Tuesday 20 September 2016
Location: London, England
Address: 1 Pepper Street
Date: Sept 2015
We have always been fans of the electronic music that was coming out of London, England in the early 1980s. Several people who made large contributions to this music are recording engineer Eric Radcliffe, producer Daniel Miller and musician Vincent Clarke. They all found early success at All Hallows Church inside a recording studio called Blackwing. All Hallows Church was bombed twice during World War II and Blackwing Studios closed in 2001. We decided to pay a visit to this site while there was still something left.
We turned off of Copperfield Street and into a little garden beside the church.
A notice beside a doorway explained some of the history of the church. This notice also mentioned that the bands Depeche Mode and Yazoo had both recorded albums here. Depeche Mode is a band that achieved great commercial success around the world. Vincent Clarke was an early member of the band and wrote their hit song Just Can't Get Enough. Depeche Mode recorded their first two albums at Blackwing.
In doing some online research we were able to locate archived photos of Depeche Mode on the All Hallows Church grounds. We found a photo of the band posing next to the cross (above) as well as sitting on a bench next to the brick wall and generally goofing around in the garden.
Vincent Clarke left Depeche Mode and created the group Yazoo with singer Alison Moyet. Their first album Upstairs At Eric's makes reference to engineer Eric Radcliffe who was also the owner of Blackwing Studios. The album spawned the hits Situation and Don't Go. After a second album with Yazoo, Vincent Clarke recorded Never Never at Blackwing with singer Fergeal Sharkey under the name The Assembly.
Vincent Clarke then left Blackwing Studios and went on to create the band Erasure with singer Andy Bell. Depeche Mode replaced the vacancy left by Vincent Clarke with musician Alan Wilder and also left Blackwing in order to record their future albums elsewhere. Daniel Miller continued to produce for them during the 1980s. Other notable bands have recorded at Blackwing including Fad Gadget, The Pixies and the Cocteau Twins. Even part of Nine Inch Nails debut album Pretty Hate Machine was recorded at Blackwing.
A community is trying to save the church from being developed and we hope that it can stay this way. They maintain and use the gardens surrounding the church. As well as being of interest to synthpop fans as the home of Blackwing Studios, All Hallows is one of the last remaining undeveloped World War II bombsites in London.
Map of Our World
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