Our Story

What is Torriano Meeting House? It is a large room with a stage. It is not Quaker but does have a spirit. The spirit is anarchist, bohemian, poetic. It is a space for creative work and pleasure. It is a place for trying out things. It is a seed bed for great ideas (The Poetry School started in this room, as did Survivor's Poetry), great careers (Emma Thompson doing stand up comedy, Susan Hiller and Terence Davis' experimental films). It is a welcoming tiny room for the already greats: Stephen Spender, Labi Siffre, Beki Mseleku, John Hegley, John Arden, Margarettta D'Arcy. It has been a home to the culture of migrants especially Iraqis, Hungarians, Irish... a home to peace activists, Stonehenge Campaigners, community groups, community politics... The spirit of Torriano eagerly cross fertilises between the poets, artists, philosophers, scientists and storytellers.

A Visual History

Hungarian Association Archive
Hungarian Association
London Hungarians met at Torriano in the 1980s, and still run events to this day. Board painted by Agnes Hay
flyer design james berry judith kazantis
Early poetry flyer design
This was pre-computers, hence hand drawn and photocopying
Lewis Carroll Society
A 1980s talk by historian Ellis Hillman
Title edit 2!
Time Pieces Heath Stubbs
Time Pieces Heath Stubbs Desc
9 Paintings
Torriano Meeting House


Kate Wakeling & Lavinia Singer - Torriano Camarade!
Test two
Utopia & Praxis May68-May08 - In conversation with John Rety
Parny Wallace' automaton
Torriano Fun Palace 2019
Frescobaldi - Aria con Variazioni detta la Frescobalda played by John Nash

For me, the Torriano matters because eccentricity matters because it is the polar opposite of corporate facelessness. It is all emotion, a place where you can rehearse for a packet of biscuits if that’s all you have. It’s for the disenfranchised. It’s not FOR the community, it IS the community. It is crazy, ramshackle, unique. A reminder of an altogether better way of doing things.

Josh Darcy, founder member of the New Factory of the Eccentric Actor

This is a warm room in a draughty city – an almost hidden chamber, that opens its doors every Sunday night to poets and listeners of poetry. Bare floorboards, a raised platform with a piano, a screen, two chairs, a small table with a bunch of flowers in a jam jar, and a jug of water: all this sets the scene at the Meeting House. Like an old theatre, where the spirits of past productions have been absorbed into the fabric of the building, so this room is imbued with myriad poetic voices, living and dead, giving it a unique atmosphere.

Jehane Markham, poet and actor.

I always loved the way entry was ‘according to pocket and that spirit continues.

Linda Black, artist/poet