Former Decca Studios building in West Hampstead gets Grade-II listing

The rear of Lilian Baylis House in early 2021. 

The rear of Lilian Baylis House in early 2021. - Credit: Nick Awde

Lilian Baylis House in West Hampstead is now a Grade-II listed building. 

Formerly home to Decca Studios, and before that the West Hampstead Town Hall venue, the building has been owned by the English National Opera (ENO) which has used it as office and rehearsal since 1980.

After the ENO looked to sell the building, a third party made an application for it to be listed in order to protect the recording studio infrastructure which dates back to its time owned by Decca Records.

This week Historic England confirmed it has recommended Lilian Baylis House be added to the historic buildings register.

The ENO responded by saying it is asking for the listing to be reviewed so that it only applies to the recording studios within the building. It is hoping to renovate the building and rent out space there.

The listing highlights the building's "architectural interest", "historic interest" and its "group value" along with other buildings in Broadhurst Gardens as reasons for its listing. The decision letter also cites the importance of "the earliest surviving commercial recording studio complex to be established in Britain".

An archive picture of Decca Studios in West Hampstead's Broadhurst Gardens. 

An archive picture of Decca Studios in West Hampstead's Broadhurst Gardens. - Credit: SI

Barnet and Camden's London Assembly rep Anne Clarke was among those to welcome the listing.

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She said it was "great news", adding: "The listing gives the building much needed protection as a local  asset.

"The building's use by Decca as a recording studio and also by the English National Opera reflects the creative & cultural heritage of West Hampstead. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this historic space."

An ENO spokesperson said: "We are surprised Historic England decided to announce listing the whole of LBH without first contacting us, as the owners.

Lilian Baylis House in West Hampstead used to be home to Decca Records. 

Lilian Baylis House in West Hampstead used to be home to Decca Records. - Credit: Nick Awde

"While we warmly welcome listing the three studios where significant recordings happened, we have made clear we wish to develop rest of the site to comply with modern working conditions. Currently it is totally inaccessible for disabled audiences and performers.

"The ENO has a duty to generate its own revenue, something we wish to do by renting out LBH; however, this is only possible through a significant investment programme of the whole property. It is for that reason that we will be asking the DCMS to list only the studios and not the entire site."