Public consultation regarding the construction of Jackson Studios at COAM

23rd March 10am – 2pm

Find out more and give your input on our Jackson Studios Exhibition and Community Cafe Project.

We are holding a community consultation day on Saturday, 23rd March, 2019, 10am – 2pm (Free entry). The consultation will take place in the Museum’s Astleham cottage (the rest of the Museum will remain closed). Everyone is welcome to attend.

We have an exciting project to reconstruct Jackson Recording Studios at the Museum. We are particularly interested to chat to local community groups who think they could benefit from the project and community space. We want honest feedback on our ideas and suggestions. We’d welcome any community support on the project as well as partnerships.

About the project

Chiltern Open Air Museum (COAM) is applying to the HS2 Community and Environment Fund (CEF) for funds towards reconstructing Jackson Recording Studios. CEF is part of a £40 million government programme for the whole of the London – West Midlands HS2 route to offset the disruption of Phase One development on local communities. The fund is aimed at large projects that will provide a benefit to several communities and address strategic rather than purely local concerns. Where possible, the available funds need to leave a sustainable legacy. The Museum has some match funding but will need to raise additional funds from other grant and fundraising sources.

Background information on Jackson Studios

Jackson Studios is currently in storage at COAM. The studios were once owned by the Jackson family who donated the building to the Museum after it was threatened with demolition.

The studios, originally in Maple Cross, were used as a recording studio by Jack Jackson. Jack was a popular bandleader during the 1930s and 1940s and later became a highly influential radio disc jockey, broadcasting on BBC Radio and TV where he became known as the ‘father of DJs’.

On his retirement, Jack handed over the studios to his sons, who in the 1970s, set up a commercial recording studio that became renowned for its ‘dead’ sound. Many world famous artists recorded at the studios, including Elton John, Ian Dury and Motorhead (recording their definitive track Ace of Spades there). It was one of the first recording studios to provide overnight accommodation for artists. With the advent of digital technology, the studios went into decline and were eventually rescued by the Museum from developers.

The current project plan

We want to reconstruct Jackson Studios at the entrance of our site in the paddock opposite the Museum’s Astleham cottage offices. Jackson Studios consists of a cottage, originally built in 1745, with an attached 19th century barn that was converted into a recording studio. The Museum’s main entrance will be modified so that the studios and facilities will be available to use without paying the Museum’s admission fee. It will also enable the studio facilities to remain open during the main Museum’s winter closed period.

The Museum’s reconstruction will include:

  • A historical exhibit of the music, recording history and local music connections
  • A working echo chamber
  • A replica 70s sound booth
  • A 70s accessible café and meeting space
  • A community event space for hire
  • A volunteers training and development room and workshop
  • Development of music history learning resources and workshops

The 70s themed café will reflect the studios’ heyday, with space for community groups to meet, local businesses and groups to hire and local bands to perform, creating a lasting community asset. Priority bookings will be given to community groups local to the Museum.

The main cottage will be an exhibit that will reflect what it was like for the artists that recorded there, where they slept, how sound was recorded, their stories and memoirs of the studios and their links with other areas of the Chilterns.

Within the cottage there will be a training, development, and workshop space for volunteers. The Museum volunteers are in need of their own space to store their belongings, hold meetings and briefings, to work on Museum projects, learn and develop skills, and socialise.

Once reconstructed we will develop music history learning resources and workshops in partnership with local schools. These will be delivered alongside the Museum’s award winning education programme.

The project will provide local job opportunities during both construction and after construction for the running of the facilities.

We will create a local communications programme to publicise the project, recruit volunteers and encourage community participation in as many aspects of the project as possible including; interpretation, landscaping, research and communications.

The aim of the project is to provide a community hub and meeting space, develop volunteering opportunities and engagement, and preserve an important piece of Chilterns history. Chiltern Open Air Museum is a well-known local charity and visitor attraction and this project will help support the Museum and leave a legacy for the local community to enjoy.

Further information

If you can not attend the consultation day and would like to know more then please contact:

Gill Whitehead, Development Officer development@coam.org.uk or Helen Light, Marketing Manager marketing@coam.org.uk or call the Museum office on 01494 871 117.