One of London’s most iconic venues, the Roundhouse in Camden, wants the public’s memories of the seminal role it’s played in the capital’s cultural life as part of an oral history project.
A new website launching next month will explore the history of the Roundhouse from its inception in the 1960s by playwright Sir Arnold Wesker, who sought to spread culture beyond the elite – the groundbreaking arts venue opened on 15 October 1966 with a Pink Floyd gig – to the Roundhouse as it stands today, as well as celebrating its rebirth in 2006 with support from Sir Torquil Norman with a mission to provide creative opportunities for young people.
The project will also celebrate the building’s rich heritage, tracing its origins in 1846 as an engine repair shed and marvel of civil engineering and showcase how the much-loved landmark has been used over the years, from a gin storage warehouse, a location for horror films and music videos, to a space for live music and performances and even a week-long rave.
Memories information and musings are being sought from everyone from performers to gig goers to local residents, as well as collate accounts, images, press cuttings, artwork, video footage, and audio recordings spanning the last five decades. Divided into chapters, the site will cover experiences and encounters from the organisation’s beginnings right up to the music greats who still play at the venue today and throws a light on the vast history and countercultural role that the building has played in the last half century.
Stuart Hobley, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, said: “Music, art and mayhem! More than just a ’round’ house, this extraordinary building is a corner stone to London’s creative cultural scene. From championing Pink Floyd, Hendrix and the Sex Pistols to fostering emerging talent from the community – thanks to National Lottery players, this anniversary project will celebrate 50 years of the many ground-breaking achievements of the Roundhouse and preserve these landmark occasions and memories associated with it.”
Submit memories @RoundhouseLDN using the hashtag #MyRoundhouseStory on Twitter or Instagram or leave a comment on the Roundhouse Facebook page www.facebook.com/RoundhouseLDN or email submissions to MyRoundhouseStory@Roundhouse.org.uk