Q&A: Vincent Hayes, founder of Brick Lane Music Hall

PUBLISHED: 09:00 06 September 2017

Brick Lane Music Hall

Credited with restoring and reopening the run-down St Mark’s Church as Brick Lane Music Hall, Vincent Hayes speaks about his love for the community and need for more river crossings

What’s your connection with the borough?

I have lived and worked in Newham since 2003, when I began the renovation of the former St Mark’s Church in North Woolwich. In 2004 the venue re-opened as Brick Lane Music Hall, and now plays to audiences of up to 200 people with live entertainment, bar, and catering, but we have never altered the integrity of the building which had Grade II status. It was actually upgraded to Grade II* in 2012 because of the sympathetic nature of the restoration and its fitting use as a music hall theatre.

What’s the best thing about working or living in the borough?

I love the sense of community. I was born in Galway and was drawn to the East End because people here actually communicate with one another. Out shopping or walking in Newham there is always a chat to be had or perhaps just a smile.

What one thing would you change?

The most important thing to change would be the river crossings. In Newham, we are landlocked without any bridges between Tower Bridge and Dartford Crossing. As Mayor [of London], Boris Johnson cancelled the opportunity for a new one.

Use three words to describe the area?

Interesting, inclusive, involved

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

I once met the late Sir Noel Coward after the opening night of a play at the Queen’s Theatre. He was holding court at the after-show party held at the home of the producer Binkie Beaumont. Sheridan Morley, who wrote A Talent to Amuse, was there and Sir Noel captivated everyone recounting amusing episodes from his extraordinary life.

What new law would you introduce if you were the prime minister?

I would introduce a law that would see all fly-tippers have their vehicles confiscated and their licenses endorsed accordingly. Their activities are a blight on Newham.

If you were the editor of this paper, what issues in the borough would you focus on?

I would introduce a weekly item about the people who make a

real difference to the lives of residents in Newham and those heroes who contribute to the community by their selfless actions.

Latest Newham Stories

Yesterday, 18:45

The community has rallied together after a wildfire engulfed the grasslands of Wanstead Flats yesterday (July 15) - the biggest grass fire in London’s history.

Metropolitan Police
Yesterday, 17:33

A number of roads remain closed following the major fire which engulfed Wanstead Flats yesterday (July 15) - London’s biggest ever grass fire.

Yesterday, 16:58

Wanstead Flats’ iconic skylarks have escaped the wrath of the huge wildfire that engulfed the grassland yesterday (July 15) - the biggest grass fire in London’s history.

London Fire Brigade
Yesterday, 16:00

Open Doors: Vote 100 is the latest event in Newham to celebrate women receiving the vote.

Yesterday, 14:58

It’s not just teenagers who have been taking exams this summer.

Yesterday, 14:00

A young man from Newham has appeared in court charged with trying to lay his hands on £300,000 in criminal cash.

Snaresbrook Crown Court
Yesterday, 14:00

Wapping Remains Ladies over 30’s team continued their winning streak last week, beating Worcester (in Worcester) 8-0 in the semi-finals of the National over 30’s Cup to earn their place in the final on Saturday.

Yesterday, 13:06

An urgent safety warning has been launched after hundreds of firefighters battled a wildfire Wanstead Flats - the biggest grass fire in London’s history.


Newsletter Sign Up

Newham Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now