Peel Acres was the affectionate name JP gave to the family home in Great Finborough, near Stowmarket in Suffolk. It is an extended thatched cottage which was originally named 'Nan True's Hole', and renovated by Michael Halls in the 1960s: Hatfield And The North used this as the title of a track in their first session in 1973.
John and wife Sheila had moved there in the early 1970s. Sheila notes, however, that originally the name 'was simply the light-hearted title John gave to wherever he happened to be living' (he used it for his Fulham flat in his 1967-68 International Times columns, and in a 1966 column for the KMENtertainer referred to his then home in Southern California as "fabled Ravencroft Acres"), and that the first home they shared in Park Square Mews (with Beautiful Peter, otherwise known as Pete Sanders, photographer) was also known as this (Peel, J. and Ravenscroft, S., Margrave Of The Marshes, Corgi Books, 2006, p. 230-1).
There was a basic studio facility in the house that had allowed Peel to record the shows for his overseas programmes since 1989 (e.g. BFBS, Radio Eins, Nachtexpress) as well as the occasional Radio 1 show (the first of these being broadcast on 09 June 1995). With the installation of an ISDN digital phone line in early 1999, Peel was able to broadcast live from home, typically done on a Thursday evening: the first such fully live show went out on 03 December 1998.
The first group to play at Peel Acres were Blur, recorded on 22 April 1997 and broadcast as a special show on 05 May 1997. Prior to this, PJ Harvey had visited and recorded a live four song set on 5 September 1996, which was broadcast on 21 September 1996.
The ISDN line meant that bands could be invited to play live on the shows broadcast from the house. The first to try out the facility were Tim and Charlotte from Ash, who played an acoustic set live on air on 15 April 1999.
From 2000 onwards, Peel's Christmas specials were hosted at the family home, with the exception of 2002, which was broadcast from Maida Vale.
Live Acts At Peel Acres Edit
- 05 May 1997: Blur
- 15 April 1999: Ash (Tim & Charlotte) acoustic set
- 06 May 1999: Cinerama acoustic set
- 29 July 1999: Loudon Wainwright III
- 12 August 1999: Hefner
- 14 September 1999: Supergrass (recorded 23 July 1999)
- 05 October 1999: Blur (recorded 17 September 1999)
- 30 March 2000: Calexico
- 21 December 2000: Christmas special with live music from Cinerama, Murry The Hump, Wisdom Of Harry, and Herman Dune.
- 01 February 2001: Laura Cantrell
- 05 July 2001: Sean Dickson
- 12 July 2001: Super Furry Animals
- 23 August 2001: Cat Power
- 20 September 2001: Gorky's Zygotic Mynki
- 27 September 2001: Loudon Wainwright III
- 08 November 2001: White Stripes
- 20 December 2001: Christmas special with live music from Camera Obscura, Lianne Hall and Melys.
- 14 February 2002: Loves
- 07 March 2002: Camera Obscura
- 04 July 2002: Nina Nastasia
- 25 July 2002: Belle & Sebastian
- 29 August 2002: Melys
- 30 January 2003: Low
- 01 May 2003: Nina Nastasia
- 08 May 2003: Laura Cantrell
- 15 May 2003: Herman Dune
- 31 July 2003: Black Keys
- 23 December 2003: Christmas special with Laura Cantrell and Ballboy.
- 22 January 2004: Camera Obscura (Burns Night special)
- 20 May 2004: PJ Harvey
- 10 June 2004: Nina Nastasia & Huun Huur Tu
- Peel also alluded in his final programmes to a live set from Jawbone which was to have taken place in November.