The Roundhouse is one of the most architecturally astounding and unique event spaces and best-known venues for audiences seeking bold, innovative cultural experiences in London.
its use today is a far cry from its beginnings. Originally it was built as a ‘round house’ for maintaining and storing goods engines for trains on their way from Euston to Birmingham. Opening in 1847, the Roundhouse was justly celebrated as a marvellous feat of civil engineering. But it served as a repair and maintenance shed for less than two decades before the rapid evolution of railway technology rendered it obsolete. From the 1860’s it was taken on by WS Gilbey of Gilbey’s Gin whowould remain in residence for more than 90 years, but was not until 1964 that it began its life as a cultural venue.
It was enamed ‘Centre 42’ after Trades Unions Congress passed a resolution on agenda item 42 to conduct an enquiry into the arts. The venue became a cutting-edge arts venue, opening with the legendary 1966 launch of radical underground newspaper the International Times which featured a little known band called Pink Floyd and went on to stage some of the most experimental, controversial and memorable performances of the 60s including Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Steven Berkoff’s Metamorphosis, Tony Richardson’s Hamlet, Sex Pistols, The Living Theatre, Fleetwood Mac and The Doors.
Punk arrived at The Roundhouse in 1976 with a year of concerts including The Damned, The Clash, The Ramones, Patti Smith and The Stranglers. Then in 1978, it was post-punk with Blondie, Elvis Costello, The Police and Adam and the Ants. However, due to funding issues, after almost two decades of live music and experimental performance, the Roundhouse closed in 1983 and would remain so for years to come. Although utilised for staging the occassional concert and theatre peformances throughout the subsequent twenty years, it was not until June 2006 that the venue re-opened as its current incarnation after a £30 million refurbishment.
Since reopening it has hosted iconic events such as the BBC Electric Proms and the iTunes Festival and been established as the home of contemporary circus in London. In 2008, they launched an on-site community radio station, Roundhouse Radio, developing the careers of young radio presenters, producer and DJs. And the work continues with a year round programme of live music, circus and cabaret, theatre, spoken word.
Chalk Farm Road
London NW1 8EH
Tel:020 7424 9991
Studio Theatre Capacity: 250
CC14 Opening Times:
Fri: & Sat: until 11:00 pm
Our building was redeveloped to be universally welcoming and physically accessible. Visit link for full details about venue accessibility: