Ex-Beatles gig venue destroyed in Kings Heath fire

The fire at the shop earlier Police said they were treating the cause of the fire as suspicious

Related Stories

A building which hosted British music legends such as The Beatles and The Who in their 1960s heyday has partially collapsed after a fire.

Part of Kings Heath High Street in the Birmingham suburb was closed for hours after the fire at the building, which is now a Cash Converters store.

The building in York Road was formerly the Ritz Ballroom, which also hosted The Rolling Stones in the 1960s.

Officers said they were treating the fire as suspicious. No-one was hurt.

Start Quote

People met their husbands and wives there and now that building's gone”

End Quote Jez Collins Birmingham Music Archive

The road, one of the main routes into Birmingham, was closed for several hours between Poplar Road and Silver Street, but has now reopened.

The blaze started at about 05:00 GMT and, at its height, up to 40 firefighters were called to tackle the flames. Fire officers remain at the site.

Structural engineers will now examine the remains of the building to decide how stable it is, but about 70% of it has collapsed.

Music historian Jez Collins, who runs the online Birmingham Music Archive, said it was "very sad" to lose the building.

Stones anniversary

"In Birmingham we've lost so much of our musical history," he said.

"If you compare it to other cities like Liverpool and Manchester, which have really made something of their famous venues, we've lost a lot.

"It's the memories that are attached them them - people remember going to the Ritz to see The Beatles, The Stones, The Animals, Pink Floyd and all the big names of the time.

"People met their husbands and wives there and now that building's gone."

The venue shut in the 1970s and the building has been occupied by various shops since.

Celebrations had been planned for September in Kings Heath to mark the 50th anniversary in September of the Rolling Stones playing at the venue.

A Kings Heath Walk of Fame, honouring the area's musical and comedy heritage, had also been planned to start outside the building with a star marking singer Toyah Wilcox.

Local 'landmark'

Dave Janes, from the fire service, said the collapse of the building was likely to hamper the investigation into how the fire started.

The front of the shop in York Road Most of the building has now collapsed, the fire service said

Businesses in York Road are shut but those on the High Street were open as normal.

Kate Smart, Kings Heath town centre manager, said some of the surrounding buildings had been damaged by smoke.

She added the area was a "close-knit community" and that they were "devastated" to lose such a "landmark property".

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Birmingham & Black Country



19 °C 11 °C

BBC Local Live

    Traffic moving through tunnels 09:06: Richie Anderson BBC WM reporter

    I'm pleased to report that the tunnels in central Birmingham have reopened and traffic's flowing freely.

    Traffic in Birmingham tunnels
    News on the hour 08:55: Jay Vydelingum Journalist, BBC WM

    Conservative MP for Dudley South Chris Kelly has announced he's standing down at next year's general election.

    Hear more in the news at 09:00.

    Train issues 08:51:

    Network Rail tweets: A broken down train near #Tipton is causing delays between Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton. More at: nationalrail.co.uk/service_disrup…

    Wait for passport over 08:39: Birmingham Mail

    A son who feared he would miss the chance to visit his cancer suffering father overseas after waiting nine months for a new passport has finally received the document.

    Sparkbrook roads 08:28:

    There's water mains work and temporary traffic lights on Raglan Road, in Sparkbrook, between the A441 Pershore Road junction and the Constance Road junction.

    See BBC Travel for more updates.

    Tory MP to quit 08:18:

    Conservative MP Chris Kelly says he will stand down at the 2015 general election after serving one term.

    Chris Kelly

    In a statement on his website, the Dudley South MP did not give a reason for his decision but said he had been "proud" to serve his constituency.

    Drier later 08:07:

    It's a dull and murky start with low cloud, hill fog and patchy rain and drizzle. Drier and brighter conditions should slowly spread in from the north west, bringing some warm sunny spells this afternoon.

    Weather forecast
    Good morning 08:00: Ed Barlow BBC Local Live

    Morning all. I'll be bringing you news, sport, travel and weather from the region from now until 18:00. If you'd like to get in touch you can email locallive@bbc.co.uk.



  • Alana Saarinen at pianoMum, Dad and Mum

    The girl with three biological parents

  • Polish and British flags alongside British roadsideWar debt

    Does the UK still feel a sense of obligation towards Poles?

  • Islamic State fighters parade in Raqqa, Syria (30 June 2014)Who backs IS?

    Where Islamic State finds support to become a formidable force

  • Bride and groom-to-be photographed underwaterWetted bliss

    Chinese couples told to smile, but please hold your breath

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.