Pete Townshend – The Who (Published in The Times newspaper)
“I understand the need for progress and change. Crossrail is vitally important to London’s prosperity, and I support it despite the chaos it’s brought to London traffic, especially around Soho. Eventually we hope it will reduce traffic as more people use the train.
But to use this essential rail service as an excuse to change the funky and hearty face of the Soho streets is wrong.
The developers say they are not demolishing Denmark Street, but it seems the street is being redeveloped. Shop space is being vastly reduced, and the rents will surely go up. I’d hate to think Denmark St – London’s Tin Pan Alley – might be lost to redevelopment. These unique music shops could be priced out of existence in the wake of Crossrail.
In the sixties I bought fuzz boxes and strings for my guitars from Macari’s guitar shop in Denmark Street. The Who did a backing vocal rehearsal with Shel Talmy in Denmark Street at Regent Sounds in 1964. I used to shop at the Drum Store when living in nearby Wardour Street, Soho.
Boris Johnson and Camden Council please make Denmark Street a Heritage Zone. Otherwise a massive chunk of rock music history will be lost forever.
Progress is important, but so are the local landmarks of our great city”
Pete Townshend December 2014