Nick Mason helps launch 28million Roundhouse regeneration
Written by Matt   
Wednesday, 05 May 2004

The 1846 steam engine repair shed and turning platform for locomotives (hence its shape) that later became a legendary concert venue, known as the Roundhouse, saw work finally start on its £28million regeneration yesterday. The venue, in Chalk Farm, London, was host to a number of performances from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, and of course, Pink Floyd.

To mark the beginning of the work, Juliet Stevenson (the actress), Suggs (Madness) Terry Gilliam (Monty Python and film director), and Nick Mason - all of which have strong ties to the venue or area of London - wore hard hats to get the building under way. The aim is to create a state-of-the-art centre to train stars of the future and present today's big names.

After years of ambitious schemes that never got off the ground, the Roundhouse was bought in 1996 for about £3m by Torquil Norman, a wealthy toy manufacturer, who developed a dual-purpose vision for the building to incorporate an educational element. It was based partly on his concern that modern schooling was sacrificing creativity for success in examinations.

Nick Mason, who last performed there in June 2000 as part of the Rebuild The Roundhouse Gala (joining Hugh Cornwall for a version of Interstellar Overdrive), said: "With Torquil it has a long-term future and [it] is probably the best thing that could happen."

Terry Gilliam recalled that some of his fondest memories were Roundhouse shows when he first arrived from America in the 1960s. Indeed, The Doors played their only UK concert at the Roundhouse, in 1968 - and it was subsequently released on video and DVD as The Doors Are Open.