Birmingham music industry boost with £250,000 investment for Noddy Holder recording studios

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Grosvenor Road Studios in Handsworth, Birmingham - where Noddy Holder, The Thunderbirds sound effects and Jasper Carrott’s Funky Moped were all recorded - gets a National Lottery Funding boost

It’s one of the best kept secrets in Birmingham - and now it’s set to reopen with a landmark investment from the National Lottery.

Grosvenor Road Studios in Handsworth first opened in the 1940s and hosted some of the most iconic sounds of our times - and now it’s set to help boost the careers of more local musicians.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This is where Noddy Holder first did a recording, the sound effects to Gerry Anderson’s puppet show Thunderbirds and Stingray were also recorded there. And Jasper Carrott’s Funky Moped was recorded - along with the first Brum Beat album and Brighouse and Ratrick’s The Floral Dance. You can seel a fuller history of Grosvenor Road Studios below.

When the venue first opened it was called Hollick & Taylor Studios and it continues to be one of the biggest recording studios in the West Midlands, being acquired by the all-female a cappella quintet Black Voices in 2001, who continue to bring their diverse skills and knowledge of the music industry and community development to the studios.

Grosvenor Music Studios in Handsworth, BirminghamGrosvenor Music Studios in Handsworth, Birmingham
Grosvenor Music Studios in Handsworth, Birmingham | Claire Lishman

And with £250,000 National Lottery funding Grosvenor Road Studios is set to go from strength to strength. The investment is greeted towards supporting its work in encouraging stronger community cohesion while increasing the building’s usage - while remaining a welcoming centre in the heart of Handsworth.

At the same time, the studios will be able to continue its programme of training and development while playing a full part in nurturing home-grown talent to be seen regionally, nationally and internationally.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

How Grosvenor Studios in Handsworth is helping young people who are seeking careers in the music industry today

One such opportunity is a unique programme for those seeking careers in the music industry to learn skills and gain qualifications in music technology and stagecraft. Ahead of the recording studios reopening, twelve young people from the Bridging Barriersprogramme released an EP last week of music mixed and recorded at Grosvenor Road Studios, celebrating their individuality and musical talents.

Asylum seeker Daniel Senanu Kwasi Tettey, aged 24 from Ghana, is one of the participants who has learned and put into practice the essential creative disciplines in music production, including writing, mixing, and mastering. Daniel commented, “It’s not just a studio. It’s like a community for me. It’s really made a change in my life.”

The official reopening of Grosvenor Road Studios will happen tonight (Friday, September 22), when Birmingham’s very own Ivor Novello Award winning singer-songwriter Laura Mvulawill unveil the newly refurbished space.

Invited guests will also be able to discover Birmingham photographer Rob Bailey’s debut photography exhibition and the first retrospective of Birmingham’s hidden musical hip hop scene, as well as listening to the world-renowned Black Voices.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Shereece Storrod recording at Grosvenor Road StudiosShereece Storrod recording at Grosvenor Road Studios
Shereece Storrod recording at Grosvenor Road Studios | Claire Lishman

‘This is incredibly important because it helps so many young people’

Founding member and Musical Director of Black Voices, Carol Pemberton MBE said, “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised the work of Grosvenor Road Studios in this way. Now, thanks to the National Lottery players, we can reopen our studios and press on with our plans to broaden the range of opportunities available to the local community and increase the building’s usage.

“This is incredibly important because it helps so many young people to build relationships with others and to create their own supportive circles of friends and peers.”

From Noddy Holder to The Thunderbirds - The history of Grosvenor Road Studios

Grosvenor Road Studios (GRS), formerly known as Hollick and Taylor Studios, is a suite of recording studios in Handsworth, Birmingham. It is the oldest extant recording studio in the city.

The studios are in a former five-bedroomed house, which was built in 1872. From 1945 the house was occupied by John and Joan Taylor, who developed a recording studio there shortly after arriving. The studios became known as Hollick & Taylor when John set up a partnership with Charles Hollick, an engineer.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Both Noddy Holder (with Steve Brett & the Mavericks) and John Bonham (with The Senators) made their first recordings at Grosvenor Road. It was also used by Spencer Davis. Other bands to record there include The Applejacks, The Fortunes, The Moody Blues, The Move, The Rockin’ Berries, Steel Pulse, Carl Wayne and the Vikings, and Pat Wayne & The Beachcombers, and others that were part of the city’s Brum Beat movement.

Jeff Wayne used the studios to record music for an Ansells beer television commercial, with Chris Spedding on guitar. The Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band recorded their UK No. 2 hit The Floral Dance there, and Jasper Carrott’s double A-side comedy single Funky Moped / Magic Roundabout, a UK Top 5 chart hit, was produced by Jeff Lynne, with Bev Bevan on drums and backing vocals.

Grosvenor Road Recording Studios in Handsworth, BirminghamGrosvenor Road Recording Studios in Handsworth, Birmingham
Grosvenor Road Recording Studios in Handsworth, Birmingham | Claire Lishman

Comedian Ken Dodd recorded his radio shows at GRS, and the actors Gordon Jackson, John le Mesurier and John Nettles all made recordings there. Cliff Richard used the studio to launch his 1976 I’m Nearly Famousalbum.

Studio clients also included school orchestras, brass bands, military bands, and cathedral choirs. Test pressings and performers’ self-funded records were released on the Hollick & Taylor label, with some commercial releases - including a 1972 release by the Bert Weedon Quartet - on the Grosvenor label.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Working together in the studio, John and Joan Taylor also made foley recordings for film and television, including the Gerry Anderson series Thunderbirds and Stingray. Dubbing was also done there including for the 1961 film The Guns of Navarone.

The name Grosvenor Recording Studio Complex was adopted after Hollick’s death. Eventually, the Taylor’s sons, Christopher and Richard, were brought into the business. In 2001, the studios were acquired by Black Voices as a social enterprise, managed by a voluntary board.

In 2008, £1.5 million in grant funding enabled a major refurbishment. The same year the gardens were redeveloped as a community facility, and in November a sculpture of a peony seed pod, by Juginder Lamba in Shropshire oak, was unveiled by Prince Edward, Duke of Kent.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.