The Old Vinyl Factory is a new development based on the old “His Masters Voice” EMI factory site in Hayes. The newly converted office blocks currently host the ‘Made in Hayes’ exhibition about the heritage of the site and its roots in vinyl production. The EMI Group Archive Trust worked in collaboration with Cathedral Group PLC to create an exhibition on site that pays homage to the legacy of the EMI factory and the thousands of people who worked there from 1907 – 1988. Most of the pieces on display and photographs are courtesy of the EMI Group Archive Trust.
The exhibition covers three main areas concerning the daily running of the 58 acre factory site which was once the work place of more than 20 000 people. The Place and Community area revolves around the lives of the workers at the EMI factory. The display emphasises the scale of the factory in Hayes with items from the factory’s own dedicated fire emergency services, police forces as well as paper work from the company’s social and sports clubs.
The Music and Culture area highlights how the evolution of music over the years became the driving force in directing popular culture. The display includes two of the Beatles gold discs and a portable gramophone amongst other pieces. The Gramophone Company was revolutionary in bringing the fine arts to the mainstream. Before recorded music, listening to professional musicians was an activity reserved for only the wealthy. The development of records made music accessible to more people of different financial means and was significant in contributing to the breakdown of class lines in society.
The Innovation and Technology area displays the scientific advancements made by EMI Central Research Laboratories including the development of stereo sound technology by Alan Blumlein. As well as the development of the world’s first viable Computed Tomography (CT) scanner for which the EMI scientists Godfrey Hounsfield and Allan McLeod Cormack won a Nobel Prize.
The large open space of the gallery is the perfect combination of modern clean lines, rustic jet black cabins and warm wooden panels. The space has the feel of an authentic factory atmosphere with exposed ventilation pipes and the gentle hum of the ventilation system mingling with the records playing in the background. The room is accessorised with large blown up images of the factory (courtesy of the EMI Group Archive Trust) including pictures of the day the sod was broken by a famous EMI recording artist in 1908, a site visit from the Queen and the quality control room with rows of female workers listening to the quality of records leaving the factory. The pieces throughout the exhibition paint the picture of a vibrant place full of activity.
You can see more pictures from the lanuch of the exhibition in our Flickr account
The ‘Made in Hayes’ exhibition is open to the public by prior arrangement only until June 2014.
Opening hours: 2:30pm–5pm Monday to Friday
Telephone: 0208 606 0437
Venue: Shipping Building, Blythe Road, Hayes, UB3 1BW