Hirst's art college calls time on bar and opens gallery

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The Independent Online

It was where Britpop met the YBAs: in the late 1980s, the youthful members of Blur drank with the young Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Sam Taylor-Wood in the student union bar at the University of London's Goldsmiths College.

Now one of the bars has become an art gallery, as the union found demand for exhibition space outstripped demand for alcohol, as students became more budget-conscious.

In the Eighties and Nineties, the bars raked in tidy profits for the union. Malcolm McLaren was a regular and more recently Placebo and the Mercury-Prize winners The Klaxons socialised there.

But as tuition fees and warnings over binge drinking have engendered a more responsible attitude in students, revenues have fallen, prompting the closure.

Goldsmiths also has a large proportion of mature students – 40 per cent – as well as many international students, to whom the drinking culture has less appeal.

The union recently opened a shop with a small space available for student artists to display their work. So high was the demand, it was decided to change the downstairs bar into the Greenroom gallery. In the summer, the Greenroom hosted its first exhibition by recent graduates Gavin Ramsey and Naomi Pearce, called "Class of ' 07".

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