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Last-ditch attempt to save Tin Pan Alley from being turned into a theme park

Published: 23 May, 2014
by FARAH CHOWDHURY

A LAST ditch attempt has been launched to stop a “theme-park” redevelopment in the heart of London’s live music scene – Tin Pan Alley (pictured above).

A huge scheme that will see shops, restaurants, a hotel, night club, art gallery, offices and homes built on a triangular area of land between Denmark Street and Charing Cross Road was given planning permission last year.

But researcher and radio presenter Henry Scott-Irvine launched a petition last month, urging English Heritage and Camden Council to “preserve the heritage and integrity of Denmark Street”.

It has already picked up more than 6,500 signatures including pop star David Essex and Labour MP Frank Dobson.

Denmark Street, which is often described as a Mecca for musicians and music lovers all over the world, has seen the likes of The Libertines, Jeff Buckley and Adele pass through and perform some of their early shows, Mr Scott-Irvine said.

The street was also where Sir Elton John had his first job in the 1960s as a runner for Mills Music and is also home to the 12 Bar Club (pictured below).

The petition reads: “It is a unique place, with Grade II listing, and steeped in a history that should be preserved and maintained for future generations.

“Too many of London’s historical venues have been lost to developers or big businesses.”

Mr Scott-Irvine said there should be “no more Disneyfication of London” or “another tacky Trocadero”.

Before the plans were given the green light last year, a string of objections were lodged by a coalition of the Bloomsbury Association, the Covent Garden Community Association, the Seven Dials Trust and the Soho Society.

They said: “One of Camden’s key objectives is that the internationally iconic music based nature of Denmark Street remains and is enhanced.”
Other objections from residents said upper floors, used as music workshops and repair centres, would be lost.

They added: “This development is more like a theme park and the area will lose its famous character with its important historic links with British jazz, rhythm and blues and punk movements.”

>>> To sign the petition, click here.

Comments

TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN'

I live locally and this is the tip of the iceberg. The Council have given permission for developers to ruin the entire area. St. Martins College of Art, Intrepid Fox, Astoria all gone. I love to walk down Denmark Street and imagine which musical icons trod the same path decades ago and wonder at all the goings on and dodgy doings that took place there! I will be signing the petition as bad things happen when good people do nothing.

The reason I came to London

The reason I came to London in the first place was to explore the backstreets, alleyways, shops, bars, clubs, scenes and other areas that you just don't get in suburbia or other cities of the UK. I wanted to experience it for what it was, not read about it through a perspex sheet. I saw some of it. 14 years later it has become increasingly sterile, branded, filmed, prohibited and plastic, gathering momentum every day - look at Camden Market, or Shoreditch in it's entirety - they are just the obvious examples. I know all things have to change but sucking the real life out of them and replacing with chain bars and hotels is not the way to do it, unless you want it to end up as boring as Brussels.

economy....

It`s all about Money... But Think a little bit futher. Save good old bits to be loved way longer than a theme park

Let's be honest, It's a bit

Let's be honest, It's a bit of a dump. Strewn with cardboard boxes, disgarded bikes and garbage. But you've kind of got to say "who cares"? Obviously the council. But the thousands of people who flock there for instruments, scores, lessons whatever really shouldn't be overlooked.

Far too much gentrification and clensing of London already. It's becoming boring.

Put is out of its misery

I have been visiting Denmark Street for 20 years and have always come away disappointed. Grumpy shop assistants, overpriced gear and a lack of variety. Sure the area has an impressive history from earlier periods, but it should be allowed to evolve into something new and relevant, rather than trade on very distant former glories.

Yeah but... Money

Money, that is all.

tin pan alley unique

We must protect this music heritage site from the commercial homogenization by developers, let's preserve the character and uniqueness of this area, it is an asset as it is.

My grandfather ran Mills Music

Hello,
My grandfather was Jack Mills, who founded Mills Music (mentioned in the article) and this was Mills' home base in Europe for decades. It would be a true tragedy to see this historic street decimated for essentially a Starbucks and little else. This development sounds like something we do in America - not England. Pave paradise and put up a parking lot? I really hope this does not happen. It's still a vital and uniquely fun street in a great location. You have to look for it and when you are there - it's like a little slice of history and yet still vital. Hope you don't do this! Don't be like us....gross Americans whose only interest is huge payouts to banks and realtors. If this is allowed to happen - you may find mini-malls throughout London!

Denmark St

A significant part of London's musical heritage - leave well alone & shove your Crossrail sponsored Starbucks monstrosities further afield, s'il vous plait.

Tin Pan Alley

It's amazing there are so many positive comments for possibly the worst actual customer experience of any music shop/shops I've even been into. Honestly, a street populated by guitarists working in shops has to be the worst thing ever. If they want it to stay, don't charge ridiculous prices for things and be more polite to customers.

Farewell!

Denmark Street is its own downfall - having swung from catering for local musicians and being part of a local scene, to inflating prices way beyond the norm and already making something of a tourist attraction of itself.

I used to love visiting when I lived in London in the 90s, still have a few guitars I bought there and in Macari's. Been there once or twice since, but the place has changed massively from what it was, to the point where I don't bother any more when in London. I won't say 'good riddance' as it's still way better than another Trocadero - but, alienating those who made it what it is in the first place, it won't be missed at all by many.

RIP Denmark Street, but you kinda brought it on yourself.

Culture Not Commerce

I recorded an early album of mine at Denmark Street Studios in the 2000s and was blown away to be recording in a space where Hendrix, Queen, and The Pistols had all played. And it came across int eh work I did that day. Shame Denmark Street will have survived the Nazis but not this.

Plus....

International Times had an office there in 1985-6; and Malcolm Maclaren.

Get rid of it

Why not? It's a dirty old place with rats and musicians. I think we need a face lift. You can buy guitars at Argos now. I always got ripped off there and all the music shop workers had a "holier than thou" patronising attitude towards customers.

No

I love this place everyone does

No sense of history

I know commerce rules, but do we really have to turn every bit of London into something bland and new. More coffee shops and designer outlets is not what anyone needs. I'm sure it'll be lovely and shiny and yet indistinguishable from anywhere else. Sometimes people don't realise what they've got until it's gone. The trouble is, you can't recreate history. Once it's gone it's gone forever. Music is something that is a massive part of London's history and a great contribution to the world. There must be a way to market whar's there already without erasing it. Come on Camden Council. Show us you have some insight and courage.

madness

what the hell is wrong with the council, I am from Wales and have played in many bands over the years and always go to Denmark Street when I am in the big smoke, there isn't anywhere else in the world like it, great people and vibe.....it must be saved

"has seen the likes of The

"has seen the likes of The Libertines, Jeff Buckley and Adele pass through and perform some of their early shows"

That's 2 good reasons to bulldoze it.

We owned a bar in Denmark

We owned a bar in Denmark street and were taken to court for displaying a neon sign as the building was protected by the National Heritage and the sign wasn't in keeping with the heritage rules. The building was dated from the 16th century and had survived the great fire of London. Ok so we removed it rather than face the hefty fine and now they want to make a theme park?
Its a great street full of music history and it really is old London at its best.

tin pan alley

l used to take my demos to various publishers there in the 60s, and like to go there to buy new strings or even a plectrum just to get the buzz of the place, don't let it disappear and be gone forever. Steve Wolfe Songwriter

12 Bar

One of the few real places left in London..Who needs another coffee shop or whatever. DONT CLOSE THIS WONDERFUL CLUB..or the street for that matter

Is this a joke?!

There is no need for this. Hendrix and The Stones rehearsed and recorded here amongst others. So much history of British music stems from here and if anything the area should be promoted to such status as the Cavern area in Liverpool.
Nothing seems to be able to stop developments that the public don't want. HS2 a prime example.

Tin Pan Alley

Please PLEASE BACK OFF!!!!!
Leave us something unique and original for gods sake!!!!!!!

Disgraceful

By granting planning permission for this development, Camden Council have demonstrated appalling lack of vision and taste, and a huge disregard for history and culture. We should make sure that all the individual council members voting for this are clear that they have irredeemably demonstrated their philistinism, and more importantly, their legitimacy as political representatives.

A Mecca For Tourists

Denmark street is already an amazing Mecca for musicians from all over the globe because it boasts the largest amount of music shops pet square foot that any other street on the entire world.
How can the powers that be in Camden Council be stupid enough to let that be lost to a quick buck.
Ignorant, greedy and short sighted speculators tearing the soul out of a very special part of London. I trust that they'll be happy to be credited and remembered for their foolishness by future generations.
That should make their descendants 'proud'.
Alongside the heathens who demolished the London Astoria - what WAS London's only large central venue.
How can London make any kind of claim to being a capital of culture when our heritage is raped with such mindless abandon?
I've been a resident of Soho for twenty one years and a musician for forty one and it breaks my heart.

Brilliant post! - describes

Brilliant post! - describes Tory Britain in microcosm: Greedy people with no talent destroying good people WITH talent.

tin pan alley

Symptomatic of the commercial free-for-all happening under this "loads of money" Tory led cancer. Tin Pan Alley should be protected a part of our musical and theatrical heritage, the history is immense -DO IT!!!

JUNIOR CAMPBELL Singer songwriter, composer, arranger and mamber of original "Marmalade"

Know the enemy

Isn't Camden Labour run?

Yep, Camden is a Labour

Yep, Camden is a Labour council...not that makes any difference. The Labour party is just as likely to favour big business as the Tories these days, as we are seeing here.

It's Blue Labour in full effect - the developers get what they want, the people of London just have to put up with it.

gone but not forgotten

We have already lost one really good music pub in this area.The Intrepid Fox, had to move because of business men buying up the area. It isn't just about big business, but about the people that congregate there to meet up, and those that live and work in the area.

That was actually the second

That was actually the second time it had to move, for similar reasons.

Keep Tin Pan Alley as it is

Do we really need another load of shops selling the same stuff as those we already have. Keep the heritage.

Sacrilege!

This is a disgrace and Im appalled that anyone would be so lacking in heart and soul that they would even consider destroying such sacred, historic ground.

Why not trade it in for the demolition of Buckingham Palace?
I'm sure there wont be a petition to stop that in a hurry.

How and where do I sign to help stop this?

And, what else can we do?

I'm keen to get involved.

Yours

Bemused

A. Musician.

Tin Pan Alley

Well said!

Tin Pan Alley - Sacrilege

Sign here ..http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/head-of-democratic-services-don-t-bin-tin-pan-alley

Don't Bin Tin Pan alley

Here is the link and thanks for your good words and support.

SAVE IT

It's as important to London and the Music Scene therein as Carnaby Street is to Fashion.

Tin Pan Alley

petition

please use the link below to sign the petition - we need to stop this happening

http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/head-of-democratic-services-don-t-...

Save Tin Pan Alley

This is part of history for music shops...leave it alone for generations to enjoy!

Eric

There is no URL link to the campaign as promised..please include

There is no URL link to the campaign as promised..please do add this/ include this now as per below
http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/head-of-democratic-services-don-t-... as a comment instead then... Thanks Henry Scott-Irvine

petition

Please use the link below to sign the petition - we need to show the council and English Heritage that this cannot be allowed to happen

http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/head-of-democratic-services-don-t-...

Denmark St

Denmark St has long been a favourite place to visit for me as a guitarist...especially coming from The North where we don't have this marvellous heritage site and the accompanying shops full of instruments. Ihave played the 12Bar club with Martin Stephenson,bought accessories in various shops,saw the Stray Cats walking down Denmark St...its a must go place every time I visit London...I hope it remains so....Jim Hornsby

Tin Pan Alley - Sacrilege

Don't Bin Tin Pan alley

This is the petition to sign http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/head-of-democratic-services-don-t-... PLEASE SIGN ASAP only 636 signatures needed. Over 7,300 signed in 11 days.

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