Sorry but this page is not quite ready yet. Its a major work in progress
Another section that isnt entirely about dereliction but of places whose "musical heritage" is largely unknown by people who pass by these buildings. The pictures are the buildings as they are now (unless otherwise stated) plus a few odd scans of pictures that I took of gigs at these venues though we didn't all carry cameras around like we do in this digital age.
Much of the inspiration for creating this part of the website was of seeing all my old haunts of the 80's & 90's turn into flats, etc. Also I wanted to explore the legendary punk venues of the 70's and see what is there now. Hence this page initially has a leaning to punk and beyond but I'm particularly interested in researching earlier times esp of The Small Faces & The Who. So another area of input for all you derelict London fans!!!
The Sir George Robey - Finsbury Park, N4 (all pictures here are by Paul Talling 1988 -2014)
This 1870s pub was originally called The Clarence and renamed the Sir George Robey in the 1960s (named after an old English music-hall comedian).
During the late 1980s this place was the venue for any up-and-coming band with a Ford Transit on the ‘toilet circuit’ up and down the country. Folk musician Joe Giltrap ran the Robey in the early 1980s and Christy Moore, The Men They Couldn't Hang, Alien Sex Fiend, T'Pau & The Pogues were some of the acts that he hosted before leaving in 1987.
The venue continued largely unchanged into the late 1980s to the mid 1990s and acts included Hawkwind, Steve Marriott, Gong, Blur, No Doubt, Snuff and the Exploited. During this period the Robey was also popular with promoters who hosted allday punk and ska gigs In 1989 My old mate Roy & I hosted a punk all-weekender that was so busy that the police had to stop the crowd spilling out into traffic on the Seven Sisters Road. Everybody seemed to have a love/hate relationship with the place especially the appalling toilets. It certainly attracted great bands, but it was also none too salubrious at times – I remember watching the singer TV Smith slipping over someone’s vomit whilst onstage. The venue also staged allnighters by Club Dog which had a squat & free party vibe with its psychedelic bands crossing over with the rave scene.
Nick Hornby is said to have based the Harry Lauder music venue in the High Fidelity book on the Sir George Robey.
The Sir George Robey was taken over by the Mean Fiddler Group in the mid-1990s and renamed the Powerhaus. The venue closed down in 2004 and suffered a fire. Rebuilding started soon after but then abandoned.The latest proposals are for the building to be demolished.
Meux's Original London Stout
In August 2014 I took a look around inside the building and I was shocked how little of the original interior still remains. The only instantly recognisable feature was the entrance where you used to come into the gigs from the front yard. Much of the area has been cleared and replaced with new girders and joists and very unstable boarding over the joists which is why I urge you not to try to enter this building as it is extremely dangerous. The main bar area is not boarded over and there is a massive drop into the waterlogged basement/cellar. The area where the stage & cellar below is all demolished and again, there is now a massive drop into an open area overgrown by buddleia with an abandoned mechanical digger overtaken by nature
Looking out from the bar onto Seven Sisters Road
Sir George Robey 1988
Sir George Robey 2014
Inside gig entrance
and here are some of pictures taken at the Sir George Robey. All taken in June 1989 at my punk weekender (apart from the final pic of the Long Tall Texans which was 1990). Band playing at the punk weekender included: Splodgenessabounds, UK Subs, Culture Shock, The Abs, Guitar Gangsters (1st live gig),The Abs, Red London, The Price (with Paul Fox of The Ruts guesting on guitar), Suspect Device, Red Letter Day and many more.
STOCKWELL, SW9 - THE PLOUGH
The original settlement of Stockwell formed around here in Stockwell Green. The first part of the name derives from "stoc", the Old English word for "wood". Water was drawn from wells on the site and breweries thrived. The building of Inns and taverns naturally followed with The Plough (the original dating back to 1666) and The Swan (circa 1780).
The tiled Truman’s sign with the eagle roundel is that of Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Company Limited - a London brewer with records stretching back as far as 1666 - the date The Plough opened!
This building was constructed in the 1930s (by Truman's inhouse architect AE Sewell) on the site of the original Plough. During the 1960s and 70s the pub was well known all over London as a key jazz pub with live residencies. Musician Phil Seaman used to play here regularly before his death in 1972. Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones said: “Phil was a one-off player and is probably the best drummer we’ve ever had. There’s a whole crowd of guys who were influenced by him."
It became a hip-hop bar called The Plug in the late 1990s before closing in 2002. Incidently the name change was simply because the O and the H fell off the Plough sign, hence The Plug.
Peter writes on the BBC website: "I do miss places like the Plough in Stockwell, where you could see the likes of Keith Tippett, Chris Biscoe, Dudu Pukwana, Nick Evans and John Stevens on a weekly basis in a completely non-pretentious, inexpensive environment. There doesn't seem to be anything like that anymore, more's the pity..."
STOCKWELL, SW9 - THE PLOUGH
CATFORD SE6 - SAVOY BALLROOM
This interesting looking building on Rushey Green was recently an Italian Furniture Shop on the ground floor and a Rileys snooker hall upstairs. A sign for the Agape Miracle Centre Church hangs from the building though they appear to have gone too.
The building was originally the Savoy Ballroom but during World War II it was taken over by the social services, providing food, drink and medicine to local schoolchildren. After the war it was known as the Savoy Rooms as a dancing and gaming club an then renamed The Witchdoctor and then Mr Smiths. The Rolling Stones (1964),Gene Vincent (1964), The Who (April 1966) & Desmond Dekker (1969) are just some of the bands who played there.
The owners of Mr Smiths, Dougie Flood (club owner) and Bill Benny (ex heavyweight wrestler, asked South London gangsters Eddie Richardson and Frankie Fraser to protect the club in exchange for gaming machines being placed there. In 1966, a fight broke out between Kray gang members and Richardson gang members in the early hours and Kray-associate Richard Hart was shot dead outside trying to escape. Mad Frankie Fraser allegedly got his nickname from his part in this fight.
HOLLOWAY ROAD N7 - JOE MEEK
This stencil streetart by Stewy is of onetime local resident Joe Meek who lived, recorded and died in a flat a little further down Holloway Road The first major hit to be produced his Holloway Road flat was Johnny Remember Me,His best-remembered hit is the Tornados' "Telstar" (1962), which became the first record by a British group to reach No.1 in the US Hot 100. It also spent five weeks atop the UK singles chart, with Meek receiving an Ivor Novello Award for this production as the "Best-Selling A-Side" of 1962.
When his landlords, who lived downstairs, felt that the noise was too much, they would indicate so with a broom on the ceiling. Joe would signal his contempt by placing loudspeakers in the stairwell and turning up the volume.
His commercial success as a producer was short-lived and Meek gradually sank into debt and depression. On 3 February 1967, using a shotgun owned by musician Heinz Burt, Meek killed his landlady and then himself.