Tim Whitehouse gave up a secure career to set up The Hub, a live/work warehouse space that enables emerging creatives to survive in unaffordable London.

After studying fashion at university, Tim Whitehouse turned his back on a creative career for the security of teaching. But something wasn’t right. He quit his job to set up The Hub, a live/work warehouse space that enables emerging creatives – like younger brother Joshua Whitehouse (vocals More Like Trees, lead actor Northern Soul) – to survive in unaffordable London.

“I got the lease on The Hub to facilitate young creatives breaking into the industry. About eight years ago my dad had a stroke after he was made bankrupt, so it was also a chance to take the pressure off my parents, who were supporting my four fully- grown siblings. They’re intelligent graduates; it’s embarrassing to have to turn to disabled pensioners for something that should be within our grasp.

“You have to pay £40,000 to go to university now, whereas our parents were paid to go. They say the average wage in the UK is £27,000, but if you remove the top ten per cent, it’s actually under £13,000. How is anybody supposed to buy a house on that?

“Warehouses are a great place to live if you’ve just landed in London as they introduce you to a creative community – musicians, artists and actors who are just starting out. The people who get the most out of it are the ones who approach others and say, ‘I see you do this, I can do this. Do you want to do something together?’

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“I walked away from a £50k annual salary to live on less than minimum wage, but I’m happier now. I remember sitting around the table one night thinking, ‘Hang on – why am I the only one not drawing?’ I’d forgotten I’d always wanted to be an artist. I’ve been drawing ever since, including some album covers for friends.

“Now I’ve scoped out a place in Portugal for The Hide, an off-the-grid retreat of four houses. I want to set up Hubs in cities and Hides in the country, so residents can shift to another part of the world and maintain their affordable rent. Temporary relief in the countryside – that’s my personal solution to beating the system.”

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This article originally appeared in Huck 55 – The Freaked Out Issue. Buy it in the Huck Shop now or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue. 

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