The Ealing Club
Although not at immediate risk, the Ealing Club is one of London's most important music heritage sights and remains relatively unknown as such. However, the Club is on a prime piece of land opposite Ealing Broadway station. Developers have began to make noises about redeveloping the site, we are at risk of losing the cradle of British rock for another identikit London development.
A location steeped in popular music history, it can rightfully claim to be one of the birthplaces of the British Rhythm & Blues explosion in the 1960s and was crucial in the early careers of The Rolling Stones, Manfred Mann, Eric Burdon, The Who, and to members of Cream, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Fleetwood Mac, and Deep Purple.
Down a small flight of stairs opposite the Ealing Broadway tube station, below ABC Bakery, was the Ealing Club. In 1962 Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies started a fledgling blues club. A small advert in the NME announced to the world that Ealing on a Saturday night was the place to be for Rhythm & Blues fans. This attracted the interest of a number of young musicians who were obsessed by this music from America: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend would attend over the coming weeks and months.
Yet despite being steeped in music history, it remains largely unknown by locals and tourists alike. Today it is a somewhat run down club which hosts DJs at the weekend, the 150 capacity basement building largely unloved. However, local music enthusiasts are attempting to change this.
The Ealing Club Community Interest Company (CIC) have been hugely successful in promoting the club and it’s history. They have paid for a plaque to celebrate the site, brought live music back to this venue and others, supported local music festivals (including The Hanwell Hootie, Soundbite Festival, and Ealing Blues Festival), and held exhibitions on the venue. They have also kickstarted funding for a film to celebrate the club’s role in popular music, which is close to completion.
However, all this great work in promoting the club and its place in music history is now at risk owing to plans put forward by property developers. 9-42 The Broadway is another London property plan which will crowbar a glass, steel and concrete development into the local community, following the arrival of Crossrail in the area. The current plans include the demolition of this historic and cultural asset which could be developed into so much more. There is no reason why live music couldn't return to a venue which mixes both a celebration of its history, and the future of music in a similar way to how The Cavern does in Liverpool.
The club should be the centrepiece of a cultural tourist offering for Ealing and West London, inspiring foreign visitors and music fans alike. Instead we are facing the potential demolition of the birthplace of the Rolling Stones and of the 1960s British Blues explosion, for yet another identikit London development.
Full news can be found at the Ealing Club Community Interest Company site.
February 2016 - Music Heritage UK responds to public consultation on development which includes plans for a new world class music venue on site of old Ealing Club. We share our support for the scheme and outline how it might form part of a wider celebration of music and the area's music history and heritage.
February 2015 - Another article from the Ealing Gazette which features the views of author and Director of Musicology at Kansas University, Dr Roberta Freund Schwartz and ex-editor of MOJO magazine, Paul Trynka.
February 2015 - Music Heritage UK hosts an online Ealing Club week with a blog post, spotify playlist, interview with the Ealing Club CIC and Huffington Post article. Music Heritage UK writes to local Councillors and MPs to highlight potential for music heritage tourism in Ealing, centred around the Ealing Club.
Following this work, local paper Ealing Gazette gets involved with an article highlighting the issues.
January 2015 - Developers share their plans for 9-42 The Broadway with members of the public which suggest demolishing the building which housed the Ealing Club to make way for a mixed use development.
April 2014 - 2nd Hanwell Hootie held and has expanded to 30 acts across 6 venues.
July 2013 - Kickstarter launched for film on Ealing Club - Suburban Steps to Rockland raises more than £8,000.
April 2013 - Hanwell Hootie - a new local Ealing music festival is held. Includes the unveiling of plaque at site of Marshall Amps factory in Hanwell, Ealing.
July 2012 - 'Ealing Cradle of British Rock' exhibition held at University of West London.
March 2012 - Ealing Club CIC unveils "blue plaque" at site of Ealing Club.
What you need to do now!
1. Visit the Ealing Club CIC website. Share it with your friends!
3. Go and experience a live show or festival run by the Ealing Club CIC! Check out the 'happenings' section of their website or facebook for upcoming events.
4. Stay tuned to Music Heritage UK and Ealing Club CIC - we may need your help soon...
Get the low down...
See how the media have covered the Ealing Club and discover more on its history.
- Music Heritage UK quoted in article in local paper - Ealing Gazette
- Music Heritage UK letter to Ealing Councillors and MPs - (PDF - 1MB)
- 'Bulldozing the cradle of British Rock' - Huffington Post
- Interview with Alistair from Ealing CIC - Interview
- Ealing Club playlist - Spotify
- History of The Ealing Club - Blog
- Ealing Club plaque - In our Gallery
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