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King's Heath's York Road could rival Liverpool's Cavern as a Major Musical Heritage Tourist Attraction

Above: The Ritz Ballroom before it was destroyed by fire

A major campaign has been launched to ensure that the Ritz Ballroom site is re-developed in a way that reflects the pivotal role the ballroom played in Birmingham's pop music history and to promote King's Heath as a major musical heritage tourist attraction.

The campaign which is being co-ordinated by the King's Heath Walk of Fame has been started after Birmingham Mail reporter Nick McCarthy wrote on 2 June that Toyah Willcox's pavement star on York Road had been removed for safekeeping following the fire that destroyed the ballroom .

Joint Walk of Fame organisers Bob Prew and Ken Whittaker's reply which was published on 10 June states:

"Nick McCarthy is quite right to point out that we have had to dig up and store Toyah Willcox's pavement star on the King's Heath Walk of Fame  following the fire that left the former Ritz Ballroom in ruins (Birmingham Mail 2 June).

Birmingham Civic Society have also had to remove and store their first Musical Heritage Plate commemorating the historical role the ballroom played in Birmingham's pop music scene from the late 1950's onwards.

Not only did up and coming Birmingham bands The Move and The Moody Blues start off their careers there but also a whole host of now internationally famous groups made their Birmingham debut there including The Beatles, The Stones, The Kinks, Pink Floyd and The Who.

With the right re-development of the site, York Road in King's Heath could become a real tourist attraction to rival Liverpool's famous Cavern Club. Included in the attraction could be the King's Heath Walk of Fame pavement stars, the Ritz Ballroom musical heritage plate and the Performance Rights Society plaque commemorating UB40's first ever gig at the Hare & Hounds.

We have asked our local councillors to arrange a meeting between us and the owner of the Ritz Ballroom site and the Planning Department to get the site re-developed in a way that acknowledges the pivotal role The Ritz played in Brum's musical heritage.

With Council advice and support, we could also try and acquire the site by making an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund and re-develop it as a living Birmingham Pop Music Museum with regular live eventsi and a rehearsal space for today's up and coming groups".

Please support our campaign. Write to your local councillors and MP's and get in touch with us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "

Not only does York Road contain the Ritz Ballroom site but it also boasts two of Birmingham's premier live music venues in the Hare & Hounds and the Kitchen Garden Cafe, one of Birmingham's best independent record stores Polar Bear and a host of independent cafes, bars and shops. And just round the corner is the Highbury Studio where Duran Duran and Ocean Colour Scene made their first recordings.

Please support our campaign by writing to:-

Moseley and Kings Heath Ward Councillors

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Below: Bev Bevan presents Toyah Willcox with a replica of the pavement star that has had to be  temporarily removed from YorK Road.

 
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