Pretty Green

Pulp, Blur Studios To Be Turned Into Flats

Townhouse St Stephens Av 2nd Apr 2012 THBritpop fans may soon be able to live on the actual site where some of the biggest Britpop albums were made. The site of Townhouse Studios in Shepherd’s Bush, West London has been sold to developers looking to turn it into a new set of luxury flats. The £7.5 million deal was finalized by Irish property developers, Perpetuum Developments, with plans for the three studio complex to be partially demolished and converted into eleven luxury apartments. The flats are expected to sell for £2 million each.

The Townhouse was built in 1978 by Richard Branson’s Virgin Records. The West London studio rapidly gained a reputation as one of the world’s greatest studio complexes. For thirty years, The Townhouse attracted some of the best British musicians to 150 Goldhawk Road. This was the site where Pulp recorded their first UK #1 charting album, Different Class, which went on to become one of the seminal Britpop records. Also on site, Blur recorded their 1995 follow-up to Parklife, The Great Escape, which featured the champion of the Britpop chart battle, ‘Country House.’ The list of British musicians recording in the studio includes the Jam (Setting Sons), Elton John (‘Candle In The Wind 1997’), Suede, Oasis, Robbie Williams, Coldplay (X+Y), and Muse.

Sadly, there was a lot of changeover in ownership through the years. When Virgin was bought out by the EMI/Virgin Studio Group in the early 1990s, the studios were absorbed in the deal. Ten years later, the Sanctuary Group acquired the facility from EMI. Sanctuary closed the studio in 2008, and it has remained empty for over five years.

Rock historian Adrian Bray told the Evening Standard: ‘It’s sad when our historical heritage slowly slips from view. All the iconic musical venues are disappearing. The Townhouse is not a beautiful building and its economic life is clearly over yet it’s significant. The fact is that if the council let Hammersmith Palais disappear without a backward glance, this place didn’t have a chance.’ More information about the history of Townhouse Studios can be found here.

Here’s a partial list of some of the albums that were recorded on site:

The Auteurs – Now I’m A Cowboy
Blur – The Great Escape
The Charlatans – Simpatico
Coldplay – X+Y
The Cranberries – No Need To Argue
The Cure – The Head On The Door
The Jam – Setting Sons
The Jam – Sound Effects
Kaiser Chiefs – Employment
Kate Bush – The Dreaming
Longpigs – Mobile Home
PiL – First Issue
PiL – Flowers Of Romance
Placebo – Black Market Music
Placebo – Sleeping With Ghosts
Pulp – Different Class
Pulp – This Is Hardcore
Suede – A New Morning

Interested in living amid rock history? Check out your new neighborhood here! (Hopefully, the drunk guy isn’t still sitting on the steps.)

Britpopping since I first heard 'Animal Nitrate' in 1993

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