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Associations:

The Jazz Centre (UK), Beecroft Art Gallery, Victoria Ave, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 6EX, UK

 

Registered Charity

Charity No: 1167421

Opening Times

Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 - 16:30

Phone: +44 1702 215169

Email: enquiries@thejazzcentreuk.co.uk

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 WELCOME TO 

 THE JAZZ CENTRE UK 

 Situated in The Beecroft Art Gallery, Essex, The Jazz Centre (UK) celebrates the music’s heritage, art and memorabilia and actively supports and promotes contemporary performance and education.

OUR PURPOSE:

“TO PROMOTE, PRESERVE AND CELEBRATE THE CULTURE OF JAZZ IN ALL ITS FORMS”

 

Our current site on Southend's Victoria Avenue includes a performance space, heritage centre, media centre a research centre and a lecture theatre.

 

The Jazz Centre UK is fully wheelchair accessible. Please see our accessibility page for more information. If you have any questions, please get in touch. Our friendly volunteers are happy to help with any queries.

 

The Jazz Centre UK Map

Use the interactive map below to navigate your way around The Jazz Centre UK.  

 

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A DIGITAL TOUR

BY CEO DIGBY FAIRWEATHER

Welcome to The Jazz Centre UK

As you descend the stairs you’ll see our Humphrey Lyttelton heritage exhibition ahead of you and to the right our Welcome Desk. Here we invite you to sign our visitors’ book; ask any questions about our exhibits and services; maybe browse the CDs and vinyl in our record shop, books in our bookstore - and view our art exhibitions too.

HOW WE GOT STARTED

Jazz music has existed in some form in the UK since around 1880 but up until now - quite unaccountably - there has never been a national centre to act as the music's flagship in Britain. Only one unsuccessful attempt was made back in 1982 when plans to establish a 'Jazz Centre Society' in London's Covent Garden collapsed four years later. Over thirty years have gone by and in 2015 a proposal to Arts Council England to bring back the idea was greeted by Darren Henley (CEO of Arts Council England) as 'a fantastic project'.

In 1988, our CEO Digby Fairweather founded the National Jazz Archive which holds collections of books, periodicals, posters, photographs and letters. The archive is still flourishing today. In 2015, due to a lack of space, the NJA was unable to expand to take on physical artefacts such as our Humphrey Lyttelton collection - so a hunt for a new space began.

Our project began within our current Research Centre room (see map) on the lower floor of the Beecroft Art Gallery. With our important heritage artefacts, over-stock from the National Jazz Archive and other collections curated by Digby, we created an 'Aladdin's cave' of Jazz Heritage within the small room provided by Southend Borough Council.

 

It was at this point we realised that there had never been a flagship cultural centre for the art form in the UK - as opposed to the Cecil Sharp House for Folk Music. Because of our new space, we took the opportunity to establish a cultural centre for the craft that applies to performance, art, dance, its heritage, sound and more. 

 

We founded The Jazz Centre (UK) in January 2016 with the aim to promote, preserve and celebrate the culture of jazz. And with its two 55-minute rail links to and from London and a newly-flourishing airport Southend-on-Sea, Essex is a great location.

 

With great public support, support from our patrons and funding bodies, we have managed to expand our collections, activities and premises year-on-year. In 2018 we expanded to the entire lower floor of the Beecroft Art Gallery. Sir Michael Parkinson, Paul Jones, Susan Da Costa, Southend Mayor, The Humphrey Lyttelton band and a party of nearly 400 people attended the opening event.

 

We have been extremely fortunate to get where we are today. We could not have done it without the dedicated help of our Trustees, Volunteers, funding bodies and public support.

 

Do you want to help our organisation grow and continue to support jazz art forms? Please head over to the 'help us' section where you can discover the different ways you can help out.

 

EXPLORE

HERITAGE CENTRE

Our Heritage Centre includes unmissable items such as Louis Armstrong's Trumpet, The National Humphrey Lyttelton Collection and more...

MEDIA CENTRE

Our Media Centre is the home to our 6500 jazz vinyl records, rare audio recordings, movies, lectures and workshops.

RESEARCH CENTRE

Our Research Centre contains specialist collections of jazz periodical, book and artefacts. 

LIVE EVENTS

We have weekly live events at The Jazz Centre UK including live music, talks, lectures and workshops.

WORKSHOPS

Are you a musician? Find out more about our workshops and masterclasses.

MEET THE TEAM THAT PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

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 FIND OUT ABOUTOUR PATRONS 

SIR MICHAEL PARKINSON

PATRON

"It's been a long time coming, but such good news - and well deserved"