Politics, pop and PCL

The 1960s musical history of the University is well known, from Jimi Hendrix’s first UK performance to the founding of Pink Floyd. A new project has begun to shift this centre of gravity slightly and examine a more recent slice of our musical heritage, the period from 1976-1990. From Nick Cave’s The Birthday Party, via New Order to The Stone Roses, PCL  played host to many of the key bands of the period. With gigs benefitting causes such as Anti-Apartheid, Rock against Racism and striking miners,  it appears to be a febrile period for political pop.

We are creating a ‘gigography’ of bands that played our venues – New Cavendish Street, Little Titchfield Street and Bolsover Street – from McGarel (the student magazine from 1969-1993). However we cannot be sure these tell the full story! We are very interested in hearing your recollections – were you at any gigs during that period? Do you have any tickets stubs of posters? Do you have any stories relating to these events?

If you do have something please contact Anna McNally (Senior Archivist) via archive@westminster.ac.uk or Guy Osborn (G.Osborn@westminster.ac.uk)

Are you still in touch with your PCL classmates? Help them make the most of being Westminster alumni.


    • I guess it must have been around 1984 when a special secret gig (it may have been during the miners strike) was announced for the venue at New Cavendish Street. I was an engineering student at the time and was working in the library (or maybe not, just biding time before the gig reading a newspaper) when i heard a familiar sound coming up through the floor. It was indeed The Jam, one of my favourite bands at the time whom i had seen a couple of times before, doing a soundcheck. I went downstairs and watched the whole of the soundcheck and then later that evening the whole of what turned out to be a magical concert in an intimate venue.

      Other memorable nights included packed-out gigs in the Student Union bar at Bolsover Street, Alexei Sayle and Amazulu are a couple that spring to mind. There was a term-long occupation of the Regent Street building in 1982 i think, and several bands played there in solidarity as well. All in all, a wonderful time to be a student, there was a great live music scene in London with top reggae and African bands playing at SOAS down the road as well.

    • Great recollections! We found a photo of The Jam from that gig and used this at the New Order event. Many thanks for this, if you think of anything please please get in touch and I hope to see you at one of our events Regards Guy

      • It was “Jobs not YOPs” and not the miners strike for The Jam concert. 24 Feb 1982. There´s a photo on twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

University of Westminster
309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW
General enquiries: +44 (0)20 7911 5000
Course enquiries: +44 (0)20 7915 5511

The University of Westminster is a charity and a company limited by guarantee.
Registration number: 977818 England
Accessibility | Cookies | Terms of use and privacy