The HSCB’s Hilary Powell and Dan Edelstyn (Picture: Peter Searle)
It was while watching a documentary that declared that 97% of the real money in our society is created out of thin air that we decided to start printing our own cash. Most of the money in the UK is created as interest bearing debt when banks make loans. Our group decided that if the Bank of England and high-street chains can create money out of nothing, then why couldn’t we? However, rather than using the proceeds of our money creation for buying up corporate bonds, we would help the people most in need.
We therefore created the Hoe Street Central Bank (HSCB). It’s an artist-led scheme printing its own money as art. Half of the money we make will fund four local causes that are fighting the fallout of our country’s debt-based economic system; the proceeds from the other half will go on buying up and destroying £1m of local payday debt on the secondary market in Walthamstow. Our first run of notes was made by my partner, artist and printmaker Hilary Powell, from the shed at the bottom of the garden in December 2016. Since then we went on to scale up the enterprise, moving into the Hoe Street Bank in March of this year, in the old Co-Op bank in Walthamstow, in order to print out £50,000 worth of our own banknotes/artworks Hoe Street Central Bank was dubbed ‘The Rebel Bank’, and the name has stuck as a shorthand for our community-oriented, subversive, artistic confrontation.
Our community was failed by the banks, so we’ve started our own and put local heroes on our notes
GW: What a great project.