Thursday 03rd, January 2008
Turnmills to become office block
Misc: London’s much-loved club Turnmills has been sold and will be converted into shops, apartments and office blocks. The club is one of the most historic in the city and The Gallery night has hosted every major trance DJ on the planet. Read on for full info.
One of London’s best-known nightclubs is to close and be turned into an office block.
Turnmills in Clerkenwell was among the “superclubs” of the Nineties and attracted some of the biggest names in dance music including Judge Jules, Paul Van Dyk and the Chemical Brothers.
It was the home of Trade, the first after-hours club in Britain, and Pete Doherty was often spotted there, recording material in the Turnmills studio.
In its heyday, it ranked alongside Ministry Of Sound as one of the most popular clubs in the country and was the first to obtain a 24-hour dance licence. But in recent years crowds have dwindled as dance music dropped in popularity.
It has also been the scene of gang violence. In April 2003, armed men burst into the club, which was due to host So Solid Crew singer Lisa Maffia’s launch night, and robbed clubbers.
During a gun battle outside, Jason Fearon, a 26-year-old father-of-two from Edmonton, was shot dead by the gang as he attempted to flee the area in his Audi.
Now landlord Derwent London has been granted permission to build a two-storey rooftop extension on the site with the club and its dancefloor in the basement becoming offices. They can also expand the building’s floorspace by nearly 50 per cent to 64,750 sq ft. Islington council’s planning committee gave permission for change of use from a club to offices.
Architects Piercy Connor have incorporated shops and offices into the design, although the majority of the building will be reserved for offices.
Derwent London project manager David Thurston said: “The scheme includes the refurbishment, the extension on the top floor and the basement where the nightclub is. Our business is to improve buildings and improve the desirability of people coming to these buildings.” Derwent London has not set a date for work to start.
A spokesman for Turnmills confirmed the club was closing but said he did not know when and suggested Turnmills could find a new home.
He added: “As far as we are concerned our lease is still intact until any legal documents have been signed, which they haven’t at this stage and the permission to develop does not mean they need vacant possession for the first phase of the building works.
“The long-term plan for the building and development far exceeds our existing lease.
“We are in negotiation with the landlords to buy us out of the remaining lease if they want to bring the development of the basement forward – which they may or may not want to do. It’s very early days.”