Wembley Stadium. Madison Square Garden. Carnegie Hall. And...Hammwewood Park? Though it may not have name recognition, Hammerwood Park, a country house in East Grinstead, England, has a rollicking rock and roll history all its own.
Hammerwood Park was built in 1792 by Benjamin Latrobe, the same architect that later built both the White House and the U.S. Capitol building. It was one of the first houses in England built in the Greek Revival stylem and Latrobe's first completes structure of his career. Some historians believe Latrobe built Hammerwood Park as a temple to the Greek God Apollo.
The house, aside from its notable architect, was unremarkable for centuries, until it was was purchased at auction by Led Zeppelin in 1973. They had lofty dreams of turning the crumbling mansion into a sort of recording studio cum residence. It is thought that the house inspired some of the lyrics to "Stairway To Heaven", and Zeppelin even filmed the beginning of their classic concert film The Song Remains the Same on the grounds of Hammerwood. Unfortunately, Zeppelin completely forgot about the house while on tour in the U.S. and it fell into even shabbier condition.
They put the house on the market, and it was bought in 1982 by a 21-year old named David Pinnegar. He restored it over a number of years, and brought he house nearly back to its full majesty--leaving only the dining room untouched to remind people how derelict the entire house once was. Since its restoration, Hammerwood has become a celebrated location in the music industry. It has been the site of music videos from artists as diverse as The Darkness and Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice), and has been used as a location for many high end fashion shoots and movies. The estate also has become a favored location for classical music recitals. Though the music coming out of the house is now more Bach than blues, Hammerwood will always be famous for (almost) housing the rambunctious Led Zeppelin, and for inspiring one of the great rock epics of all time.
More on Hammerwood Park:
Information on Hammerwood Park concert series
Hammerwood Park at Wikipedia
Led Zeppelin official site
The Song Remains the Same at Wikipedia
Hammerwood Park videos at YouTube
East Grinstead Hall of Fame