Reasons to Live in London: A History of Music Venues

Why Living in London Has Its Benefits

One of several advantages of living in the City (whether you own or rent in London) is that you are just a tube ride away from many excellent music venues. For the music buffs who routinely go to live gigs, if you live in London, you needn’t worry about those things which out-of-towners have tos when they travel in for a gig. These include:

  • Running for the last train, missing the last few songs of a set, including your absolute favourite.
  • Packing a big bag for a full day trip; hence being weighed down or paying for the cloakroom, which you then have to queue for later. Additionally, it’s hard to look as cool with a big bag, compared to someone who glides in smoothly with just their wallet, phone and keys.
  • Having to take the day off from work that day/the next morning, or risk extreme tiredness.
  • Dealing with canceled trains or detours going and returning.

Either way, you’re probably aware that London hosts several prestigious venues, brimming with music history; whether a small, intimate hall where a fledgling indie rock band start out, or a large venue with a seating capacity in the thousands. You may not know however, about some of the history behind these locations.

The O2 Arena

Feeling my age, I remember when this was the Millennium Dome around the turn of the century; one of several projects to celebrate this moment, alongside the London Eye. However, the exhibitions inside the dome on opening, weren’t met with much enthusiasm by the public after all the hype that it would both entertain and educate. The Jubilee station which serves the O2 arena in Greenwich, is the largest in Europe.

Hammersmith Apollo

Formerly a cinema, the previously-known Gaumont Palace cinema was opened in 1932. It has gone through a number of name changes, including the Hammersmith Odeon, Labatt’s Apollo, Carling Apollo Hammersmith and Hammersmith Apollo, to reflect its ownership and various purposes. Earlier this year, it was announced that AEG Live and Eventim had secured the property, having recently been one of eleven venues run by the HMV and MAMA group. The Apollo’s Compton pipe organ is one of few in the UK to remain in their original building.

Wembley Arena

Formerly called Empire Pool, Wembley Arena was originally built to as a swimming complex for the 1934 Olympic Games (which, when you look at the exterior, makes a lot of sense). Before the O2 Arena came into being, Wembley arena was the largest indoor arena in the UK. It too received some love as part of the Millennium regeneration project.


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