Iconic studios honoured by local heroes.
Since the 1950s, Birmingham Civic Society has erected more than 100 blue plaques which recognise individuals connected to Birmingham who have made a significant contribution to their local community or excelled in their career, along with places of historical interest in and around the city.
Grosvenor Road Studios, formerly the renowned Hollick & Taylor 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.
The historic recording studio celebrated its reopening on Friday 22nd September 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. This 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 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, has seen the studios be redeveloped and modernised to better serve the local communities, the city and beyond.
At the same time, the studios are now 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.
Speaking at the reopening event, Laura Mvula said: “This building and Black Voices pretty much raised me in music. It was here I learnt to sing, to arrange, to teach and to grow in ways I never thought possible. It’s a profound honour to be here in this moment and to be a part of the rich tapestry of talent of this great city.”
Founding member and Musical Director of Black Voices, Carol Pemberton MBE added, “I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that Grosvenor Road Studios has received this investment. It is such a unique cultural and historic landmark for Handsworth, Birmingham, and beyond, and it gives me such pleasure to think of all the people that will enjoy and benefit from its training and development programmes. The stage is set once again for Grosvenor Road Studios to both entertain and inspire in equal measure. This gem of a building – loved by so many Brummies – is now fully restored with a little help from National Lottery players and a lot of hard work by our dedicated team.”
Invited guests at the official reopening of Grosvenor Road Studios were also 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 sing with Laura Mvula.