Novello House – home of Yamaha Music. 152-160 Wardour Street, London.
Novello House which is just off Oxford Street has long been a base for music since it was first built in 1906. For a few years it doubled as an enclave for the British Library before becoming a YHA Adventure store. In 2006 the music business returned and it was briefly known as Chappell’s before becoming Yamaha Music in 2007.
The classical main entrance to the store.
N for Novello’s.
Novello’s opened its first store in London’s Frith Street, Soho during 1829. It later moved to 1 Berners Street, and then on to Wardour Street. Their first building in the latter was at 2 Sheraton Street, now called Medius House. This was constructed in 1898 for the music printing department established by Alfred Novello (elder son of Vincent Novello.)
Frank Loughborough Pearson designed both 2 Sheraton Street and 152-160 Wardour Street hence both properties share common elements in styling.
Medius House, Sheraton Street.
Novello’s was based at Wardour Street until the mid sixties.
152-160 Wardour Street once had a statue depicting Handel. This was sculpted by Louis Francois Roubiliac and originally stood in Vauxhall Gardens. The sculpture passed through several hands before being given to Novello’s. It was purchased in 1965 as part of the National Collections Fund and can now been seen at the Victoria and Albert museum.
The Great Hall on the second floor is a lovely place with exquisite decor and carved wood. H. H. Martyn and Company of Cheltenham were the architectural specialists who created the hall.
Appropriately the Great Hall’s where grand pianos can be seen. In fact the hall has previously been used for musical performances which grand pianos formed an essential part, and still are occasionally.
The grand staircase and upper lobby must be seen. Whilst these feel more like a stately home than a London music store, they are an essential means of linking the main entrance and foyer with the Great Hall. This was the grand baroque entrance that once welcomed concert goers who came to listen to the performances held in the Great Hall.
The Grand Staircase.
The Upper Lobby.
The busts of Handel and Bach in the Great Hall are appropriate reminders that two of classical music’s greatest composers lived in Central London. These were Johann Christian Bach (the younger son of Johann Sebastian Bach whom the bust represents) and George Frideric Handel (as J.C. Bach’s earlier contemporary.) The plinths remained empty for a number of years before these casts were added.
Novello & Co’s plaque. This was stored for 30 years before being restored to the Grand Staircase. See Yamaha’s page on this.
Yamaha Music You Tube channel
The Yamaha Store
Louis Francois Roubiliac’s statue of Handel