Pure Hammersmith: a historic site

Posted in Hammersmith - London, Living at Pure

This year, Pure Student Living welcomes students to our Pure Hammersmith accommodation for the first time, as our London student halls expand into three areas across the city.

What new arrivals may not know, is that Pure Hammersmith is built on the former site of one of London’s most iconic entertainment venues; the Hammersmith Palais. Read on for our potted history of this legendary building.

Story of the Hammersmith Palais

Opening in 1919, the venue was originally known as the Palais de Danse, and throughout most of its early period it was primarily the scene of ballroom dancing events and competitions. It enjoyed a spell as the home of London Lions ice hockey team in the 1930s, but became primarily renowned for hosting the top jazz bands of the time.

By the 1960s, it was firmly established as one of London’s hottest nightspots, with thousands of people arriving each weekend to enjoy the dancing and entertainment.

It was around the 1970s that the Palais began to attract high profile bands and artists, a legacy it continued until its closure. Famous acts to have graced the Hammersmith Palais stage include; The Beatles, David Bowie, The Cure, Kasabian, Kylie Minogue, The Police, The Sex Pistols, U2 and The Who.

The 1980s saw the venue play host to the popular School Disco night, which attracted clubbers from across the city and continues today at a different venue in Kentish Town. The venue is also enshrined in London culture thanks to the iconic 1978 song by The Clash entitled ‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’, with frontman Joe Strummer’s thought-provoking lyrics still put up for analysis decades after its release.

The Palais closes

Sadly, from the turn of the millennium the Palais went into decline, and after several aborted attempts by loyal fans to save it, it was closed in 2007. Mark E. Smith’s band The Fall was the last to play there; a performance which has since been released as a live album. Such was the contribution of the venue to London culture, the BBC even screened a special documentary to mark its closure.

The original building was demolished in 2012, and now Pure Student Living’s newest accommodation stands proudly on one of the most historic sites in London.