seconded by DK. Elected unanimously.
Emily Johns was elected treasurer. Nominated by LK, seconded by GL. Elected unanimously.



Present were:–Emily Johns, Hylda Sims, Dinah Livingstone, Peter Phillips, Tom Rubens (minutes), Eve Pearce, Janet Simon, Dennis Evans, Lisa Kelly, Dan Kennedy, Chris Gutkind, Penny Dimond, Susan Johns.

Apologies from:–Angela Kirby, Roy Lockett, Chris Gray, Stephen Watts

One: Minutes of 2104 AGM.

Emily read out the contents of the Minutes, inc. details of the Accounts and the Election of Officers. Approved.

Two: Annual Report, 4.14—4.15.

The Report was presented by Emily Johns. It listed a very wide range of activities and events, involving groups and organisations of all kinds—artistic, communal, political. These details showed how important Torriano Meeting House is as a community venue. There were more events than in previous years.

Information was also given about fundraising for TMH by the Torriano Support Group Poetry Competition.

We are still awaiting a lease renewal from Camden Council, for the last year TMH has been on a day to day tenancy. Camden Council has not sent invoice for rent despite continued prompting; this is reflected in the Financial Accounts.

Three: Finance / Accounts.

The accounts, drawn up by Lakhan Samuels, were presented and agreed.

Four: Election of Officers.

Chair: Dan Kennedy (proposed by Penny Dimond, seconded by Dinah Livingstone). Treasurer: Emily Johns (proposed by Dan Kennedy, seconded by Penny Dimond). Secretary: Susan Johns (proposed by Penny Dimond seconded by Dinah Livingstone).

Five: Upcoming Events and Meetings.

On the last Monday of each month, there will be meetings of the Torriano Working Group. These meetings will take place at 12.30 pm and 6pm alternately. New upcoming events include: a week-long anti-war celebration; an exhibition of Howard Fritz’s paintings; a Tai Chi class; a play-writing group.

Torriano meeting house working group minutes 6 Nov 2014

Present: Emily (minutes), Sue, Lisa, Sylvie, Eve
Apologies: David, Ruth, Gianna, Joan, Dan, Chris G, Hylda

Next meeting: 5pm Sunday 14 December. Also if needed an emergency meeting will be called if the lease turns out to be unfavourable.

1) Lease progress
Ruth, Emily, David and Sue had a meeting with Simone at Camden Voluntary Action. She had given a copy of our lease to a solicitor to look at and to compare to the new Community Centre leases. What we have been offered is a business lease. Solicitor advised that the Community Centre lease is better in all ways: lower rent, council responsible for external repairs and painting, opportunity for tenant to break contract with three months notice if in financial difficulties etc. We have since written to the council asking to have a Community Centres lease and are waiting on feedback.

2) Publicity
Lisa has been doing publicity on twitter. EMILY to send a how get a following on twitter doc to LISA. She will try to follow and be followed by Poetry Library if they do that.

Torriano Poetry Competition: LISA to take flyers to Poetry Library. SYLVIE take flyers to Kings Cross area and Walthamstow libraries, EVE to Hornsey libraries, EMILY to East Sussex venues. Thanks to Chris Gutkind for copying flyers.

3) Fundraising
EVE to do voice workshop benefit in mid January. Pick date and start publicity soon. She will publicise to Poetry in the City contacts.

EVE is thinking of doing a Shakespeare night.

‘How to Apply for a Grant’ workshop to be held in December for all Torriano users interested in funding projects. LISA, DAVID and EMILY to pick a date and advertise.

4) Reports
The Fun Palace was a wonderful success. 2 long days of science, poetry, plays, music, robots, time machines, mobiles, sewing, origami, lectures. Many locals, children, new folk, old folk.

5) Events planning
End of the month “Bakunin: Tiger of Wrath” play by the New Factory.

Mid January a evening of Persian Delights and the Drawing Paradise on the Axis of Evil exhibition EMILY to organise.

Season of Travellers and Gypsies events including film by Tim Neet, Stonehenge camapign. Raise grant funding from Lush for this. Publicise through Irish Centres, Jenny Pearson, Mark Brown, Dale Farm network.

Poetry. Lisa would like some online shared list for people who host Sunday evenings, EMILY suggested googledocs, will put David and Lisa in touch over this.
Eve requests that ROY hosts Andrew Motion one Sunday. She also suggested having a Torriano Poets reading at Crouch End Festival, would JOAN MICHAELSON be up for organising this?

Also planned before Xmas an Open House and a Book sale or swop.

6) Practicals
DAN is getting electrician quotes to redo lighting.
SUE is getting boiler serviced and also contacting the Bankers who would like to salve their consciences by painting community spaces.

Nice meeting. Would like to keep up the numbers of people coming to working group in order to share out work.

Minutes of Torriano Meeting House Working Group Meeting – 2nd October 2014

Date of next meeting: Thursday 6th November at 6pm

Present: Penny Diamond, Hylda Sims, Susan Johns, Chris Gray, Gloria Lazenby, Cristina Viti, Emily Johns, Dan Kennedy, Maria (?), David Floyd (minutes)

Apologies: Sylvia Edwards, Beata Duncan, Angela Kirby, Stephen Watts, Lisa Kelly, Joan Michelson, Leah Fritz, Ruth Ingram, Chris Gutkind

Updates – LB Camden
EJ reported that Geoffrey Hopwood at LB Camden had said that, based on user information provided, they can provide TMH with 50% rent relief – under a policy in place until March 2016.

As a result rent will now be around £6,500 compared to the £13,000 it would have been under the revised valuation. Under the previous lease, the rent was around £10,000

EJ asked whether we should query whether we should previously have been paying £5,000 – could the subsidy be backdated?

PD & GL said it was worth asking the question.

Rent relief would be until 2016 but lease would run until 2020.

CG asked what that position is re: legal advice? Pat Mitchell could give advice.

SJ said Simone Hensby at Voluntary Action Camden had passed the lease to Peter Korn (a solicitor they work with) for legal advice.

EJ suggest meeting SH to talk about the lease and how to approach the question of overpayment.

EJ asked whether TMH should continue to talk to councillors or respond to Geoffrey Hopwood.

GL said continue to talk to GH in case someone else comes back with a different opinion.

EJ would reply to GH pointing out activities had been consistent over many years and relief should be backdated (to when rent relief scheme was introduced in 2011).

PD suggested asking LB Camden not to increase the rent to compensate for overpayment.

SJ pointed out the rental value was handled by a different department.

EJ suggested we say we are flexible about how a rebate could be provided.


Practical Tasks:
EJ asked whether anyone could take on task of commissioning an electrician – quotes.

SJ explained there was a problem with dimmer switch but general need for all lighting to be looked at

DK agreed to approach 3 electricians to come and talk to SJ.

HS new a Dulwich based electrician. GL new someone local.

SJ would get someone to service the boiler.

Fun Palace:
PD said 134 fun palaces across the UK. 4 in Camden.

Music, poets and making things.

Some people attending who had met Joan Littlewood.

Eleanor Bron offers support but is not attending.

PD asked if it would be possible to go in the garden and look at the stars through a telescope.

SJ suggested the weather could be a problem.

PD asked if anyone had a tripod for the telescope.

EJ asked whether we could put Fun Palace leaflets in councillors’ pigeon holes tomorrow?

Maria offered to take leaflets to Judd Street buildings.

Meeting evaluation:
PD very positive – please come to fun palace

DK – great news

Maria – used to live in Charlton kings road in the 80s.

HS – delighted to arrive 10 mins & find it hadn’t started.

SJ – very good, where was RA & RL?

CG – good news. 

DF – process has been useful.

GL – good to walk in late and her rent has been halved.

CV – keen to help with increasing use.

HS raised idea of Torriano membership scheme.

EJ – nice short meeting, good to have got a working group formed.

Date of next meeting:

Thursday 6th November at 6pm

Minutes of Torriano Meeting House AGM – 4pm – 6pm – 27th July 2014


Leah Fritz, Gianna Lapini, Dan Kennedy, Joan Michelson, Stephen Watts, Chris Gutkind, Eve Pearce, Peter Phillips, Katherine Gallagher, Sylvia Edwards, Tom Rubens, Lisa Kelly, Ruth Appleton, Annmarie Nicholson, Ian Nicholson, David Floyd (minute taker), Penny Diamond, Susan Johns, Emily Johns


Jane Duran, Roy Lockett, Maggie Butt

Part One – AGM:

Attendees contributions are recorded using initials. Torriano Meeting House is hereafter recorded as ‘TMH’.

Recap of legal structure:

EJ reminded attendees of detail TMH legal structures (appendix 1).

Minutes of last meeting:

EJ explained that the previous year’s AGM had been a short meeting where officers undertook official business only.

Annual report 2013-14:

EJ presented a short annual report for 2013-14 (appendix 2).

EP pointed out that her name had been spelt incorrectly. It was agreed that this would be corrected.

Accounts 2013-14:

EJ presented draft accounts for 2013-14 (appendix 3). Accounts were not yet audited but would go to the accountant shortly.

EJ explained that there were no current plan to reclaim liabilities owed to Susan Johns but that the accountant had insisted that these were represented in the accounts.

Election of officers:

Chair: SE is current chair. Re-nominated by TR; seconded by CG; Elected unanimously.

Secretary: SJ is current secretary. Re-nominated by PD; seconded by SE; Elected unanimously.

Treasurer: EJ is current treasurer. Re-nominated by RA; seconded by CG; Elected unanimously.

Official business concluded.

Part Two – OGM:

Financial and legal history of Torriano Meeting House:

EJ explained the history of TMH and the changing relationship with London Borough of Camden (LBC) over the years.

EJ explained that the current situation was that the lease on TMH had run out (unexpectedly from LBC’s point of view) in June. LBC, on realising that this had happened had sent round a value to assess the rental value of TMH.

LBC had said that, based on the lease conditions, the rent cannot go down.

Current situation is a tenancy-at-will, with a cost of £30 per day – equivalent to £10,900 per year.

Rent is usually paid quarterly in advance.

No demand has yet been received under the new temporary arrangement.

Several attendees asked whether legal advice had been sought.

EJ said legal advice had not yet been sought.

Additional general comments related to finance:

LF noted that she had previously run a ‘Friends of Torriano scheme’, with members making a quarterly payment to support TMH.

SJ pointed out that June English organises the annual TMH poetry competition which raises significant funds for TMH.

KG said TMH poetry competition could be bigger with more effort from supporters to promote it.

Grant funding:

EJ noted the possibility of making funding applications under TMH banner.

LK would be happy to do a funding bid if training could be provided.

RA noted that training in fundraising is available from Voluntary Action Camden.

SW would look into funding opportunities that may be applicable to TMH.

Present situation:

Users and events:

RA asked how frequently TMH was used? Could it be advertised more widely for people to hire?

LF noted that if TMH was used full time, cleaning & maintenance may be an issue. Could a cleaner be hired on a weekly basis?

EP asked whether it is written down that users are responsible for cleaning TMH after using it.

SJ noted that is TMH was in full time use there wouldn’t be time for cleaning.

EJ proposed paying for cleaning if we have the money.

CG suggested having four or five people on a cleaning rota.

LK said popcorn eaters need to be reminded to clean up after themselves.

Day-to-day tasks:

SJ said there are roughly 12 key holders

Tasks –

Letting in and locking up: PD and CG offered to do this.


Flyers, website and Facebook – currently managed by EJ

Email list – currently managed by DF

Newspaper listings – currently managed by TR

Poetry library listings – moved to new system, DF to investigate.

EP offered to take flyers to Sadlers Wells.

Volunteers were requested to take flyers to libraries.

CG offered to print flyers at work – both small flyers and A3 poster for window.

EJ would email through flyer for printing.

LK agreed to take on promotion via Facebook and/or Twitter.

KG said performers need to be informed that they should round up their friends to come to readings. There should be a regular list of suggestions to performers to remind them about promotion.

SJ noted the need to publicise other events at TMH as well as poetry readings.


Renewing lease:

Legal advice had been suggested.

RA said VAC would provide support on leases.

Roy Lockett should be asked to discuss within the Labour Party.

JM offered to make a phone call to chase up the lease.

RA offered to intercede with the Council.

PP said that as we had, under previously lease, contracted out of the Landlord & Tenant Act, LBC could ask for whatever they wanted.

SJ said the lease had been the same since 1983.

EJ suggested a small committee to work on the lease: JM, RA, SJ and EJ volunteered. Roy Lockett was suggested as a member in his absence.

Management structure:

EJ suggested a quarterly management meeting for TMH.

DK, JM, HS, CG, EP, LK, RA, EJ, SJ and DF agreed to join the committee.

Finance and income:

LF suggested ‘Friends of Torriano’ be re-activated.

EJ asked whether a donate button could be added to the website. DF said this was possible.

EJ & DF agreed to run a grants & projects workshops for TMH supporters keen to develop projects at TMH and find funding for them.

CG suggested a weekend event where people could be asked to donate a piece of art to be sold in aid of TMH.

Fundraising dinners were suggested.

EP said readers should be encouraged to bring wine.

PD said that there were funding opportunities for ‘Fun Palace’

PD would like to take on TMH Film Society, DK would also like to be involved.

LF suggested holding a fundraising auction.

Additional practical tasks:

A qualified electrician was needed to sort out the lights.

Dates of next meeting:

Attendees and others to be notified of date of next meeting via email.

OGM business concluded.

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