Angel Recording Studios

Angel Recording Studios Limited (also referred to as Angel Studios) was a British recording studio based in the eponymous recording and mixing complex in Islington, London. The company was incorporated by James Warren Sylvester de Wolfe on 5 December 1978.[1] After ownership of the property transferred to third parties, the facility was closed at the end of 2019.

Angel Recording Studios Limited
IndustryMusic industry
Founded5 December 1978; 43 years ago (1978-12-05)
FounderJames Warren Sylvester de Wolfe
DefunctDecember 2019
Headquarters311–312 Upper Street, ,
ParentDe Wolfe Music

The building was originally constructed as a Congregational chapel in 1888, and is now Grade II listed. The premises were acquired by library music specialists De Wolfe Music in the late 1970s and opened in 1982.[2] Since then, the studio has been used to record both commercially successful work such as Adele's 2011 album 21 and numerous classical recordings


The studio is based on the corner of Upper Street (the A1) and Gaskin Street (formerly Church Street) in Islington, London, adjacent to St Mary's Church.[3][4] The nearest tube station is Angel.[5]


The building opened as the Islington Chapel in 1888, a Congregational chapel designed by architects Paull and Bonella and replacing an earlier chapel constructed in 1815 and redesigned in 1847–1848.[3][6][7]

The building has been Grade II listed since 1972 and features a large number of original features inspired by Ancient House, Ipswich (also known as Sparrowe House) and the work of Richard Norman Shaw. It is constructed from Flemish bond red brickwork with stone dressing. The oriel windows feature cast iron glazing made by the St Pancras Iron Work Company. The 1888 construction date can be seen in a panel at the top of the building. The chapel's early 18th-century style organ made by Henry Speechly and Sons remains in situ, and in working order.[7]

The chapel closed in 1979, and the building was purchased by De Wolfe Music.[2] A major refurbishment and conversion project was undertaken, and recording began in 1982. The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees recorded at the studio the following year.[8] By 1986, the complex could accommodate 100 musicians and mix to 35 mm and 16 mm.[9] A third studio was added at the complex in 1987.[8] Studio One received major refurbishment in 2001.[10]

In autumn of 2019 it was announced that the Angel Recording Studios would be closing down following the death of Mr James de Wolfe.[11]



Angel Recording Studios has been used by a number of popular recording artists over the years, including Grammy Award winning albums from Adele (21, one of the best-selling of the 21st century)[12][13] and Sam Smith (In the Lonely Hour).[14] Other bands and artists to use the studios include: Westlife, Rush,[15] One Direction, Emeli Sandé, Slade, Little Mix, Louis Tomlinson, Gary Barlow, Plácido Domingo, Seal, Liza Minnelli, Florence and the Machine, Nightwish, Kylie Minogue,[16] Goldfrapp,[17] Karl Jenkins (for his acclaimed Adiemus project),[18] and Robbie Williams.[19]

Film and televisionEdit

The studio's orchestra room has been used by Éric Serra who scored Léon: The Professional and the James Bond film GoldenEye there.[20][21] George Fenton used the studio to record scores for natural history shows The Blue Planet and Planet Earth,[22][23] while other projects have included Maury Yeston for Nine,[24] Craig Armstrong, who scored Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet,[25] and Anne Dudley for The Full Monty and Poldark. The studio has also been used to record the soundtracks to film The English Patient, The Crying Game, Buster, Memphis Belle, Pride and Prejudice, The Lion King, and Jackie.[8] Television programmes to use the studios include The Night Manager[26] and Downton Abbey.[27]



  1. ^ "Angel Recording Studios Limited – Overview (free company information from Companies House)". Companies House.
  2. ^ a b "James Warren Sylvester de Wolfe RIP". M Magazine. 15 August 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b Weinreb et al. 2008, p. 964.
  4. ^ Stell, Christopher (2002). Nonconformist Chapels and Meeting-houses in Eastern England. English Heritage. ISBN 978-1-873-59250-2.
  5. ^ "Upper Street / Gaskin Street, London". Google Maps. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  6. ^ Willats, Eric (2017) [1986]. Streets with a story : The Book of Islington (PDF). Islington Heritage Service. p. 63. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Number 311 and Attached Railings". Historic England. 18 March 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  8. ^ a b c "Nitrate To Bitrate: 1978". De Wolfe Music. 18 July 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  9. ^ British Film Institute Film and Television Yearbook. British Film Institute. 1986. p. 169.
  10. ^ Angel Recording Studios. "Studio One Refurbishment 2001". Facebook.
  11. ^ "Renowned British Studio Complex, Angel Recording Studios to Close". Headerliner Magazine. 20 September 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  12. ^ Shapiro, Marc (2012). Adele: The Biography. St. Martin's Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-250-02515-9.
  13. ^ "Adele's 21 is the UK's best seller of the millennium". Billboard. 19 March 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  14. ^ Tingen, Paul (September 2014). "Inside Track: Sam Smith's In The Lonely Hour". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  15. ^ Popoff, Martin (2017). Rush: Album by Album. Voyageur Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-760-35769-9.
  16. ^ "Events". Angel Recording Studios. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Supernature – Goldfrapp". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  18. ^ Karl Jenkins. Adiemus (Media notes). Warner Classics. 509-9-901-91762-8.
  19. ^ "Swing Both Ways". Angel Recording Studios.
  20. ^ The Professional (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (Media notes). TriStar Music. 1994. WK 67201.
  21. ^ GoldenEye (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (Media notes). Virgin Records. 1995. 72435-41423-2-1.
  22. ^ "Angel engineer's close call in Italy". PSN Europe. 5 May 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Frozen Planet". Angel Studios. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  24. ^ "Nine (Original Soundtrack)". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  25. ^ "Scottish Composer Craig Armstrong Talks Far From the Madding Crowd". DIY Magazine. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  26. ^ "The latest BBC drama The Night Manager started this week!". De Wolfe Music. 25 February 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  27. ^ "Interview: Downton Abbey composer John Lunn". Audio Media International. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2018.


External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°32′16″N 0°06′09″W / 51.5378°N 0.1024°W / 51.5378; -0.1024