Liberties of the Savoy by Ruth Ewan
Published by Book Works & CREATE (2012)
Summoning the spirit of John Ball, Wat Tyler and the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, Ruth Ewan invited 200 teenagers from east London to take over The Savoy’s Lancaster Ballroom for an ambitious event, Liberties of the Savoy, which addressed the social history of the site: the immunity from prosecution wealthy debtors were offered by the historic Precinct of the Savoy, and the freedom of opulence and indulgence offered to those who can afford to guest at the hotel. Through a process of workshops, interviews and essays, young people respond to the demands of liberty through questions of injustice, class division, riots and racial inequality, in voices that resonate with the ancient call for freedom, common ownership and equality.
The book presents the plans, drawings, photographs, interviews and texts led by the students, and gathered throughout the project, alongside commissioned texts, and recipes by Martin Chiffers, executive pastry chef at The Savoy. The film, edited by Sam Hepworth, features video footage recorded by the young people, documenting both the event and the work of making it happen.