which hosted British music legends such as The Beatles and The Who in their
1960s heyday has partially collapsed after a fire.
Part of Kings Heath High Street in the Birmingham
suburb was closed for hours after the fire at the building, which is now a Cash
The building in York Road was formerly the Ritz
Ballroom, which also hosted The Rolling Stones in the 1960s.
Officers said they were treating the fire as
suspicious. No-one was hurt.
The road, one
of the main routes into Birmingham, was closed for several hours between
Popular Road and Silver Street, but has now reopened.
started at about 05:00 GMT and, at its height, up to 40 firefighters were
called to tackle the flames. Fire officers remain at the site.
engineers will now examine the remains of the building to decide how stable it
is, but about 70% of it has collapsed.
Jez Collins, who runs the online Birmingham Music Archive, said it was
"very sad" to lose the building.
Birmingham we've lost so much of our musical history," he said.
compare it to other cities like Liverpool and Manchester, which have really
made something of their famous venues, we've lost a lot.
memories that are attached them - people remember going to the Ritz to see The
Beatles, The Stones, The Animals, Pink Floyd and all the big names of the time.
met their husbands and wives there and now that building's gone."
The venue shut
in the 1970s and the building has been occupied by various shops since.
had been planned for September in Kings Heath to mark the 50th anniversary in
September of the Rolling Stones playing at the venue.
A Kings Heath
Walk of Fame, honouring the area's musical and comedy heritage, had also been
planned to start outside the building with a star marking singer Toyah Wilcox.
from the fire service, said the collapse of the building was likely to hamper
the investigation into how the fire started.
Businesses in York Road are shut but those on the
High Street were open as normal.
Kate Smart, Kings Heath town centre manager, said
some of the surrounding buildings had been damaged by smoke.
She added the area was a "close-knit
community" and that they were "devastated" to lose such a
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