The Horse Hospital

  • Art
  • Arts centres
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Bloomsbury Free

Three floors of film, music and art entertainment in central London.

Venue name: The Horse Hospital
Address: Colonnade
Opening hours: 12noon-6pm Mon-Sat
Transport: Tube: Russell Sq
Price: £7, concs £5
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London Aficionado

Hidden away in the backstreets of Bloomsbury, and opposite the Friend At Hand pub (where David Letterman apparently quaffed a beer or three in his youth), The Horse Hospital is one of London’s more unique arts venues. The building dates from 1797 and was once used as stabling for the sick horses of cab drivers. The concrete ramps that enabled the horses to be led in to the building and up to each floor are still in place, as are a number of iron pillars and several original iron tethering rings.  

Hosting a variety of events encompassing art, film, music, fashion, literature and more, its programme tends to veer towards the underground and avant-garde. In the winter months it can get quite nippy in the old building and queuing for the one and only (outdoor) loo can perhaps be a little frustrating, but these are a couple of minor drawbacks that one is happy to live with in order to experience the venue. 

Sadly, like so much of the cultural fabric of London, the building is currently under threat, due to the owners putting it up for sale. A campaign is under way to keep the arts programme functioning while they continue to consider their options for the future. You can read all about it (and ways you can help) on their website. It really is a unique venue. Let’s hope it survives to ensure its continuation as a key cultural attraction of London.