Aeolian Hall, London

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Aeolian Hall located at 135-137 New Bond Street, began life as the Grosvenor Gallery, being built by Sir Coutts Lindsay in 1876, an accomplished amateur artist, with a predeliction for the aesthetic movement, for which he was held up to some ridicule. In 1883, he decided to light his gallery with electricity. An outhouse became a substation, and equipment was installed in the basement, which upset some of the neighbours, and caused others to buy electricity from him. Thus began the system of electrical distribution in use today, but the threat of fire ended these activities, and by 1890, Lindsay was forced to sell out to the Grosvenor Club. By 1903 the whole building was taken over by the Orchestrelle Company of New York (the Aeolian Company). As manufacturers of musical instruments, and especially the mechanical piano-player known as the pianola, they converted the space into offices, a showroom, and a concert hall.

Aeolian Hall was a popular venue for the Russian recitalist Vladimir Roosing. The hall was even turned into an intimate opera house for one set of performances. In June 1921 Rosing presented, with director Theodore Komisarjevsky and conductor Adrian Boult, a season of Opera Intime, performing The Queen of Spades, Barber of Seville, and Pagliacci.[1]

After the destruction of their St George's Hall studios in March 1943,[2] the BBC took it over during the Second World War, for broadcasting and recording concerts and recitals, giving up the premises in 1975. The Beatles recorded "Taste of Honey" in Aeolian Hall on 10 July 1963 for a BBC broadcast of "Pop Goes the Beatles", a regular BBC radio show. This particular recording aired on 23 July 1963 (See insert from "The Beatles, Live at the BBC" EMI). During the 1970s the studio was also used, in addition to the BBC's Maida Vale studio, to record 'live' music sessions for The Jimmy Young Show and The Terry Wogan Show with lesser known national bands such as 'Peanuts' and 'Sweet'. It is now called Renoir House, the building that fronts New Bond Street is today (July 2012) under redevelopment with only the frontage preserved, however the hall at the back of the site survives and has been divided into offices for Sotheby's.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Boult, Adrian Cedric. My Own Trumpet (1973), p.48, Hamish Hamilton, London.
  2. ^ Institute of Broadcast Sound accessed 16 April 2007

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′44″N 0°08′39″W / 51.5121°N 0.1443°W / 51.5121; -0.1443