Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Hammersmith Palais to Close

"Hammersmith Palais - the legendary London music venue immortalised in song by The Clash - is to be demolished. The decision to close the venue was taken by Hammersmith and Fulham councillors in a meeting on Monday. The building is expected to be bulldozed to make way for office blocks by developers Parkway Properties. No date for the closure has been given"(BBC News, 24 Jan. 2007)

Lights go out at London’s rock venues
"The very fabric of cool, young London is in danger of disappearing as bean-counting property developers take over some of the capital’s most famous venues. The legendary Astoria on Charing Cross Road, and stars’ favourite the Stepney night club are both doomed and now the Hammersmith Palais... is facing the bulldozer.

Radio London DJ Robert Elms, whose parents met at the Hammersmith Palais, is incensed.“It’s all about knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing,” he said. “We’ll never get these wonderful places back and they will never be replaced. These things mean so much to Londoners – the place they first saw a gig or fell in love . This should be about a lot more than just money.” The Palais in its various guises has been central to the British music scene since the 1920s, when it played a leading role in the introduction of jazz to the UK. During the war it hosted tea dances, and went on to showcase generations of the biggest names in rock and pop.

Like the Stepney, which is to be replaced by a five-storey building of one and two bedroom flats, its nemesis is a private property developer. Meanwhile, the Astoria in Charing Cross Road is also facing the final curtain as contested plans for Crossrail call for its demolition. Its only hope lies in the precedent set by the Electric Ballroom on Camden High Street, which was saved two years ago when Tube redevelopment plans were ditched after a public outcry.That said, a new planning blueprint is looming which could once again put the Ballroom at risk. And with the value of offices rocketing by more than 20 per cent last year and shops by more than ten per cent, the capital’s iconic buildings look set to remain hot targets for investors" (London Paper, 24 January 2007)