Coordinates: 51°30′06″N 0°13′55″W / 51.501733°N 0.231823°W Townhouse Studios (officially named The Town House) was a recording studio in West London, built by Richard Branson in 1978, and managed by Barbara Jeffries as part of the Virgin Studios Group. The Virgin Studios Group was acquired by EMI when Richard sold Virgin Records to EMI in 1992. The Sanctuary Group bought the studio from EMI in 2002. Al Stone, a recording engineer and producer, who trained at The Town House, ran the studios for Sanctuary in 2006, only to see Universal close it around April 2008 after a Sanctuary buy-out. The building had three recording rooms, numbered 1, 2 and 4: number 3 was The Who's Ramport Studios.
Artists that recorded at Townhouse Studios included Elton John, Queen, Phil Collins, The Jam, Asia, Bryan Ferry, Coldplay, Muse, Duran Duran, Jamiroquai, Kylie Minogue, Oasis, XTC, Robbie Williams and Joan Armatrading. Studio 2's "Stone Room" was an especially popular place to record drum sounds during the 1980s directly as a result of producer Hugh Padgham's treatment of the drums on Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight", which resulted in ubiquitous worldwide radio airplay, and one of the biggest hits in pop history.
The Town House had a close relationship with Solid State Logic throughout its history, being the first studio in the UK to install one of their B-series consoles. The 1000th console produced by SSL was installed in studio one. The SSL B mixing desk still exists. Studio One originally was home to a 72 input Helios console.
Studio 1 was originally equipped with a 40 channel Helios desk with an Alison computer mixdown system.
In July 1984 Townhouse 3 was opened, this being the old Ramport studio in Battersea, purchased from the Who, the Helios from Townhouse 1 being installed there, replacing a Neve, the Helios later giving way to another Neve.