"King's Heath leads the way in celebrating musical heritage" says Birmingham Mail (Click Here)
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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

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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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.

 
Ex-Kinks Members return to King's Heath to repeat 1966 Triumph

Above: The Kinks in 1966 with left John Dalton, centre Dave and Ray Davies and right Mick Avory

Kings Heath will be getting really kinky on Sunday 8 June as ex-members of the legendary pop group The Kinks return for a unique anniversary concert in the intimate atmosphere of the Hare & Hounds pub. And history might repeat itself with an England World Cup victory coming just a month later as it did in 1966.

The specially arranged concert will,in fact, celebrate three anniversaries: the 50th Anniversary of The Kinks being formed in Muswell Hill in London, the 48th Anniversary of the group appearing at the former Ritz Ballroom in Kings Heath and the 20th Anniversary of the original drummer Mick Avory forming The Kast Off Kinks to keep the music of the group alive.

When The Kinks appeared at the Ritz Ballroom in June 1966 their line-up included for the first time John Dalton after regular bass guitarist Pete Quaife broke his leg in a car accident. Appearing only two days after being recruited, John had virtually no time to practice. Three years later he would re-join as a permanent member.

Now he will be returning to Kings Heath for the first time as part of The Kast Off Kinks along with fellow ex-Kinks members drummer Mick Avory who also appeared at The Ritz in 1966, keyboard player Ian Gibbons along with lead guitarist and vocalist Dave Clarke who previously worked with The Beach Boys.

John Dalton says “ It is great to be going back to Kings Heath 48 years after doing my first gig with The Kinks there. We played at the Ritz on 11 June 1966. I can remember being very nervous because I had only known The Kinks for two days and in those two days I had done Top Of The Pops, two recording sessions and had to learn all the songs for the show. It was very hectic. It will also bring back very fond memories to me because all my relations come from just up the road in Balsall Heath and I used to spend all my childhood holidays there”

The Kinks' appearance at The Ritz came just after they released "Sunny Afternoon" which became their third No. 1 hit in the UK singles charts. The group went on to have a total of seventeen Top Twenty singles including “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”, “Waterloo Sunset” and “Lola” and five Top Ten albums starting with “Kinda Kinks”.

All their greatest hits will be included in the almost two hour set that The Kast Off Kinks will perform at the Hare & Hounds on Sunday 8 June with doors opening at 7 p.m.


Local residents Bob Prew and Ken Whittaker who have organised the concert said, “We believe that being able to watch and listen to ex- Kinks members perform in the intimate atmosphere of the Hare & Hounds is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The Kinks are one of the most important British groups of all time and they continue to have a major influence on today's music scene. We are expecting a capacity audience as we continue to celebrate the rich musical legacy of the Ritz Ballroom. It would also be fantastic if the gig was followed by an England World Cup Victory as in 1966!".

Click on the link below to read the Birmingham Mail article on the gig:

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/kinks-return-birmingham-48-years-7183600

 
Olympic Cycling Hero Tommy Godwin to be honoured on the Walk of Fame on Sunday 18 May

Double Olympic cycling medallist Tommy Godwin who lived and owned a cycling shop on King's Heath's Silver Street is to be honoured with a pavement star on the Walk of Fame on Sunday 18 May.

Tommy was a double Bronze medallist at the 1948 London Olympics before becoming Britain's first paid national cycling coach in 1964. He carried the 2012 Olympic torch through Solihull and attended the London games before sadly dying in November that year.

A great family fun day out has been organised centred on Fletchers in York Road between 12 noon and 5 p.m. Local residents and cycling enthusiasts will be able to view an exhibition of his life and a collection of vintage cycles. They will be able to take part in a Watt Bike Challenge and try and break Tommy's 1 km Olympic speed record. They will be also be able to be photographed with the 2012 Olympic Torch Tommy so proudly carried through Solihull.

As part of the afternoon's activities Tommy's daughter Kay Jones will be presented with a replica of the pavement star at an Award Ceremony at 4 p.m. by Carl Chinn and Olympic Siver Medallist Harry Reynolds

Tommy's daughter Kay Jones said, “We are delighted that Tommy is being honoured by the King's Heath Walk of Fame. He spent over 30 years running his cycle shop in Siver Street and was proud to provide a service for everyone from the elite peformance cyclist to children wanting their first bikes. He loved being part of the vibrant King's Heath community and it would be marvellous to see as many old friends as possible marking this auspicious occasion. How he would have enjoyed the recognition”.

Ken Whittaker, one of the co-organisers of the King's Heath Walk of Fame, remembers the help Tommy gave him and his brother-in-law when they were involved in a Land's End to John O'Groats charity bike ride in the 1970's. He says “ I went to see Tommy at his cycle shop in Silver Street for advice, having not ridden much since my teens and he took us under his wing. He advised us on the training we should do and was kind enough to loan us bicycles. We decided to ride north to south, that's Jon O'Groats to Lands End because in our heads that made it all 'down hill'. Tommy found this amusing but encouraged us to do it 'our way', if that helped to keep us focused. He went to the trouble of keeping a check on our progress by phoning the agreed over-night stops, and he advised people in each area what we were doing and they were consequently very welcoming, many of them allowing us free accommodation and doing raffles to raise even more money for the charity. Tommy's kindness and professionalism got us through, we are sure we could not have done it without his help. He was one of the nicest gentlemen I have ever met”.

Bob Prew who co-organises the Walk of Fame said, “We want as many people as possible to come and join a host of local and national cyclists in honouring a true sporting legend who made such a contribution to the King's Heath community. We want the afternoon to be a wonderful celebration of Tommy's life and achievements. There will be lots of fun activities for all the family to take part in”.

Below: 1959 Advert for Tommy Godwin's Cycle Shop in Silver Street

 
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