NW1 calling: blue plaque marks site of former squat where The Clash singer Joe Strummer lived
PUBLISHED: 09:30 16 December 2016
Murad Qureshi via Twitter
New sign celebrates the musician’s connection with NW1 during the height of the London punk scene.
The Seymour Housing Co-Operative has unveiled a blue plaque at the site of a former squat occupied by Joe Strummer.
The Clash singer lived at 33 Daventry Street in NW1 between 1978 and 1979, a period widely regarded as the punk rocker’s most creatively fecund.
As Strummer passed away in 2002, so he’s still not eligible for an official English Heritage blue plaque.
According to the blue plaque scheme at least 20 years must have elapsed since the candidate’s death.
Instead of waiting, the Seymour Housing Co-Operative, a mutual housing co-operative that provides social accommodation, decided to take matters into their own hands.
The plaque was ceremonially unveiled at 1.01pm on December 7 – the anniversary of The Clash’s hit album London’s Calling.
Sadiq Khan’s newly appointed Night Tsar Amy Lame was in attendance, along with Strummer’s friends and family.
Strummer wrote the album’s titular song in 1979 whilst squatting at the address, and it was later voted the best album of the 1980s by Rolling Stone Magazine.
Nowadays the streets of Marylebone are a decidedly upmarket affair, but in the late 1970s this corner of NW1 was at the heart of London’s ripped up and rebellious punk scene.
The band, whose hits include I Fought the Law and Rock the Casbah, formed in 1976 and Strummer was a founding member.
He was the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist along with Mick Jones on vocals and lead guitar, Paul Simonon on bass guitar and Nicky Headon on drums.
The punk movement has a long and illustrious history with the postcode.
1976 was the year that Camden Market opened, and The Clash shot their debut album cover in an alleyway behind the Rehearsals Rehearsals recording studio in a derelict British Rail goods yard.
Eyewitness accounts at the time tell of how Strummer and the rest of the band would roll up at 33 Daventry Street in their Renault 4L, exiting all four doors of the car at the same time in the police style.
British rock band The Slits lived down the road at 43 Daventry Street, having supported The Clash on their 1977 White Riot tour.
Two members of the Sex Pistols lived just one street over on Bell Street, along with their manager Malcolm McLaren, who was the boyfriend of Vivienne Westwood.
The new plaque also symbolises the band’s heyday.
By the early 1980s the band began to disintegrate before finally disbanding in 1985 after their album Cut the Crap was panned. But blue circle stands testament to the short but vibrant period of anarchic spirit in the streets of north London.
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