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De Lane lea

129 Kingsway London



In 1958 the advertising agency S H Benson Ltd moved to a newly built office block at 129 Kingsway, just opposite Holborn Station in London. Part of the the basement area was fitted out as a recording studio mainly for voice over work for adverts and jingles. The main studio area measured 10m x 10m and a smaller room off this. this led through to the control room was off this section of room and measured. Solid Concrete floor covered by heavy carpet.
The studio was finished and up and running in 1959.

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Bensons Agency

Bensons had become a major player in advertising by the fifties and had particular success in the then new media of television producing adverts for ITV. The man in charge of TV advertising at Bensons, Howard ‘Boogie’ Barnes, worked in close conjunction with composer and musician Cliff Adams to produce some of the most memorable adverts of the time including, Fry’s Turkish Delight, Murray Mints, All because the lady loves Milk Tray and ‘For Mash get Smash’. Many their productions were recorded at Lansdowne Studios by engineer Dave Siddle who had joined Lansdowne in December 1959.

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Dave Siddle

On 1st March 1963 Dave Siddle left Lansdowne and took over the running of Kingsway, redesigning the place and making it available for outside commercial work in a similar fashion to Lansdowne. With the nature of the work intended, very little attention was paid to acoustic isolation.  Any escaping noice didn’t really cause problems because Bensons occupied most of the above premises. This situation would change in the coming years as the studio became popular with the first generation of rock bands and part of the ground floor was taken over by the Midland Bank. Later The Civil Aviation Authority rented rooms directly above the studio and this would cause major problems for a future incarnation of Kingsway.


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The Rolling Stones - I Wanna Be Your Man

In 7th October 1963 the Rolling Stones recorded their second single, Lennon and McCartney's I Wanna Be Your Man at Kingsway. It reached number 12 in the UK charts giving the studio its first hit record together with a major amount of Kudos and publicity within the pop industry.


The Animals

In 1964 Mickie Most started using the studios for his own productions; this would have a significant influence of the studios future success.

On 18th May 1964 he brought in The Animals and they recorded House of the Rising Sun with Dave Siddle engineering. The released record would give the studio its first number 1 hit. The bass player with the Animals was Chas Chandler and in a couple of years time he would be managing Jimi Hendrix and bring him into Kingsway for his first recording session.


Herman’s Hermits - I’m into Something Good.

In September 1964 at number one in the UK singles chart and in December reached no. 13 in the US. The Hermits never topped the British charts again, but in America in 1965—when Billboard magazine ranked them America's top singles act of the year (with the Beatles at no. 2)—they topped the Hot 100 with both "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter" and "I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am". 

The album climbed to no. 2 on the Billboard album chart in the week in which the Hermits had three singles in the national Top 20.

De Lane Lea at Kingsway

De Lane Lea

129 Kingsway London

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De Lane Lea - 1965

In July 1965  the company De Lane Lea took over the studios acquiring the leasehold for the basement area of 129 Kingsway.

The De Lane Lea company was founded in 1947 by Major William De Lane Lea, a French intelligence attaché for the British Government. The company was originally set up to dub English films in to French but had expanded throughout the 50s, setting up studios at various locations around London for voice recording, film, TV as well as music recording, including orchestral scores.

His son Jacques De Lane helped to build up the business and after his father’s death in 1964 ,took over the company. 

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De Lane Lea

Dave Siddle remained in charge and was given the budget to expand the studios to twice its original size and re-equipe the place. 
This included a new 4 track tape machine and an 18 input 4 output custom Sound Techniques desk, the first produced by Geoff Frost’s company as a commercial venture.


Studio Equipment 1965

18:4 Sound Techniques Console
4 track Ampex AG 440 Tape Machine
Tannoy Lockwood Major Monitors
Fairchild 666 Compressor
Altec 436B Compressor

De Lane Lea

129 Kingsway London


Jimi Hendrix - 1966

On 23rd October 1966 Chas Chandler entered the studio with his young protégée, Jimi Hendrix for his first recording session.  The two hour session was also to be Chandler's first time working as a producer and he also ended up playing bass on the track. With Dave Siddle engineering, between them they recorded the basic backing track of Hey Joe.


Purple Haze

Hendrix wanted the power and sound that his Marshall amplifier produced at live gigs which meant turning the volume up. The studio had not been designed for these type of sound pressure levels and the sound travelled straight up into the Midland Bank upstairs prompting complaints from the management.Dave Siddle was also having difficulty recording the guitar at that volume so Hendrix was forced to ease it back.

On 2nd November he recorded  Stone Free then in January 1967 put down Purple Haze and The Wind Cries Mary 


1967 - The Beatles

On May 25th, 1967, The Beatles entered the studio for the recording of ‘It’s All Too Much’ with Dave Siddle and Mike Weighell engineering.

De Lane Lea

Dean Street

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With the success of the Kingsway studio and the amount of work it was generating, in March 1968 De Lane Lea bought a large building in Dean Street London to develop into a music and film centre. It would incorporate a studio large enough for orchestral work with an accompanying film screen and a film post production studio .

Geoff Frost from Sound Techniques had already built De Lane Lea’s Kingsway console which had been used to turn out so many hits so he was to provide to a new one of a kind Sound Techniques ‘A Range’ model.

Around about the same time the Kingsway studio went 8 track.

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In 1969 Dave Siddle  was seen as the person to undertake the building of a new music complex that would bring their current business under one roof and expand. 

De Lane Lea's parent group BET owned land in Wembley that had originally been the site of the 1924 British Empire Exhibition. The studio was built over the top of what was originally an ornamental boating lake.

The Music Centre

Work started on the new studio in the early part of 1970

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Once the new Wembley Studio complex was opened the Kingsway basement site was no longer needed so closed. The majority of the equipment was left in place and De Lane Lea were still paying the monthly lease fee. This brought to an end a very successful period in Pop music recording, overseen by Dave Siddle that was unfortunately not to be repeated in the next stages of De Lane Lea's history and would sadly see Dave Siddle forced out of the UK industry due to technical problems with the new studio.
A few years later the Kingsway site would be taken over by former engineer Martin Birch and Ian Gillan of Deep Purple and the studio re-opened.

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