"A jazz equivalent of a National Theatre company or ENO has never been seriously broached in England, though a National Jazz Centre was almost built in Covent Garden in the early 80s, before overoptimism, underfunding and Thatcherism sank it."
- John Fordham, The Guardian October 28 2010
"Happily, I was conferring only the other day with colleagues on the South Bank about the place that jazz should have in the musical life of the South Bank. I am happy to say that they are very conscious of that place. It is not simply the neglect of the media and the funding authorities that is a problem; it is the fact that there is no visible centre for jazz. A few years ago there was a project to have a national jazz centre in Covent Garden and it was to be perhaps the start of a new era for jazz—somewhere where the enthusiast could meet the jazz musician and the jazz musician could meet the public [...]
That, alas! foundered as part of the general miasma which followed the abolition of the GLC. The site still exists; the property is in the hands of the London Residuary Body, as it should be; but somehow the steam has gone out of the enterprise. I wish it could be put back in. A centre for jazz is needed. Whether it should be there or somewhere else, I know not. However, I should love to see that enterprise revivified so that something could be done to allay the fears and the dismay that the noble Lord has uttered about jazz.
That brings me to the principal thing I should like to say this evening. It stems from the lack of capital funding, because, frankly, it was such a lack that did for the national jazz centre."
- Lord Birkett, House of Lords 25 May 1988
Mr. Simon Hughes To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage
what representation his Department has received concerning the creation of a national jazz centre.
Mr. Dorrell My Department has received no such representations.
- Written Answer on a National Jazz Centre, 24 January 1995
"The arts cannot live by bread alone, just as human beings cannot,
and they certainly cannot live without bricks and mortar."
- Lord Birkett, House of Lords 26 November 1986
What happened to the British jazz community's desire and ambition to have a physical home?