Billy Fury Way


Mural by Graffitilife (guess where they found the image)

Pics above from West Hampstead Life blog.

Report by Jonathan on West Hampstead Life blog

The path from West End Lane to Lithos Road was named Billy Fury Way last year following a poll. Billy Fury - one of Britain's original rock & roll stars - recorded regularly at Decca Studios on Broadhurst Gardens.

On Friday,  the path was officially opened and a new mural was sprayed on at the West End Lane end of the path by graffiti events company Graffiti Life.

As well as being a interesting visual addition to West End Lane, the idea is to spruce up this path and to encourage young people from the area to contribute more artworks along the whole path. I understand that Graffiti Life will be supporting this and working with the local community.

Festivities began yesterday at 1pm with a song-title laden address in St James' Church hall from Sgt Dave Timms, from West Hampstead's Safer Neighbourhood Team. Odd? Well, not really - this is in fact an initiative driven by the police. Some of you will remember that one of the imperatives for naming paths such as this one and the Black Path was so the police could identify their location when chasing wrong-uns down these network of alleyways. It's great to see real community support from our local police team who have similar plans for other parts of the footpath network.

Some 40 or so Billy Fury fans came along - many of whom had travelled from all over the country - including Holly Johnson of 80s band Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

After a blessing of the site, councillor John Bryant who had driven the renaming exercise cut the ribbon.

The Safer Neighbourhoods Team also worked with Network Rail on the land it owns alongside Billy Fury Way, which included overhanging shrubs, hidden lighting and damaged fencing. Network Rail has undertaken a 'deep-clean' of one the most badly affected areas of litter and have re-fenced the area.

Meanwhile, Camden's Highways Engineering Team plans inspections and repairs to damaged pavement, and street cleaning contractors will clean these paths twice a week. The council will also start patrols to identify any irresponsible dog owners. Dog litter bins, as well as free standing regular litter bins, will be placed halfway along Billy Fury Way.

PC Ruth Marshall, also from the Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: "We want people to feel safe using Billy Fury Way. By keeping the area maintained, it will encourage the public to use it," adding that the artwork was a "fitting tribute" to Billy Fury.

There are more plans for more murals to celebrate the area's musical heritage. Lets hope that this one sets a good precedent for the paths.

Pics below by Rob Dee and Pat Young

Rob Dee writes...

We wanted to get an early start on Friday so Pat invited us to stay with her on Thursday evening, we were joined by our good friend Cecilia and Ken Darvel .

We set of for London at about 10 am and arrived just in time at the Church hall. It was a job to find a parking place so we decided to park on the path next to the famous Danmobile but a lady from the hall advised us not to park there as the ground was not very safe and on top of the cess pit !

With a bit of shuffling Ken managed to manoeuvre his car into the tightest of spaces. 

We were met by Daniel who was pacing nervously outside, he was a bit concerned that nobody would turn up (he need not have worried.)

Then to our great surprise along came Cathy Jan and Jean, I am so glad they decided to come along as they are such fun and really made my day.

We then entered the hall and I thought we were in the wrong place as it was full of police, who turned out to have been heavily involved in getting this project going, well done to them they done a great job.

We entered the hall and pleasantly were surprised to find that there were already quite a few fans inside, I first met up with Marion and Barbara and then Mike Roache, Pierre, Claire Memet Nugent, Madeline.

Daniel had set a speaker and mic up on stage and was playing Billy of course.

The formalities began with Pierre and Sergeant Timms' now famous speech. He must have put a lot of work into this as it was very clever and witty and everyone loved it.

The meeting in the hall soon came to an end and it was onto the main event. 

We were getting excited walking the short distance to the alleyway and as we approached we spotted a large crowd of people gathered at the alleyway entrance. It was then that we saw the magnificent mural of Billy it took my breath away when I first saw it, well done to the two young men who created it.

The sun was shining and everyone was happily chatting a taking pictures. Lots of people were passing who didn’t know who Billy was and it felt great educating them to who Billy Fury Britain’s Greatest Rock N Roll and Ballad singer was.

It was then on to the blessing from Mother Christine and a very nice speech from counselor John Bryant who then cut the red ribbon and declared “ BILLY FURY WAY OPEN” cheers from everyone and Jean and Cathy were quick to nick the red ribbon ( they beat me to it grrr)

We then walked the mile or so along the alleyway and back then it was time to find the nearest pub for a liquid lunch, we were recommended a pub nearby which was nice but £4 for a g and t a bit steep ?

While everyone was chatting eating and drinking Mike kindly offered to take me to Abbey Road and St Johns Wood to see the Blue Plaque where Billy used to live and Abbey Road recording studio where Billy recorded “ The Sound Of Fury LP”

It was only five minute away by car so Ken and Cecilia offered to take us.

We pulled up outside Abbey Road studio and noticed the iconic zebra crossing from the Beatles Abbey Road album, so we had to do the photo on the crossing, the crossing is used all day by people taking pics walking across it much to the annoyance of the car drivers.

We went onto the steps of Abbey Road studio to take some pics and this teenage girl asked me “Are You Famous” I was flattered but had to tell her no and pointed to Mike telling her he was a famous actor ?

After taking some pics of the wall with the writing on we made our way back to the pub, but took a wrong turning and spent half an hour getting back.

At 5 pm we made our way to the Castle Pub a great venue for music and the Landlord Denis could have not been more helpful. 

The room was full of fab pictures of all stars from the 50s and 60s but not one picture of Billy ?

I had put together a picture for the raffle of Billy so Daniel and I decided to present it to Denis, who was really pleased with it, it was only a small picture so I think we should send him a better bigger picture for his room (any offers anyone)

The night went really well and as I was very busy will leave it to someone else to post a report on it.

To finish off I would like to thanks Pierre and Daniel for all their hard work in making this happen and to the police and everyone else involved, it really was a Billy day to remember.
















The blessing

"God the Father Almighty,
We thank you for this place and for the inspiration of Billy Fury in this community.
May this place be filled with Your love,
'May Heaven and Earth be ours Because Of Love and we know the sun in the palm of our hand'
And the sweetness of life.
Bless this place oh Lord,
and may it remind us of the journey to 'Paradise'.
Let your love prevail,
and stand watch over those who walk through this place
through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

Police Sergeant Dave Timms

"Councillor John Bryant - thank you for those words; you’ve stolen some of my thunder, but as someone once said, “That’s All Right”.

I’m not sure whether I should sing this or say my bit- you’ll recognise some of my speech, if you are paying attention, so remember, “I’m Lost Without You”.

My name is David Timms and I’m the Safer Neighbourhoods Sergeant for West Hampstead. I share responsibility for the ward with my team; we’re fond of the area- it’s a “Wondrous Place”, I’m think you’ll agree.

Having listened to Councillor Bryant and his enthusiasm for the naming and improvements to the path, coupled with his obviously practiced public-speaking, one word springs to mind: “Jealousy.”

I got to know Billy Fury’s music having worked alongside our Media & Communications Manager, Pierre Petrou, a great enthusiast for his music and he has passed that enthusiasm to others. In fact Pierre, “I’d Never Find Another You.”

Last year, I went to Liverpool for a swimming competition and everywhere I went, I saw reminders of Billy Fury - the statue by the docks and the lectern in the cathedral. “Forget Him”, I don’t think “I Will.”

Earlier this year, I was taken off my team for a short time on temporary promotion. I hear you ask, for “Love Or Money”? Well, a bit of both really!

Whilst I was away, PC Ruth Marshall had taken over the team and had begun to set in motion, steps to improve the pathway bearing Billy Fury’s name and other pathways nearby. In most respects, when I returned to the team, it was “Like I’ve Never Been Gone.”

My first thoughts in regard to Ruth’s ideas were that she was over-ambitious; “Once Upon A Dream”, I thought. However, she convinced me that improvements could be made, “Maybe Tomorrow.”

In fact, she got quite besotted with the idea of improving the path- “That’s Love”, I suppose.

Then her enthusiasm really soared, “Don’t Worry” she assured me, ‘I’ve got so many people involved in this project; John Bryant, “Collette” from our team…’ (Sorry, her real name is Charlotte), ‘…David and Adam from Graffiti Life, Mother Christine and Lorna at this Church, Billy Campbell, the Single Pathway Manager, Staff from Camden Council, Network Rail, Odi-dua from the Housing Association, the local press, and various parts of the police including Pierre Petrou of course. It was “A Thousand Stars” really, and I am really grateful for all your support.’

I know what you are thinking; I’m going to say, “Run To My Loving Arms” - however, I’m not that grateful!

This morning, Ruth spoke to BBC Radio in Liverpool, and she was followed by Vince Eager and Billy Fury’s mum as well.

“I Will, I Will” be writing letters of thanks to you all, so expect a “Letter Full Of Tears”, well actually of joy, at your help and support. “Do You Really Love Me Too?” I was asking myself…

Obviously this project is not finished, it has only just started. What I would ask today is that you “Give Me Your Word” that you will continue your support.

“Last Night Was Made For Love”, however, unfortunately, we had a restless night worrying about the mural, which was done yesterday and if it would have been damaged overnight. Thankfully, it wasn’t and I believe it’s a fitting tribute to Billy Fury, “In Thoughts Of You”.

You will discover that Billy Fury Way is not “Halfway To Paradise”. “It’s Only Make Believe” that we could make it that enticing and beautiful.

But “In Summer”, we aim to further the paintwork and aesthetic improvements to make it worthy of such a talented singer who recorded his hits nearby.

Billy Fury - “I’ll Never Quite Get Over You”. Let’s all go to Billy Fury Way!

Pics below by Pierre Petrou

Above: Rubbish cleared from Billy Fury Way before the official opening.
Below: Graffiti was removed,

Below: Blessing Billy Fury Way

Above: Pc Marshall salutes the clean-up team.

Above: Pierre Petrou and Holly Johnson in the former Decca Records studios.

The former Decca  studios, where Billy recorded his greatest hits,
 and executives rejected The Beatles in favour of Brian Poole.

Jean Todd reports...

When Cathy, Jan and I arrived in London on Friday morning, the weather was beautiful and we set off to find the church hall where the meeting was to take place. Mother Christine was in the grounds and asked us if we were there for the Billy Fury meeting. We told her we were, and she directed us to the hall. The first person we saw was Daniel and there were quite a few fans already there, including Barbara; also the local police were very well represented!! Fortunately, they were very friendly. There were fans there whose names I don’t know – sorry.

We waited outside the hall and surprised (or what it shocked?) Pierre who hadn’t been expecting to see us. Holly Johnson (ex Frankie Goes to Hollywood) accompanied Pierre to the Hall. They were closely followed by Mike Roche who also was surprised to see us as we had said we weren’t going. Pat, Rob, Chris, Cecilia and Ken followed very soon and it was good to see them too.

You can read elsewhere the very entertaining speech made by the police sergeant who clearly had done his homework with regard to Billy’s songs.

We were “escorted” to the alleyway by the local constabulary. Our first sighting of the fantastic mural was from across the road and we were all taken aback at how good it was. The two young artists have done Billy proud. You have to see it to appreciate how really good it is.

Mother Christine then blessed the alleyway bearing Billy’s name and the local councillor (Pierre – sorry – can’t recall his name) cut the ribbon. We walked down the alleyway to the other end and, en route, the area where Decca Recording Studios had been, was pointed out to us.

Part of the alleyway is formed of a bridge with quite high sides. There are apparently plans afoot to adorn the bridge with a painting of a train – maybe Billy Fury Express – with possibly Billy as the driver and other celebrities connected to that area (including the late Amy Winehouse) looking out of the carriage windows. I hope this comes to fruition.

As is our wont, we went to a local hostelry for a meal. Quite a few people asked why were all there and when we explained about Billy Fury Way they were very proud that their locality had been chosen to honour Billy. The number of times we were told “Oh, I love his music!” but none of them were aware of what had been going on about half a mile away.

On to the Castle Pub on Finchley Road for the evening tribute show. Daniel did his Eden Kane routine and some other numbers; Rob did his usual brilliant tribute to Billy and also another set where he did some country songs. Also, Danny Rivers obliged by doing two songs – why don’t we see/hear more of that fella? I remember seeing him years ago – in the early 60s and thought he was worthy of more recognition.

Wherever we go to celebrate Billy, I am always amazed at how welcome we are made even when we take over the place! The landlord and the regulars were great.

Some time after 1.15 a.m., Cathy, Jan and I were walking (not staggering) along Finchley Road trying to get a taxi back to the hotel. Why are taxis always going the opposite way to where we want to go? We eventually flagged one down and went back to the hotel.

Jan Cooke reports...

Cathy, Jean and myself had this day arranged for a little while now, hoping that we could all meet up in London for the opening of the Billy Fury Way.

It was quite a tight schedule trying to fit all our train times together so that we could meet up at around the same time. Cathy very kindly tracked down the Quality Hotel in Hampstead for our overnight stay and we all shared a room :lol: :lol: :lol: Great fun it was too and great value for money :)

I arrived at the hotel first - followed by Jean and Cathy about 10 minutes later. We couldn't spend any time there unpacking as we were on a tight schedule to meet up at the Church. We managed to get the taxi that brought Jean and Cathy to the hotel - to wait for us. After they had left their suitcases in our room - we jumped into the taxi and went directly to the church. We crossed over the road and went in the first entrance we saw which just happened to be at the opposite end to where all the action was. Cathy was sneaking a quick puff on her ciggie when suddenly we were confronted by who we now know to be Mother Christine. Think Vicar of Dibley and personality to match :shock: What a lovely lady and she didn't seem to mind talking to three nutcases :lol:

The first person we saw was Daniel, and the look on his face was priceless :lol: He certainly wasn't expecting to see us. Then I think it was Pierre who was also gobsmacked. Then we saw Rob, Chris and Pat followed closely by Ken and Cecilia. I had seen Rob in concert only the week before and had told him and Chris that I would see them in Evesham in October, rather cleverly omitting the fact that I had every intention of seeing them earlier :lol: Perhaps they are not in the correct order of meeting them but I was far too excited to take note of everything. :lol:

We went into the hall and chatted to lots of people we didn't know, then Mike Roche came in and was also pleased to see us, I think he was anyway. After a few words from various dignitaries which have already been printed, we walked the short distance to the opening of the Billy Fury Way. Then it was time to take a walk (as Dave Jay) would say, and to my surprise I walked the length of it, not realising that we had to come back the way we had gone :lol: Normally I love walking at a nice pace, but have not been too well recently so it was a bit of an ordeal to walk anywhere :(

We went our separate ways - I think Mike Roche took Rob, Chris and Pat to see Abbey Road and the famous zebra crossing.

We were all feeling hungry so ended up at a pub and then we saw that Pierre, Pat, Chris, Rob, Ken and Cecilia was there also. I met a lovely lady called Rita Smalley and had a great chat with her about Billy.

Back to our hotel to change for the evening event at the Castle. Did we have fun there? You betcha we did :D Daniel was great doing his Eden Kane and other songs. When Rob came on - Daniel nipped behind the roller banners and Jean pointed out that you could see him changing behind them. Cathy took a long hard look - but I'm far too demure, closed my eyes and refused to look. And if you believe that - you'll believe anything :lol:

We danced until we dropped - joining all our police friends. Everyone was having a great time. Rob of course was excellent but then I'm biased when it comes to Rob. However he frightened the life out of me when he jumped down and ran towards me and lay prostrate on the floor. ha ha ha. I wondered what on earth he was up to :lol: :lol: :lol: He just wanted me to walk up and down his body, so I obliged like you do :lol:

I won quite a few prizes on the raffle - one I gave to Mike Roche, the other to his girlfriend Mavis, and I gave another one away to Danny River's wife. I have lots of Billy memorabillyia and still have lovely memories which are priceless. :)

At about 1:30 in the morning, the three of us are wending our way down the Finchley Road looking in vain for a taxi. They were going in the opposite direction on the other side of the road. We walked up past Hendon Way and came to opposite Primrose Hill before we found one which took us safely back to our hotel.

We were all exhausted and flaked out almost immediately. Mind you, Cathy and I have to start giggling about things. Then Cathy declared she thought she was over tired and probably not able to sleep. Next minute there are gentle snores coming from her. I'm being polite there :wink:

We went down to breakfast late next morning but what a feast awaited us. From a full English help yourself to as much as you like, to toast, rolls, ham and cheeses. Lots of fruit juices to choose from, cereals and fresh fruit salad.

We packed our cases as we had to be out of the room by 11am. We sat in the lounge and Cathy went on Facebook and the Billy forum to see if any reports had trickled in.

Then we decided to go to Camden Market, which at the time seemed a good idea. However it was so packed and was not much fun dragging our suitcases through the crowds. But some wonderful shops including a shop which sold all the rock n roll dresses, belts, petticoats and such like. Again not a good idea to try and look around dragging our cases around with us. Round the market itself - you could feed up for nothing! We were offered all kinds of tasters - wraps, pancakes, juices. We ended up at a restaurant not eating but having a soft drink. I don't think we were hungry after that big breakfast. We walked along the locks. It was a really hot day and Jean and I don't like too much heat, plus I wasn't too clever at walking so felt I was holding them back.

A bit of scandal where the police had stopped a Chinese lady who was selling her paintings, and Cathy and I moved right up close so we could hear what was going on. Bit nosey like Moya. Apparently they had told her two weeks ago that her visa had run out and she was to go back home. Now I think they were going to deport her because after questioning her for about 15 minutes, back-up arrived and she was marched off with a policeman taking care of her suitcase, paintings and easel. I also heard someone ask one of the policeman where they could find Amy Winehouse's place which happened to be not too far away.

Suddenly one car honked its horn, and I jokingly said to Cathy, Honk if you think I'm pretty, and it was if I had been heard because then two more cars honked at us walking along :lol: :lol: Think they should have gone to SpecsSavers.

By this time I think we were all getting rather tired and although it was only about 3pm, we decided to make our way to our respective stations. Cathy and Jean were near to each other but I had to go back to Paddington. We jumped in a taxi which took them to their station and then carried on with me to Paddington. I had two hours to wait for my train, so I decided to go into the waiting room rather than sit on the crowded platform with pigeons all around me. It was much quieter in there. Suddenly a lady came in and asked me if I would mind looking after her suitcases as she wanted to pay a visit to the ladies which was at the bottom of the stairs. I said I would but then began to wonder if she had concealed a bomb in there, so was pleased to see her return. She would never have got through the turnstile with two suitcases, a hippy hat, roller blades and goodness only knows what else. It transpired that she was also on my train but getting off at Castle Cary which is about halfway.

There was only a buffet car going halfway too and terminating at Castle Cary - so all the poor people who were going to Plymouth didn't have the facility :( Apparently there was a staff shortage, and some trains I noticed were cancelled completely due to the fact of not having a driver. Anyone would have thought it was a Sunday!

Overall - a completely wonderful time which will go down in history, and I was so glad to be a part of it. Thanks to everyone concerned in making it such a wonderful event. You know who you are so I won't repeat all the names again. But a great big thankyou.

Finally a great big thankyou to my bessie mates See No Evil and Hear No Evil for the wonderful time. It was just too short but we definitely plan to go back to Camden Town next year just to meet up and have a better look at the Market, The Stables and the locks.


Pierre Petrou reports

Friday 29th July

1pm St James's Church Hall, Sherriff Road, London NW6 2AP. Pre-opening reception.

7pm Castle pub, Finchley Road. Billy Fury evening.

Billy Fury is being immortalised in a path in West Hampstead, close to where he recorded his biggest hits.

Billy Fury Way, a path that joins West End Lane and the
Finchley Road in West Hampstead, NW6 is officially being opened on Friday 29th July 2011, when hundreds of fans are expected to turn up..

The star died 28 years ago, yet still has a mass following.

The official opening of 'Billy Fury Way was arranged by Camden Police's Safer Neighbourhoods Team in West Hampstead..

The opening of the path will also see a unique blessing of Billy Fury Way by the local church.  

The path was named after Billy after a public vote.  It is in recognition to where the singer recorded most of his hits in nearby Decca Studios in Broadhurst Gardens.  David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and The Moody Blues also recorded there.

In attempts to improve the local area, a  workshop was attended by the Safer Neighbourhoods Team and research was conducted in partnership with the Office of Public Management and members
of the community.

This research highlighted areas of West Hampstead that needed improving and that were potentially attracting crime and anti-social behaviour.

In May 2011, the Safer Neighbourhoods Team conducted a walk around the West Hampstead area with Councillor John Bryant and one of the SNT's panel members and it was agreed that Billy Fury Way (also known as Lithos Road Passage), Black Path, Blackburn Road and areas nearby would undergo some regeneration work.

Billy Fury Way, is a link between West End Lane, Blackburn Road, Lithos Road and Finchley Road and was known for much graffiti along the railway foot bridge, which was recently removed.

However, despite the vast improvement, some graffiti tagging reappeared and the Safer Neighbourhoods Team looked into arranging for a large mural of Billy Fury and his music legacy to be a more effective long
term solution.

The Safer Neighbourhoods Team also worked with Network Rail about land owned by them, adjacent to Billy Fury Way, which included overhanging shrubs, hidden lighting and damaged fencing.  Network Rail have worked hard on an extensive deep-clean of one the most badly affected areas of litter dumping and have re-fenced the area to put a stop to the fly tipping.

In partnership with Camden Council's Highways Engineering Team, inspections and repairs are planned where there is some damaged pavement, particularly at the bottom of the steps, leading to Billy Fury Way.

Street cleansing contractors will now be cleaning/sweeping these paths twice a week and this will also include removing any dog fouling.

Camden Council are instigating enforcement exercises and patrols of these areas in an effort to identify any irresponsible dog owners.  Dog litter bins, as well as free standing regular litter bins, are to be placed
halfway along Billy Fury Way.  

On the 28th and 29th of July, Graffiti Life, a graffiti artistic company will create a mural and more fitting tribute to the rock legend at the entrance to the path in West End Lane.

Family, friends and fans of Billy Fury have been invited to the event on Friday 29th July to visit the path, which will be a more respectable tribute to the rock ’n’ roll legend, who equalled The Beatles' record of 24 hits in the 1960s, and spent 332 weeks on the UK charts, being the most successful artist of all-time, never to have had a number one.

The event will begin at St James’ Church Hall, Sherriff Road, NW6 2AP at 1pm, where a presentation of the project will be on display. Refreshments will be available with Billy Fury's greatest hits being played.  It will also be an opportunity for ideas for the footbridge mural to be aired, based on the general music theme, possibly highlighting Billy Fury's impact on the music scene.

The path will then be officially re-opened and receive a blessing from Mother Christine from St. James’s Church.

Pa Ruth Marshall from West Hampstead's Safer Neighbourhoods Team said: "This is a project that has escalated and will continue to grow as more people get involved.  The West Hampstead Safer Neighbourhoods Team and Camden Council want people to feel safe using Billy Fury Way. 

"By keeping the area maintained, it will encourage the public to use it as a link between West End Lane and Finchley Road.  I have found Billy Fury fans to be very positive and passionate about making the pathway a more fitting tribute to him, so the artwork is a bonus and will much improve Billy Fury Way's visual appeal."

Harry Whitehouse, who runs the website said, "I'm sure that many fans will be pleased that Billy has his name permanently immortalised in Billy Fury Way, near to where his biggest hits were recorded at Decca Studios.  Despite it being nearly 30 years since he left us, Billy's music still touches the hearts of millions and I am still often astounded at the thousands of internet 'hits' and messages I receive from around the world,acknowledging his contribution to the music world."
Councillor John Bryant, who led the campaign to get local footpaths officially named, said, "Camden Council and the police have worked together to really clean up the footpaths of West Hampstead that needed some attention.  I'm particularly pleased that Billy Fury Way has been part of that, as it is important that a footpath named after Billy, who recorded many hits just around the corner in what was Decca Studios, should be fit for purpose.  This project will be ongoing and I'm sure that everyone who sees the work here, will also remember Billy and the effect he had on the music scene."