Threat to Kilburn Gaumont State……Kilburn, London, England
KILBURN, LONDON, ENGLAND — The Kilburn State building has, it is believed, just possibly been sold (28 August 2007) by RankMecca PLC to a Bahrain based investment vehicle whose first intentions were rumoured to be a housing development. Despite repeated requests, RankMecca’s head of property, one Tony Robinson, has declined to provide any details of who has bought the building and organ.
The building and Wurlitzer organ has grade II* listed status from English Heritage, has a planning designation for entertainment and that is being reconfirmed in the new Local Development Framework which makes precisely no mention of housing on this site. There is just about zero chance of Brent Council agreeing to any change in planning designation and I would imagine the same response from English Heritage. The question has to be asked what the intentions are of the new owners and when they will identify themselves?
There is a question mark over the organ, notwithstanding the listed status applying to the organ as well. The Chief Engineer employed by RankMecca has been made redundant and there are no longer any technical staff at the State to keep it on a care and maintenance basis. Unless there is regular maintenance to the leather bellows of the pipes, these will start to dry and will then crack, rendering them useless.
Here and now, there is an online petition organised by a local resident. The State is a rare architectural gem in the area with the added bonus of the magnificent Wurlitzer. It simply must not be imperilled.
On behalf of Kilburn residents and lovers of the State, I would appreciate your assistance.