The independent London newspaper

Koko music venue closed for emergency work

27 September, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

ONE of Camden Town’s most famous music venues has had to shut its doors and cancel gigs for safety works.

The emergency closure of Koko, the Victorian music hall in Camden High Street, comes after engineers discovered a vital load-bearing roof beam was in a poor condition. The find came after surveyors looked at the landmark venue – formerly known as the Camden Palace – in preparation for a huge renovation project due to start some time next year.

The venue’s owners, the Mint Group, took the decision to shut while work is done to make the 117-year-old venue is safe.

All performances have been cancelled until mid-October at the earliest. Bands including trip-hop dub specialists Dreadzone have had their date this week moved to the Islington Assembly Hall, while former Joy Division and New Order musician Peter Hook, who now plays with his rock band The Light, will take to the stage at the Electric Ballroom this weekend. Merseyside rockers The Coral, due to play on October 18, will also be at the Electric Ballroom.

A Koko spokesman told the New Journal that builders found a truss – a support that helps hold up the iconic green-domed roof – was in a dangerous condition.

They are currently doing preliminary work at the venue, which is having an extension built above the former Hope and Anchor pub next door with a new hotel, offices and a recording studio.

Plans passed by the Town Hall last year will also see the green copper dome that once housed water tanks turned into a new bar. The facade, designed by architect WGR Sprague in 1900, will be restored with a cupola, removed in the 1950s, reinstated.

They added: “Obviously the wellbeing of our staff and customers is of the upmost importance so we decided the simplest way forward would be to close.”

No final date has been put on when it will re-open, and the spokesman added: “We offer sincere and heartfelt apologies. Our contractors are working diligently and at all speed to ensure that we are able to welcome back a full programme of events as soon as possible.”

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