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Norwich Arts Centre one of 47 places to get blue plaque in recognition of musical heritage role

PUBLISHED: 14:28 14 June 2017 | UPDATED: 14:52 14 June 2017

Coldplay at Norwich Arts Centre. Pic: Liz Reynolds.

Coldplay at Norwich Arts Centre. Pic: Liz Reynolds.

A blue plaque is to be unveiled at Norwich Arts Centre after the venue was picked as one of nearly 50 places and people to have influenced the UK’s musical landscape.

Norwich Arts Centre. Picture by SIMON FINLAY. Norwich Arts Centre. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

The St Benedicts Street venue, previously named Britain’s Best Small Venue by the NME, is one of 47 locations where the plaques will be placed.

The venue opened in 1977, but moved to its current site in St Swithin’s Church in 1980, where it was originally known as Premises.

Big names which have played in Norwich Arts Centre include Oasis, Nirvana, Coldplay, Ash and the Manic Street Preachers.

Pasco Q Kevlin, director of Norwich Arts Centre, said: “We are delighted to have been picked to receive one of 47 blue plaques across the country.

“Thank you, we will display our heritage with pride and continue to programme the best in new music.”

The final list of new plaques, covering a wide range of musical genres, from pop and rock to folk and classical, was whittled down from nominations made by BBC Local Radio listeners. The unveilings coincide with BBC Music Day.

The plaques are being awarded by BBC Local Radio with the British Plaque Trust, which usually only presents around two a year, to mark people or places that have influenced the musical landscape across the country.

Radio broadcaster John Peel is to be honoured with a blue plaque in the Suffolk village where he lived.

The plaque will go outside The Village Hall in Great Finborough, near Stowmarket, in recognition of the former BBC broadcaster’s contribution to the music industry.

John Peel died suddenly at the age 65 from a heart attack when he was working in Peru, leaving behind his wife, Sheila Ravenscroft, and their four children.

Mike Read, chairman of the British Plaque Trust, said: “A blue plaque is a recognised symbol of our national heritage, a visible milestone in our history which serves as a permanent reminder of who we are, where we’ve been and what we’ve achieved.

“The British Plaque Trust commemorates notable people from all walks of life who have made an important contribution to the history of our nation.

“We are delighted to have worked with the BBC towards Music Day 2017 for the last six months, making it possible to add deserving local music legends to the footprint of British history.”

Music-related blue plaques already in Norwich include one at Grosvenor House in Prince of Wales Road, where The Beatles played and one on John Lewis in honour of Pablo Fanque, the city-born circus proprietor who is immortalised in the Fab Four’s song Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite.

The studio where David Bowie recorded some of his best-known albums is among the places elsewhere in the country which iwll be getting a blue plaque.

Bowie, who died in January 2016 aged 69, recorded Ziggy Stardust and Hunky Dory at Trident Studios in Soho, central London.

The studio, as well as a shopping arcade and a former hotel in Kent where Bowie’s short-lived band The Manish Boys played, and Hull Paragon station where his backing band The Spiders From Mars embarked on tours, are also getting plaques.

Delia Derbyshire, an electronic music pioneer who helped craft the Doctor Who theme tune, the late broadcaster John Peel and former Pink Floyd star Syd Barrett are also among those being honoured.

The Brighton venue where Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974, and the Fox And Hounds pub in Caversham, Berkshire, where John Lennon and Paul McCartney played their only gig as The Nerk Twins - said to be in front of an audience of just three people, are also on the list.

The flat in West Didsbury, Manchester, where Factory Records - which became home to Joy Division, New Order and the Happy Mondays - was founded is also among the places getting a plaque.

The Who’s John Entwistle and Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham also among the late stars being honoured.

BBC English regions controller David Holdsworth said: “It is hugely prestigious to receive an official Blue Plaque, usually only around two are awarded each year.”

“To mark BBC Music Day across BBC Local Radio with 47 blue plaque unveilings is a fitting way to commemorate our listeners’ passion and pride for where they live and to celebrate our musical heritage.”

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