Broadhurst Gardens may not be a household name, but back in the day it was the home of Decca Recording Studios which rivalled EMI’s Abbey Road
Studios as the country’s leading recording facility.
Decca recording studios (click to enlarge)
Many popular songs and albums were recorded at Decca Studios
(for example, John Mayall's 1968 Blues from Laurel Canyon and five albums by the Moody Blues). Britain's leading Big Band, Ted Heath (bandleader) and his Orchestra recorded a succession of outstanding big band jazz records at Broadhurst Gardens for Decca during the band's peak years from 1945 until Heath's death in 1969. David Bowie recorded his first single, Liza Jane
, at the studio in 1964. The studios also saw the formation of the original Fleetwood Mac, under the aegis of then-Bluesbreakers guitarist Peter Green, after John Mayall bought him studio time as a birthday present.
Decca was founded on the original site of West Hampstead Town
Hall at 165 Broadhurst Gardens, near the junction with West End Lane
- built in 1886.
By the early 2000s, the building was home to the English National Opera.
On the corner with West End Lane
, the Railway
pub was the venue for Jimi Hendrix's first London gig.
From the late 1870s building spread on Spencer Maryon Wilson’s lands. Several roads, named after Maryon Wilson estates in other counties, ran from Finchley Road
to Priory Road
. Building began from the east end with 20 houses by Charles Kellond in Goldhurst Terrace
, the most southerly of the roads, in 1879. The middle road was Canfield Gardens
, where building began in 1881. The northern road, near the Metropolitan railway line, was Broadhurst Gardens, where 116 houses were built between 1882 and 1894. Fairhazel Gardens
(originally called North End Road) crossed the three roads to link with Loudoun Road
in St. John’s Wood.
An early exotic inhabitant was Frederick Rolfe, author and self-styled Baron Corvo, at no. 69 Broadhurst Gardens.
One of the (hidden) features of the road is the Broadhurst Gardens Community Meadow - a private area open only to the residents of the houses which surround it.
Underneath one end of the road, lies the original course of the Kilbourne Stream, a tributary of the River Westbourne.