Lilian Baylis House: Old Decca Studios site for sale, but could become listed

The rear of Lilian Baylis House in early 2021. 

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

The former Decca Studios building in West Hampstead is up for sale, but the Ham&High understands an application has been made to get it listed building status.

The building - currently known as Lilian Baylis House -  is owned by the English National Opera (ENO). 

ENO is looking to sell up, having used it as office and rehearsal space since 1980. Before that it was home to record label Decca Records - and famously was where the label rejected the Beatles. 

Fleetwood Mac and David Bowie were among the artists to record there. 

It is understood that the original studio infrastructure is still in place - and that Decca remains the only studio in London apart from Abbey Road able to host orchestral recording.

The ENO said it is looking to find "new, more flexible and modern rehearsal facilities". 

Keith Moffitt, co-chair of the West Hampstead and Fortune Green Neighbourhood Forum (NDF), said it would be a "real shame" to lose the building - should any buyer decide to redevelop. 

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

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He said: "We looked at whether we could get it asset of community value (ACV) status but the problem is it's not really a community facility. It's in an area that's got so much musical history. 

"It's West Hampstead's answer to Abbey Road. I'll be interested in whoever buys the building, it's a very prominent site and I'd want to see it put to a use people felt was right."

And Nick Awde, a theatre and music journalist who lives nearby and has been documenting the building's state over the early part of 2021, said: "There aren’t that many buildings in the area of note in any case, but the history behind this one is astounding. Plus the fact that, love them or hate them, ENO has kept that spirit going."

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

A spokesperson for the ENO said: "For quite a while, the ENO have been looking at possibly selling our current rehearsal and office spaces in West Hampstead.

"This remains the case and the search for new, more flexible and modern rehearsal facilities has become more important as we look forward to theatres reopening in the wake of the pandemic."

They added: "Lilian Baylis House has been integral to our success over the years and we are really sad to leave but look forward to this exciting new chapter in ENO history."