Reasons for Designation
Abbey Road Studios is listed for the following principal reasons:
* Historical: as one of the very earliest purpose-built recording studios in the world, expressly built to house the fast-developing technology of sound recording;
* Musical: as the place of recording by many celebrated artists, both classical and popular; the strong connection with The Beatles, and their producer George Martin, is of especial note;
* Cultural: as a renowned site associated with the music industry (one of the few such buildings of any note) which has become a much-visited shrine to an important British industry and area of cultural achievement;
* Architectural: for its late Georgian frontage, relating to the early development of St. John's Wood, and for the involvement of the noted inter-war architects Wallis, Gilbert & Partners;
* Interior: despite extensive modification, special interest resides in the early fabric and layout of Studios One and Two.
This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 19 April 2021 to reformat the text to current standards
St Johns Woods
3, Abbey Road Studios
Recording Studios. Frontage house of c.1830, substantially modified and enlarged in 1930-31 to form a recording studio: Wallis Gilbert & Partners, architects. Rendered brick, slate roof; rear extension of yellow stocks, part-rendered.
EXTERIOR: four-bay front of two storeys over a basement, the right-hand bay slightly set back. Entrance flanked by Greek Revival pilasters and reached via steps (renewed). Tall ground floor windows set within moulded frames, with plate glass sashes. Smaller first floor windows within frames, beneath deep eaves. Large rear elevation containing recording studios: utilitarian (save for some channelled render to corners), with cast lintels and metal windows.
INTERIOR: much altered. The areas of special interest are confined to Studios One and Two. The former, intended for orchestral work, is a huge space, roofed with latticed steel trusses, and with distinctive baffle boards to the walls (post-war in date): it has lost its stage and its original Art Deco decoration. Studio Two, originally intended for big bands and smaller orchestras and best known as the Beatles' preferred studio, retains its decorative plaster ceiling and the wooden stairs leading to the control room at mezzanine level. Studio Three, built for piano recording, has been considerably altered in recent times (Sam Toyishima, designer) and is of lesser historical stature as a result. Otherwise the interior has been substantially remodelled, with only a pair of staircases remaining from Wallis Gilbert & Partners'campaign of works. The interest lies principally in the recording studio and control rooms, rather than in the other administrative rooms.
HISTORY: Abbey Road Studios are regarded as the earliest, as well as the best-known, purpose-built recording studios in the world. They were opened by Sir Edward Elgar in November 1931 (see Westminster CC plaque on exterior) and were used by a wide range of outstanding musicians. The studios cost £100,000 to buy, build and equip: the project was started by the Gramophone Company in 1929, which was soon after subsumed within the Electric & Musical Industries (EMI) company. Artists who have recorded here include Arthur Schnabel, Fats Waller, Noel Coward, Glen Miller, Marlene Dietrich, Gracie Fields, The Beatles, Pink Floyd etc. Abbey Road is known particularly for its close connection with The Beatles, over 190 of whose 210 recordings were made here with George Martin: their 1969 album was even named Abbey Road. Pink Floyd's 1973 album 'Dark Side of the Moon' was recorded here in Studio Three. The studios are listed primarily for their considerable cultural importance and their place in the history of popular music, as well as their importance as a notable manifestation of the fast-developing technology of sound recording. The areas possessing special architectural and historic interest can be closely defined as Studios One and Two, and the street frontage.