Anarchy in the UK: Sex Pistols’ Denmark Street home given listed status

Rotten luck for punk fans! The one-time home of the Sex Pistols on London’s Denmark Street, the walls of which are covered in singer John Lydon’s graffiti, has been awarded Grade II* Listed Status by the Department of Culture, Media & Sport, on the advice of Historic England.

The cartoons, which include caricatures of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious, his girlfriend Nancy Spungen and manager Malcolm McLaren, were scrawled in magic marker 40 years ago by Lydon, who was known as Johnny Rotten at the time.

Early demos of Anarchy in the UK and God Save the Queen were also recorded at the address on the so-called “Tin Pan Alley” – 6 and 7 Denmark Street.

Heritage Minister David Evennett said: “These 17th-century townhouses not only exhibit well-preserved architectural detail but helped nurture Soho’s influence on the global music industry during the 1960s and 1970s.

“As we celebrate 40 years of punk, I’m delighted to be granting further protection to these buildings, which acted as a home and studio to the Sex Pistols.”

sex pistols 1
Johhny Rotten’s caricature of Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren

Posy Metz, the listings adviser who assessed the buildings, said: “The purpose of listing is to flag things which are of historical and cultural importance, and I think punk is a really important part of our cultural history and including it in the listing is a way of recognising that.

“The alternative is saying: let’s forget all about punk because they don’t want to be remembered as part of our history.” 

She also stressed that the graffiti was just an added “layer of interest” and that the buildings themselves were Heritage England’s chief reason for awarding listed status. 

No. 6 Denmark Street, where Johnny Rotten’s graffiti can still be see on the interior walls Credit: Historic England

The decision to preserve the buildings is a victory for the Save Tin Pan Alley Campaign, whose founder Henry Scott-Irvine, described the listing as “fantastic news”.

For original punk fans, though, this is just the latest example of the movement being gobbled up by the establishment. Punk’s 40th anniversary is being celebrated across London this year. Backed by London mayor Boris Johnson, the celebrations are being marketed as Punk London. 

In response to this, Joe Corré, son of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, has said he he will burn £5 million worth of punk memorabilia in public.

Speaking about his decision, Corré said: “Rather than a movement for change, punk has become like a f***ing museum piece or a tribute act.”

Rupert Orton of The Jim Jones Revue, the Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock and Henry Scott-Irvine of the Save Tin Pan Alley Campaign stand in front of Johnny Rotten’s Tin pan Alley graffiti

Taken from the Telegraph


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