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Proposal for the Future

Why the Studio could become an asset to the local community while appealing to many people as a living part of London’s cultural life 

The great musicians who played at 19a a century ago sensed that “the most precious aspect of the room was its power to attract great artists to make music” as Rubinstein observed.

It has always been my ambition to hold musical events here again, and as my lifelong home, it is vitally important to me that 19a continues to be a living place of creativity, and is not just mothballed and standing empty most of the time.  I have devoted my life to music and to trying to save the studio for the present and the future.  It is central to every aspect of my life and work.

The Handel House Museum in Brook Street is a similar example of a building of great historic significance to the musical world which remained unrecognised for nearly two and a half centuries before it opened to the public for the first time only ten years ago.

It is now a vital part of London’s cultural identity and the possibility that it could have been lost forever now seems inconceivable.  Handel House welcomes established and international musicians as well as encouraging and nurturing young artists. Its importance to the world’s musical heritage is now acknowledged and it has become a focus for historical instrument performances in London, being visited by international audiences.  I regularly perform there and I could use my experience to give similar talks and performances about music at 19a Edith Grove. 

Since the publication of Rubinstein’s  My Young Years  and the rediscovery of Muriel Drapers book, Music at Midnight  during the 1970s, my parents and I got used to the knocks on the door, especially during the summer months when tourists would come to do homage at the musical shrine, now  hidden behind  the 1950s flats. The studio has recently been the subject of an article by John C Q Roberts, published in the Chelsea Society Report 2011 in  March 2012 and there is growing awareness of the significance of 19a as an important part of Chelsea’s cultural heritage.

I tutor a music appreciation class for a charity called Open Age which provides educational and recreational opportunities to elderly people of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea who would love to visit 19a having heard about its historic musical past.  

My vision for the future of 19a is similar to the Handel House, and I believe it, too, should one day take its place as an essential part of our nation’s extraordinary cultural heritage and an application for Listing has been made to English Heritage.

While Handel is one of the greatest figures in all musical history, he is but one figure. 19a has international associations with many of the greatest musicians of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as with artists, writers and the theatre.  It is of pivotal historical significance, in that the years 1912 to 1915 were a landmark in the birth if modernism. I am working with the Museum of Music History and if our campaign is successful, believe it could be the most significant example of a musical heritage building to be saved since the Handel House.  

Nicholas Lane 14th October 20, 2012