SAVE DENMARK STREET - LONDON'S TIN PAN ALLEY
Pete Townshend & Glen Matlock
- campaign supporters
The 12 Bar Club - now closed
Blue Plaque unveiled 2014
Westminster & Pimlico News, 15.1.15
LONDON, JANUARY 2015: London's Denmark Street aka 'Tin Pan Alley' is Britain's only 'Street Of The Music'. It saw the birth of sheet music publishing in 1911 at Wrights, which eventually led to the first music charts, the birth of the Melody Maker, New Musical Express and British Rock 'n' Roll. The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath and David Bowie all recorded their earliest work in Regent Sounds and Central Sounds, respectively. Elton John started his career at Mills Music publishers. Jimi Hendrix and Phil Lynott bought their prized guitars in the street. British Punk Rock began at the rear of number 6 with The Sex Pistol's rehearsal space. Coca Cola had its most famous theme written here by Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, while a few doors along Lionel Bart wrote the musical Oliver.
However Denmark Street is scheduled for redevelopment on the north side from January 16th 2015, due to Crossrail - Europe's biggest engineering project, which will see a brand new station opening by a totally upgraded Tottenham Court Road tube station. This will mean the imminent demolition of Denmark Place, the demolition of the rear of the north side of Denmark St, the demolition St Giles Circus (aka St Giles High St) leaving only the façade, and the demolition of the first two floors of the former Saxophone Shop at number 21 Denmark Street.
The 12 Bar Club at 26 Denmark Street, which closed on Sunday January 11th, will see the demolition of the Pool Room to the rear of the bar, situated next to the 17th century forge, which was the venue's concert room - formerly known as The Forge - for 23 years. This 17th century building (it was originally built a a stable in 1635) is possibly the oldest surviving forge in London. The 12 Bar Club itself is 21 years old. Much loved for introducing new bands seven nights a week. Jeff Buckley, Katie Melua, KT Tunstall, Seasick Steve, Keane, and Adele all played their first London shows there. The Libertines also made their first live DVD at The 12 Bar.
However campaign leader, author & film-make Henry Scott-Irving has now devised a Band Aid- style rescue scheme to involve rock stars and the greater music businesses moving - and the developers apparently like the sound of it. Now he is approaching them and other leading figures and businesses in the music industry to get them to invest in their belief by renting space in a planned new "rock zone" at the heart of Tin Pan Alley, where a Blue Plaque was unveiled by singer/songwriter Donovan to great fanfare only last March.
Access to 26 Denmark St will be prohibited during the underpinning of the building at 26 Denmark Street when proposed excavations begin to enable the sinking of exit shafts to the newly planned subterranean 800 seater Consolidated devised music venue, which is being built directly beneath the former 12 Bar Club. The refurbishment of this 'Grade 2 listed building with description' is being monitored by 'we' campaigners, English Heritage, The Museum Of London's commercial arm, The Georgian Group, Camden Council's Planning Department, and the Holborn ward of the Labour Party.
The Save Denmark St Campaign has already had tremendous support from high-profile musicians as diverse as Pete Townshend, former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock, Captain Sensible of The Damned, Steve Diggle of The Buzzcocks, singers Engelbert Humperdinck, David Essex, Linda Lewis, Marc Almond and Dave Ball of Soft Cell, Jake Burns of Stiff Little Fingers, Boz Boorer of The Smiths, and Dr Robert of The Blow Monkeys, to name but a few. Every musician in the land is aware of this scenario, but the average Londoner appears to know little about the situation or the importance of the street.
This is all about to change with front page spreads in papers such as the Westminster & Pimlico News, while features have also appeared in The Times, the London Evening Standard, the London Weekly News, West End Extra, Time Out, NME, Mojo, Uncut, Classic Rock, and The Economist, as well as in music Instrument magazines. The news has stretched as far afield as Italy, New Zealand, and Hollywood. The campaign has been featured on the ITV 6 o'clock News, BBC 6 o'clock News, The One Show on BBC 1, The Sunday Politics London on BBC1, and PM At 5pm on BBC Radio 4.
With local MP and former Labour Party Health Minister Frank Dobson very much on side, and a list of 25,000 who have signed the Change.org petition, only time will tell what will happen next regarding further 'Planning Amendment Applications' heading towards Camden Council from Consolidated developments. These will be known as Stage 2 and Stage 3 of this overwhelming construction process taking place throughout 2015, 2016, and 2017, when Crossrail 1 finally opens for business during that summer. One thing is for sure, the campaign is going to 'Carry On Regardless'.
Please sign the petition: 'Don't Bin Tin Pan Alley'
Save Tin Pan Alley
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