Get a personalised letter from Santa

Celebrating life or profiting from suicide? Hampstead rocker to turn Ian Curtis’s final home into museum

PUBLISHED: 16:05 19 June 2015 | UPDATED: 16:05 19 June 2015

Musician Jeff Shapiro

Musician Jeff Shapiro


Jeff Shapiro is to turn the home where Curtis committed suicide into a base for Joy Division fans, finds Alex Bellotti.

It may have been the setting of one of pop music’s biggest tragedies, but a Hampstead musician is hoping to turn Ian Curtis’s last home into a museum celebrating the Joy Division front man.

Jeff Shapiro was approached to plan and design the project by his friend, entrepreneur Hadar Goldman, who secured the Macclesfield property with a last minute bid of £190,000 – nearly twice its asking price – after being inspired by a failed crowdfunding attempt by fans.

The terraced building housed Curtis and his family until 1980, when the punk legend hanged himself in the kitchen at the age of 23. Having looked set to be used as a home, many fans are relieved it will now be saved from obscurity. But others question whether creating a museum would be celebrating suicide.

Shapiro, however, insists it is rather a celebration of Curtis’ life, the band and the scene they inspired.

“It’s very hard to understand how things worked at that time and how someone like Ian Curtis could end up killing himself at the age of 23,” the 38-year-old says.

“At the same time, I think they stood for something really powerful, although for a short time, and that’s some of the reason we feel this could be very special.”

As a member of rock group Playing Mars, Shapiro is a 
long-time fan of Joy Division and cites them as a “big influence on anyone who does alternative, slightly dark music – something that’s a bit more individual and unique”.

His immediate plans for the building include securing it blue plaque status, before proceeding with planning applications, holding a competition for art students to help with the design and launching a website where fans can share new artistic content.

Shapiro admits neither he nor Goldman have cleared the project with Curtis’ widow, Deborah, or daughter, Natalie, but insists they will approach key figures “in a very soft way” once plans are finalised.

“The whole thing is hopefully going to be documented in a good place. Taking it forward will be the online thing, which will be taking it into the future and creating maybe new opportunities for artists.

“People can use the website to showcase their alternative music and talents – whether it’s poetry or art or anything else. It’s trying to look at Ian Curtis; who he was, and what he stood for.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

Yesterday, 16:00

Herts/Middlesex One: St Albans 17 Hendon 12

Yesterday, 15:00

The 31-year-old will be expected to play a crucial role for Spurs at the Camp Nou on Tuesday

Yesterday, 13:48

Goals from Hampstead & Westminster’s Will Calnan and Luke Taylor secured England a mouth-watering Hockey World Cup quarter-final tie with Argentina.

Yesterday, 18:06

A young man was stabbed in Kentish Town this afternoon.

Bostik Premier: Margate 2 Wingate & Finchley 2

Yesterday, 17:08

Top Seven seasonal reads with Sanchita Basu de Sarkar from the Children’s Bookshop in Muswell Hill

Yesterday, 16:58

The Ham&High columnist reminds us of our deep rooted connection to trees as he writs about Poplar’s missing poplars

Yesterday, 16:15

Police are trying to find Nadia Ellewood, who has gone missing from Belsize Park.

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now