Roundhouse

· Thursday September 18, 2014

Little did the Victorians know that when they were building some of their biggest, most functional railway buildings – the Roundhouse was originally a railway repair shed – a little over a century later those same buildings would be hotbeds of extremely un-Victorian iniquity. By 1966 you came here for loud music, outrageous clothes, suspicious cigarettes and a big stage for some of the most influential and inspiring artists of the 20th century. The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, the Doors – you get the idea.

Huge, spacious and high-ceilinged with a tinge of mid-industrial grit, today in the Roundhouse you find that the black-clad memento-mori-brandishing celibates of yesteryear unwittingly built one of the coolest performance spaces that London has. With capacity for 3,300 people under its grand domed roof, today you can see everything from Mr. Scruff to the Brian Jonestown Massacre, circus performances and live cinema screenings with orchestral accompaniment. It also has five separate bars, each with a distinct character, two great kitchen/restaurants, and a roof terrace that is transformed into a beach in summer, complete with sand, beach huts and a swimming pool.