Handsworth’s Grosvenor Road Studios receives over a quarter of a million pounds of funding.
The historic Birmingham recording studio Grosvenor Road Studios is celebrating its upcoming reopening after being awarded over a quarter of a million pounds in National Lottery funding to support its work in encouraging stronger community cohesion while increasing the building’s usage.
Grosvenor Road Studios, formerly the renowned Hollick & Taylor Studios, has been Birmingham’s best keep secret for over sixty years. This National Lottery funding has enabled refurbishments which improve, modernise and future-proof Grosvenor Road Studios, ensuring that it remains a welcoming centre in the heart of the Handsworth community.
Grosvenor Road Studios has been operating as recording studios since the late 1940s and during that time many firsts have been recorded there including all the original sound effects for Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds and Stingray, the fabulous brass band rendition of Brighouse and Ratrick’s The Floral Dance and the first Brum Beat album, Jasper Carrott’s Funky Moped. It was acquired by the all-female a cappella quintet Black Voices in 2001, who continue to bring their diverse skills and knowledge of the music industry and community development to the studios.
Grosvenor Road Studios boasts one of the largest recording studios in the West Midlands as well as a workspace of seven offices for creative, cultural and community businesses, a centre for arts training and development, a hub for arts and community development, and a woodland garden for local children and their families.
The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, will see the studios being redeveloped and modernised to better serve the local communities, the city and beyond.
At the same time, the studios will be able to continue its programme of training and development while playing a full part in nurturing home-grown talent to be seen regionally, nationally and internationally.
Founding member and Musical Director of Black Voices, Carol Pemberton MBE said, “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised the work of Grosvenor Road Studios in this way. Now, thanks to the National Lottery players, we can reopen our studios and press on with our plans to broaden the range of opportunities available to the local community and increase the building’s usage. This is incredibly important because it helps so many young people to build relationships with others and to create their own supportive circles of friends and peers.”
One such opportunity is a unique programme for those seeking careers in the music industry to learn skills and gain qualifications in music technology and stagecraft. Ahead of the recording studios reopening, twelve young people from the Bridging Barriers programme released an EP last week of music mixed and recorded at Grosvenor Road Studios, celebrating their individuality and musical talents.
24-year-old Daniel Senanu Kwasi Tettey, an asylum seeker from Ghana, is one of the participants who has learned and put into practice the essential creative disciplines in music production, including writing, mixing, and mastering. Daniel commented, “It’s not just a studio. It’s like a community for me. It’s really made a change in my life.”
The official reopening of Grosvenor Road Studios will happen on Friday 22nd September, when Birmingham’s very own Ivor Novello Award-winning singer-songwriter Laura Mvula will unveil the newly refurbished space. Invited guests will also be able to discover Birmingham photographer Rob Bailey’s debut photography exhibition and the first retrospective of Birmingham’s hidden musical hip hop scene, as well as listening to the world-renowned Black Voices.