Rock 'academy' that coached the stars fights for its life

Rock and pop stars have backed a campaign to save a school which has prepared hundreds of young people for careers in the business.

The London Music School (LMS), housed in an East End warehouse, is due to close at the end of October unless it can quickly find alternative, affordable premises. The school has trained hundreds of hopefuls from Britain and abroad in skills such as guitar, vocals, bass, drums, sound engineering and music technology since it was founded in 1984 by the late Ian Dury's former girlfriend, bass player Denise Roudette.

But now its lease is running out and the freeholder, a large property company, is determined to replace the former 19th century tea warehouse with 10 luxury flats.

Stars who have rallied to the LMS's support – by writing letters opposing the development – include Oasis, Queen guitarist Brian May, musician and broadcaster Jools Holland, and, before he died in June, The Who's bass player John Entwistle. Graduates of the school include Martin Carling, now drummer with "trip-hop" band Morcheeba, Stefan Olsdal, guitarist with Goth rockers Placebo and drummer Ian Mussington of grunge band Soul Asylum. Many former LMS students have made careers as session musicians, playing with acts as diverse as Bjork, the Bee Gees and Mica Paris.

One of the school's biggest successes is completely unknown in Britain – but singer Gao Feng is a million-selling superstar in China and the Far East. Last year, half the 150 students came from 23 foreign countries including Cyprus, France, India, Israel, Italy, Korea, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Sweden, Turkey and the US. Those from Britain included several from the school's deprived hinterland in East London.

The LMS is one of very few pop "academies" in the UK, the closest being the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, which was set up in 1996 with the backing of Sir Paul McCartney.

The school is upstairs from and under the same ownership as The Bass Centre and The Acoustic Centre, specialist guitar shops whose customers read like a Who's Who of rock and pop music: Sir Paul, Oasis, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, The Who, Radiohead, Genesis, Manic Street Preachers, U2, Jamiroquai, Queen, Wet, Wet, Wet, Bryan Adams – even The Spice Girls. Bon Jovi dropped by before their London gig last week.

The Bass Centre's owner, Barry Moorhouse, started working for an orchestral hire business based in the warehouse in 1976, and opened the Bass Centre in 1984. He bought his upstairs neighbour, the LMS, formerly the Musicians Institute, when it fell into the hands of receivers in 1999. He feels "deeply let down" by the Government since a planning inspector in John Prescott's department found in favour of the developers, Macleod and Fairbriar, in July. "After all that talk about Cool Britannia, it makes you wonder what's important to these people," he said. "Twenty people may lose their jobs. Two hundred students will be let down. Hundreds of local people and local businesses objected to the planning application. So did all these these rock stars. Twenty years of pop history will be lost. Yet none of this matters; it's all been ignored so that a property company can build 10 half-a-million-pound flats."

The LMS's administrator, Diana Mole, said: "We're not trying to turn out pop stars but people with the skills to make a solid career in one of Britain's most successful industries, which was worth more than £1bn last year."

The school in Wapping High Street, is one of the few "real" businesses providing jobs for local people and supporting the local economy. Ms Mole, who lives locally, said: "We've put a lot into this area in terms of jobs, and giving opportunities to kids from Tower Hamlets, which overall is still a deprived borough. Does Wapping need another swanky block of flats occupied by rich people?" Staff blame Tower Hamlets council for not standing up for the school. The Labour borough's own development plan says that educational establishments are protected from the change of use planned for the LMS, but planners were equivocal about whether it qualified and advised the flats scheme should get the go-ahead.

Councillors turned it down, but Macleod and Fairbriar won an appeal to the Secretary of State this month. Hiring lawyers and planning consultants has all but exhausted Mr Moorhouse's resources, and closure of the school and the instrument shops now looks inevitable unless a saviour can be found.

Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
newsComedian Lee Hurst started trend with first tweet using the hashtag
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Extras
indybest

Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel you sales role is li...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Creative Content Executive (writer, social media, website)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...

Legal Recruitment Consultant

Highly Competitive Salary + Commission: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL BASED - DEALING ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition