The end of an era…

Dear all,

Today is a day we have to make a very sad, difficult announcement.

In just over one month, we’ll be closing the doors to our beloved, inaugural and incredibly special East Tub. After a dogged and determined fight, we’ve had to raise our white flag against the rent rise sent our way.

In a cultural and creative corner of Bethnal Green we’ve been in incredible company amongst galleries, maker spaces and start-ups, talking of which we’ve supported and incubated over 120 start-ups from within our converted church since opening our doors in June 2012. With a fascinating history, our building has seen a synagogue, a nightclub, recording studios (notable artists include the Arctic Monkeys who recorded their first studio album there!) and finally a vibrant Bathtub, or “Tub” as we affectionately call it!

The view from our mezzanine chill-out area

Over one weekend in that now distant month of June 2012, our Founders rallied a group of mates and set to creating one of the most unique workspaces and incubators in London — and this was before such spaces were really a ‘thing’! Determined to build a community of likeminded, collaborative and driven entrepreneurial folk our Founders Fred and Ed did just that. Supported by trustees and collaborators the Tub grew to provide members with the critical lifelines to not only survive those rocky early days, months and years, but to go on and connect, grow and thrive.

Through offering an affordable home inclusive of everything practical needed to start a business plus the added support network of mentors, advisors, partners and critically those in the same boat (or Tub!) we were able to consistently deliver a simply amazing space to build a business from.

Over the past 4 years we’ve supported every type of business from social enterprises to EdTech to creative agencies to fashion designers to those driving a social movement from the ground up. It honestly has to be one of the most inspiring environments to be in day to day and be witnessing, supporting and sharing the journeys of genuine people building businesses driven by a genuine passion.

One of our Tubber communal lunches

From the rough to the smooth to the despair to the amazing we’ve been there and at every turn we’ve tried to provide the right support to help navigate, overcome and capitalise in order to keep the businesses moving forward. But we’re just the enablers. It’s the entrepreneurs who get up and do the hard work, day in day out. They’re who we admire the most and take inspiration from in trying to build Bathtub into the business it has the potential to be.

East Tub’s glorious main workspace

So, why is all this coming to an end?

In an economy of regeneration, development at a rate of knots and monetary madness our rents have been increased by 50%. We negotiated, we considered, we fought but — alas — we were left with no choice but to accept that our time has come to an end in East Tub. Infuriating and saddening in equal parts as a charity who exists to support those taking the first baby steps in to business, we cannot and will not raise our prices as it would defeat the object and ostracise those we’re designed to support.

Our situation is far from unique at the moment, only last year The Trampery faced the same situation just up the road. But it doesn’t make it any easier. Only yesterday, one of our Tubbers said ‘we know it’s a problem in London but this time it’s affecting me personally, my life.’ We couldn’t agree more, it’s a pill that’s hard to swallow.

So on 13 May our tenure will come to an end. Boy has it been a ride! We’d like to thank all those who’ve played a part, be it as a mentor, advisor, supporter, advocate, friend and of course, our Tubbers. A wonderful, wonderful bunch who we’ll miss dearly but this isn’t the end. Some will join us on our journey in our other Tubs and the remainder will become valued alumni — once a Tubber, always a Tubber!

So thank you, and on to organising the mother of all goodbye parties to celebrate this amazing era.

Over and out,

Team Tub x

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