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Signwriting showing the original name survives on the rear of the building

The Hammersmith Palais de Danse, later simply the Hammersmith Palais, was a ballroom and entertainment venue in London from 1919 to 2007. In 2009 the Hammersmith Palais was named by the Brecon Jazz Festival as one of 12 venues which had made the most important contributions to jazz music in the United Kingdom. [1]

The Palais occupied a large site on the A219 at 242 Shepherd's Bush Road, London W6, near the circular system under the A4 Hammersmith flyover. The area, one of London's key communication nodes, has two London Underground stations, a bus station and the road network at Hammersmith Broadway. This meant that the Palais had one of the best transport locations in London.

The Palais de Danse opened in 1919 to host ballroom dancing, and various kinds of dance bands, amongst which were the new jazz bands. It remained a popular dance venue from its start to the 1980s, but after that played host mostly to live pop music. For a period in the 1930s, part of the Palais site was also used as an ice rink, with the original London Lions ice hockey team using it as a base. On 21 January 2007, the Palais was condemned to be demolished. The venue closed in April 2007.

The Palais also had a secret,once used to make Tanks during the war it was also used as a Tram shed for Londons trams. The rails for the trams were still under the floor along with the pips for the ice rink. Parts of the very well sprung dance floor has removal sections where you could clearly see all the tracks and pipes. During the 60 and 70's many of the house bands were : Joe Loss, Andy Ross ( of Come Dancing Fame ) Ken Mackintosh, Tony Evans, and Zodiac, a band which is still going as of 2010 ( with at least 3 original members see [1]). Many Saturday nights in excess of 2000 people would visit the venue. One of the features was the huge revolving stage with a band on each side ( this also caused loads of accidents when mikes and stands were left on the revolve!! )

The Palais was named in the The Clash song "(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais". Joe Strummer managed to get thrown out one Thursday afternoon for gaining entry without permission. It was also named in the Ian Dury and the Blockheads song "Reasons to Be Cheerful, Part 3". Bands such as PiL, The Cramps, and Soft Cell (who played their "farewell" there in 1984) made the venue a popular for London gig-goers. It hosted The Cure, Hanoi Rocks, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and The Sex Pistols. The Palais became the venue for the emerging Brit-Asian club scene during the 1980s; Onyx Promotions held all its major daytime events there. The major Brit-Asian bands and DJ's have performed there since 1986, including Heera, Xzecutive/San-j Sanj, DCS, Premi, Rishi Rich, Badd Company, RDB, Panjabi Hit Squad and Juggy D.

More recently, the Palais staged a mix of live music gigs, dance nights and private events. The Palais used to host the popular SchoolDisco club night, which has since moved to the London Forum in Kentish Town. In addition to this, the Palais was frequently used by the Students' Union at Imperial College School of Medicine as a venue for numerous student nights.

In its last years the Palais was owned by Barclub Ltd, which also controls the Po Na Na chain of themed bars. The company briefly renamed the club Po Na Na Hammersmith in the early 2000s. In an acknowledgement of the venue's historic reputation, the original Hammersmith Palais name was reinstated. The Palais closed in April 2007, with Kasabian, Idlewild and Jamie T among artists playing the last ever gigs there. The final gig was a performance by The Fall on 1 April 2007, later to be released as the live album Last Night at The Palais.

BBC television made a documentary Last Man at the Palais on the history of the Hammersmith Palais. With a fellow professional, Lyndon Wainwright danced the Last Waltz at the Palais to conclude the presentation. It was first screened on BBCtv 4, Christmas Eve 2007.

The site may be used for an office and restaurant complex, or a students' hall of residence. The Hammersmith and Fulham Council is expected to rule on the proposed demolition and development in November 2009. [2] [3]

On the 27th October 2009 Hammersmith and Fulham council rejected plans to turn the Hammersmith palais site into student flats. [4]


Coordinates: 51°29′44″N 0°13′27″W / 51.49556°N 0.22417°W / 51.49556; -0.22417



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