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Madness star backs music museum idea

School still hopes to move into old police station

11 March, 2020 — By Helen Chapman

Madness on the Camden Walk of Fame

MUSICIANS, curators and authors have backed a photographer’s idea to open a centre for music heritage in the old police station site in Hampstead.

Lee Thompson from Madness said this week he “loves the concept” and joked: “I have visited this clink on several occasions but never for such a positive and eye-opening cause.”

He added: “Let’s have a riot in Cell Block Number 9.”

The band saw a tribute stone on the new Music Walk of Fame unveiled in their honour last week.

Jill Furmanovsky, founder of the photography collective Rock Archive and who has spent a career of 40 years snapping stars such as the Gallagher brothers from Oasis, Pink Floyd and the Nutty Boys, is behind the proposal

Photographer Jill Furmanovsky

As the New Journal reported last month, she has her eyes on the old police station site in Rosslyn Hill after it was left empty since 2013.

The building was bought by the Depart­ment for Education after it was shut down as a working police station by Boris Johnson during his time as the Mayor of London.

The Abacus free school has since been blocked from moving into the building and is currently bussing pupils from Belsize Park to a temporary site in King’s Cross each day. The school is currently appealing against Camden’s refusal to grant planning permission.

Its application split views in the neighbourhood with a raging debate over school run traffic and road pollution, as well as an ambition to protect historic features inside the building.

Gail Buckland, who lives in New York, curated the rock photography exhibition Who Shot Rock and Roll which toured worldwide.

She proposed the idea of holding a pop-up exhibition in the old police station site while a decision over the future of the building is being made.

“Neither jails nor any type of building look good empty,” she said. “It is depressing and a waste of valuable real estate. How much more fun to see The Police in jail and on the walls of holding cells, in stairways, hallways and entry ways. ock photography is social history and the Department for Education, which owns the old jailhouse, could make it rock. These historic photographs must be cherished, exhibited and preserved.”

Arnold Kransdorff, author of Corporate Amnesia, a book about the dangers of losing historic knowledge and material, said: “I reckon that a rock museum would attract a large proportion of the tourists that come to London every year. “Done imaginatively, it could be self-financing but it would still need to be kick-started.”

Abacus was Abacus was contacted for comment.

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