We are looking for a New Home

Since the foundation of the club in 2016, the London Historical Fencing Club (LHFC) has used small community halls for training and lessons. However, the lack of proper changing facilities leads to accessibility issues and the small size means our growth is constrained. A permanent location for historical fencing in London, built into a railway arch or an old warehouse unit, is the answer. We will provide a new home for LHFC and all historical fencers in London and beyond.

Who Are LHFC?

LHFC is a nonprofit, member-run Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) club and a registered charity (registration number: 1200898). We were established in 2016 with the goal of promoting HEMA through training, scholarship, community, and competition.

We train several different weapons and sword fighting styles. The historical sources that form the basis of our teaching range from the High Medieval Period through the Renaissance and into the Early Modern Era.

Unlike many historical fencing organisations, LHFC is a members run club run by a committee of volunteers with classes taught by a team of instructors. The strength and depth of our volunteers and members allow the club to be extraordinarily resilient and adaptable.

The Problem

At present LHFC trains five classes every week, split between two community halls in Kennington (KPC and KPCC). Both are quite small and therefore constrain our class size. In addition, if we wish to grow by launching a new class on a different night, we will incur further hourly rental costs and operate at a loss until this new class becomes established and later profitable.

Furthermore, despite both community organisations being incredibly helpful and receptive to our needs, we are inevitably at risk of cancellations of sessions, increases in rental costs, clashes with other community hall users, and the general unpredictability of operating from spaces that we have no control over.

Furthermore, the owning body of one of the community halls distributed a letter in July 2023, informing users of the hall of their plans to demolish the building and redevelop it. They aim to rebuild the hall and establish flats on the plot of land, but this is a long-term process and we’ll lose access to the space in the interim. Access to community halls is a diminishing resource—this further underscores our need for a permanent home.

Accessibility is an additional concern. By using community halls that do not have specific sporting facilities, we cannot offer space for our members to change privately, nor to shower after a session. This makes it difficult to attract and retain members, especially those of marginalised genders or sexualities who are uncomfortable without dedicated changing facilities.

Hiring dedicated sporting facilities initially seemed like the obvious solution. However, after extensive research, it became apparent that sports halls and similar facilities in south-central London cannot offer us sufficient, guaranteed, and regular space. During our enquiries, we were frequently told by sports halls that we were welcome to reserve specific dates, but our reservations would be cancelled if their home teams decided they wanted to use the halls during those times. We were also told that hiring out dedicated, regular time on a nearly nightly basis would be highly unlikely. Furthermore, the hiring costs of large, dedicated sports halls are far higher than our current venues and would necessitate increasing class costs—this runs contrary to our goal of keeping HEMA as accessible as possible.

The Solution

We intend to acquire the lease to a railway arch or other light-industrial premises and convert the interior into a dedicated historical fencing venue. We are looking at venues of c. 2,500sqft capacity, and intend to dedicate the majority of the space to fencing, with approximately one third to changing and showering facilities and a small library. This venue size will double the current capacity of both of the halls we currently rent, giving us plenty of space to grow, and will remove accessibility barriers by providing changing facilities.

Apart from the obvious benefits of increased space, we will also be able to use the space every night of the week, at no additional cost and for as long as we please. Simply put, we move our venue costs from variable (hiring halls by the hour) to fixed. In this way, we can launch new classes, run events, and expand the amount of fencing that we offer without concerns of affordability or availability of space.

We also have plans to build a library of HEMA books and resources, free for members to use, to further our aims of promoting the study and development of historical fencing. Our venue will be a space for our HEMA book club to meet, rather than in the public parks where they meet currently—the venue will not just a place of practical application, but also of academic interest.

As well as providing a permanent home for our club and all of its fringe benefits—increased amount of club-owned equipment to lend to beginners, increased storage for member- and club-owned equipment, and increased flexibility for class times—we intend to operate this space as a hub for the HEMA and historical fencing communities in London and beyond. There is no existing permanent space for the vibrant, growing HEMA community south of Glasgow. We will offer private hire of the space (at cost) to other fencing clubs to run their own sessions, run events for fencers from across the country, and offer private hire to members for their own training and sparring when we otherwise are not running a class. Furthermore, we will also run sessions to improve the professionalism of HEMA throughout the UK. We plan to run sessions on judge training, first aid workshops specific to fencing risks and injuries, and specialised events to test new tournament rules and develop the safety, inclusivity, and accuracy of the sport.

The increased community aspect of setting up this venue cannot be overstated. As a meeting place and hub for HEMA practitioners across London, the value of this space in building and maintaining connections and collaboration between clubs and organisations will be invaluable.

How You Can Help

The setup costs of such a project are expected to run to about £200–250k, followed by higher rental costs than we currently pay. Financial modelling based on current club attendance and growth indicates that this project will be self-sustaining within three years, but we will need funding to bridge the gap until then. Due to recent increases in interest in LHFC and HEMA more broadly, as seen in the growth in class attendance and LHFC social media interest shown below, we have no doubt that the club will be able to grow in membership and attendance with the physical space a permanent venue would allow—our only roadblock is getting started.

We are looking to work with charitable funders and granting organisations to turn this plan into a reality. For the larger costs, our preference is to build an enduring relationship with a single or small number of large grantors. However, we welcome contributions towards other expenses such as additional equipment, furniture and décor, as well as the individual projects and events we run.

If you are a funding body, small or large, please feel free to get in touch with us to discuss how you can help. Individuals can also make small donations through our donations link at the bottom of the page.

The Story So Far


Conception of the Venue Plan

While working on strategy in the pub, Dan Weir (Former Treasurer) and Dan Powell (Current Treasurer) determined that the best way to grow as a club is to increase capacity by moving venue costs from variable to fixed.


Venue Research

After extensive research of the available commercial and light-industrial premises in south-central London, we have determined that a mid-size lined railway arch is an ideal venue for our needs.



We have undertaken a number of fundraising activities to kick-off the project, most notably a raffle that raised £3,800 for the project. We continue to run various social fundraisers and a 100Club.


Construction Plan

We have engaged a Construction Project Manager to help with the project. Initial sketches of our proposed fit-out have allowed us to make high-level cost estimates for our CAPEX budget.


Commission New Promotional Videos

Putting our raffle funding to good work, we have engaged a videographer to shoot two promotional videos (one long, one short) to help promote the club to new members, enable healthy growth, and illustrate our case for establishing a new venue.


Re-Build Website

We have also recently re-built our website to be more user-friendly for new members and to increase conversions from new students looking to get into HEMA to fully-established LHFC members.


Establish New Legal Entity

LHFC previously existed as an Unincorporated Association, registered as a Charity. We have launched a new legal entity: LHFC CIO, a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. This limits individual liability and makes it easier to enter into leasehold contracts.

Q4 2023

Secure Charitable Funding

With the above steps in place, our next task is to secure charitable funding to cover the legal fees, deposit, and fit-out costs of the new venue as well as bridging our operating costs until we are at self-sustaining levels of activity.

Early 2024

Acquire Lease and Begin Fit-Out

With a good range of stock regularly coming onto the market in south-central London, once we have secured funding, we will look to secure a multi-year lease and begin the fit-out process.

Q2 2024

Appoint Staff

We will establish new volunteer and paid positions to support growth and manage the venue responsibly and sustainably.

H1 2024

Launch New Venue

We will christen the venue with a party to re-launch the club in our new home and to attract as many new users of the hall as we can possibly muster!