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Ramport Studios

The Who's recording studios in Thessaly Road, Battersea

Mod riding scooter on Queenstown Road   John, Keith and Pete at Ramport Studios, 1978  

John, Keith and Pete at Ramport Studios, May 1978. Photograph: courtesy of Brian Cady

 
Ramport Studios in October 2006  

Mod riding his scooter on Queenstown Road. From sleeve notes of Quadrophenia (1973)

 

Ramport Studios, October 2006.The studio is the red brick building to the right. Photograph: Brian Barnes

 

Brief History

Ramport Studios in Thessaly Road was created by The Who in the early 1970's. An old church was converted into a recording studio and much of The Who's music of the 1970'a was recorded there.

The most famous album associated with Ramport Studios is probably Quadrophenia, released in October 1973. Who Are You , released in August 1978, was also partly recorded at Ramport.

Accpording to local legend, Pete Townsend met the mod who eventually appeared on the sleeve notes of Quadrophenia (above left) when he went out to Condell Newsagents for more Players between recording sessions.

Other famous musicians of the time who recorded at Ramport Studios include: Brian Ferry, Thin Lizzy, Sparks, Supertramp and the Sex Pistols.

Ramport Studios is now the Battersea Fields medical practice. BPSCG members visited the building in October 2006 and discovered that the studio space in the old church is still virtually intact, with soundproof double doors going in to the studio and original finishes. The mixing console itself was apparently only removed a year or two ago.

We have now put nominated the building for a Wandsworth Council "Green Plaque", to commemorate the famous events that took place there.

We are continuing our researches into Ramport Studios, which we think is of great cultural importance to the area. Input from Who fans especially welcome.

Soundproof booth in studio   Acoustic ceiling   Battersea Power Station from Ramport Studios

Soundproof booth and double doors into studio from control room

 

Acoustic ceiling

 

Battersea Power Station from Ramport Studios

Recollections of Ramport Studios

Howard Beck wrote to tell us of his experiences working at Ramport Studios:

"You may be interested to know that the building was in use as a recording studio into the 90’s.

Although The Who sold the studio it was purchased by Virgin, and was renamed Townhouse III. The main Townhouse studio complex is in Shepherds Bush, and houses Studio’s 1 2 & 4. It was quite common for people to enquire after the whereabouts of ‘3’.

Virgin was purchased by EMI and the studio remained in operation for a period following the aquisition. Eventually EMI ‘streamlined’ the Virgin studio operation and this resulted in the closure of the Thessaly Road facility, along with The Manor Studio in Oxforshire.

Both studios were much loved by all who worked in them,  staff and clients.  These closures probably signalled the great change that has taken place within the UK recording industry, which has seen a similar fate for many studios.

I maintained the Thessaly Road studio for Virgin for the last 4 years of it’s existence and was present up until it’s final sessions.

I would have to add however that is wasn’t all roses. In the time that I worked in Thessaly Road there were several incidents (including breaking and entering) that occurred. On one occasion a member of staff was seriously assaulted, which resulted in a lengthy stay in hospital. The small bin store that you can see at the front of the building was constructed as a result of one too many fires.

I also seem to remember one of the night security staff having his motorbike set on fire, so it could be quite interesting too...

The mixing console that was housed in the studio now lives in the US. It is hailed by many world class engineers as being one of the finest sounding examples of its type, so in some small way the spirit of Thessaly Road lives on."

Paul Tuohy has sent us his reminiscences of living in the nearby Butchers Arms:

"When I was 12 years old in 1975 my dad, Patrick Tuohy, told us we were moving to a pub.  It was the Butchers Arms in Thessally Road.  We were only there about 18months but I remember getting quite good on the pool table.  During the summer some long haired blokes would come in and play pool with me for 50p bets.  It was great cos I always won.  I thought one bloke particularly fun as I’d never met a black bloke with an Irish accent.  My Dad told me they were making an album.  I thought nothing of it and life moved on.  Only a few months later when I saw the pool player on Top of the Pops did a realise it was Phil Lynott.  Happy days…"

Paul's brother played pool a lot with Chad, famed for being persuaded by Pete Townssend to get on his scooter for the Quadrophenia pic on Queenstown Road (above).

Will Reid Dick wrote to us to say:

I was a recording engineer there from 1973 - 1983, when it was bought by Virgin from the Who. It was a fantastic place to work at that time.

Georgiana Steele-Waller was also at Ramport at the time:

I was one of the first employees there, in about 1972-73. I was 'installed' at Ramport right from the start. During Quadrophenia and beyond I worked out in the front office and later co-producing with John Alcock during the making of Earl Slick's Razor Sharp, The Scottish group Bandit and Thin Lizzy's Johnnie the Fox.

I have a correction to make on the finding of 'Jimmy' for the Quadrophenia LP cover and booklet. I found him from the kids who lived in the council flats there and from the Butchers' Arms. Pete didn't smoke so wouldn't have been getting Player's from the newsagents!

I have just written a book, which is being printed as I write this, in it I have many anecdotes about Ramport. The book is titled "In My life, So Far...".

Links

The Who location guide  Places associated with The Who, including Ramport Studios

The Who Wikipedia page  Comprehensive history of the band

See also: our Pink Floyd page

Contact

bulletin@batterseapowerstation.org.uk

Posted on 14th October 2006, updated 12th May 2007

 

 

 


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