History

The concept of bringing together musicians from a wide range of backgrounds was foremost in Peter Gabriel’s mind when he created Real World Studios in the late 1980s and remains a key part of the organisation’s ethos today. You only have to look at the Real World Records catalogue to see that it’s still being realised.

In the search for a location for Real World Studios, chief among Peter’s requirements was that it had to be close to water. Along with his assistant David Stallbaumer and technician Mike Large, he looked at several sites – most of them old mills – in the Bath area, before finding an office complex with a river running under it in the Wiltshire village of Box.

A mill until the late 1950s, this remarkable set of buildings had the scale and internal space Peter wanted, and was situated in a beautiful part of the world, easily accessible from London and with the city of Bath less than eight miles away. The search was over – Real World was born.

The offices were completely stripped and refurbished as studios. With so much concrete being poured (for sonic isolation), the whole building had to be underpinned and put on new foundations. The Big Room didn’t exist at all until Peter commissioned its construction.

Today, more than 25 years later, Real World’s reputation as one of the finest recording studios on earth is well established. Renowned as much for the diversity of the artists who flock there as the skill of its engineers, acoustic character of the rooms, and quality of the equipment and facilities, it’s a vibrant, creative place that adds up to far more than just the sum of its parts.

Some photos appear courtesy of the Harris/Cottrell family with thanks