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Jazz Club Cards

How many readers hold a jazz club membership card? Those tucked away in the backs of drawers tell many stories, some which you may prefer to keep to yourselves, but they are evidence of clubs that existed and may have been forgotten by many. We have been sent copies of membership cards from time to time to go with articles that have appeared on the website and we thought that it might be an idea to set up a separate page for them. They might trigger off memories ...

Ron Drakeford starts us off saying:

My good lady has delved into her memory box and come up with some goodies! Namely club membership cards of the period that belonged to her late husband Lawrence. They pretty much cover the Kingston Clubs mentioned in my writings on this website(click here). It was the norm in the fifties to have such cards, for what reason I am unaware. Whether it was to try and promote a feeling of belonging or whether there was a legal requirement from a publican's standpoint - perhaps someone may enlighten us. Certainly by the mid sixties the custom seemed to have died a death.

 

London Society of Jazz Music Card

 

London Society of Jazz Music - This was the entrance card to Friday night venues at the Thames Hotel Hampton Court with Mike Daniels in residency. I seem to recall the same card was used at the Queen Victoria at North Cheam, again with Mike Daniels plus other big name bands but on a Sunday.

 

London Traditional Jazz Society card

 

London Traditional Jazz Society - Thames Hotel once again but used on Thursdays and Saturdays as I recall. Saturdays being the big night and part of the professional touring band circuit. The Colyer and Sonny Morris bands were frequent attractions. Regular players on Thursdays were Neil Millet and Mole Benn.

 

Continental Club card

 

Continental Club - Fighting Cocks venue on Fridays which moved later to the Swan at Mill Street. The music provided was not really in keeping with the Fighting Cocks traditionalist clientèle, and the Swan provided a better venue for the more “sophisticated” and sartorially superior members. More in keeping with Edmundo Ross than Bill Brunskill, but well supported.

 

Eel Pie Island Passport

 

Eelpiland Passport - Brainchild of the late Arthur Chisnall who bravely manned the door on Saturdays and Sundays at the famous Eel Pie Island venue. Passport to get in (plus entrance fee) and a passout to get out if you wanted to get back in. This was duly stamped on one's wrist and would not quite last the week until next time round (bugger!). Riverside Jazzmen led by Alan Cresswell on clarinet on Sundays. Saturdays were the province of the professional touring bands as per the Thames Hotel. Colyer, Bilk, Bob Wallis, Alan Elsdon, Dick Charlesworth, Mickey Ashman. Terry Lightfoot, etc etc.

 

Alan Davis sent us these cards to add to the collection:

Cooks Ferry membership CardWood Green membership Card

'A friend since my school days sent me these two memories of days gone by. We used to go to both clubs/pubs during the 50's and 60's until we were married, wonderful nights. In the early 50's we listened to Bobby Mickleborough, Joe Daniels, Eric Silk, Freddy Randall, George Melly with Mick Mulligan, Christie Bros. Stompers, etc.

Those were the days. Hope these two pictures will add to your collection. '

 

 

Trogs Club Membership cardMedwyn from the island of Anglesey in North Wales sent us this picture of a membership card for Trog’s Club, saying: 'Yesterday, I was clearing out some stuff with the mind to put some music memorabilia on Ebay to fund my Motown / Northern Soul / Reggae / Mersey Beat collection, when I happened upon this membership card for the Trog's Jazz Club, Six Bells, King's Road, S.W.3. I bought this in a lot, together with some Liverpool related membership cards as I collect Mersey Beat memorabilia.' We referred Medwyn to our page on the Six Bells (click here).

Membership card Jazzkerho Sjoki


Jari Salo in Finland add this membership card to the collection. It is his father, Jorma Salo's card for the Seinajoki Jazz Club, Finland from 1959.

You can read about Jorma on our Photographic Memory page. Does anyone remember anything about this club?

Dancing Slipper Club Card

 

Johnny Johnstone has dug out the boxes from under his bed and found his old club card from the famous Dancing Slipper in Nottingham. As you will see from the details on our page about the Dancing Slipper (click here) many well known bands played there over the years.

Dancing Slipper Club Card

 

 

 

Johnny's card confirms that in 1969 -1970, club nights were Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Membership was 5/-, although concession prices seemed to apply, and 'ALL CLUB RULES MUST BE STRICTLY OBEYED' (I wonder what they were?)

 

Ron Drakeford sends us this club card from Hambone Kelly's Club.

Ron says: 'The club was named after the famous 'Frisco club started by Lu Watters which closed down around 1951, I believe after four years. This Hambone Kelly's was located at The Cardinal Wolsey at Hampton Court, with Charlie Gall in residence'.

 

 

Hambone Kelly's Club Card

 

On our page about Kingston Jazz (click here), Chris Mitchell has written about Hambone Kelly's as he was one of the founders. Chris says: Reading Ron Drakeford's article, I was interested to see the Cardinal Wolsey was mentioned. I know about this club as I, with a good friend, Phil Henman, started this venue in 1957, naming it Hambone Kelly's Jazz Club, after the Lu Watters club in San Francisco. I was, at the time, playing with a band named The Southside Stompers, mostly budding lawyers. I then had an offer to join Charlie Gall's band, which led to the band, naturally, getting the Friday gig.

We had a very cunning rule that all the girls had free admission up until 20.30 pm. This led to swarms of red-blooded male jazz fans packing the place - and the cash box. Phil, very sadly passed on about twelve years ago. As for me, I am still playing in Switzerland with a band called The Harlem Ramblers and enjoying life (click here: www.harlemramblers.ch). Charlie's band were: Charlie Gall (trumpet), Pete Mawford (drums), Matt Paton (bass), Chris Mitchell (banjo), Joe Smith (clarinet) and John Howlett (trombone). The band had quite a good run in the boom years, with Cyril Preston taking over about 1961.

Does anyone else remember Hambone Kelly's?

 

The Railway Hotel, Norbiton, Surrey

 

Railway Hotel Norbiton Club card

 

Phil Bird has sent in these cards for the Railway Hotel in Norbiton, Surrey.

The cards were originally given to Phil by Paul Darby who lived in Thames Ditton. Phil says: ‘We frequented all the pubs in your blog and also supported many of the blues bands which sprung up out of the jazz scene. This card is interesting as this was the Yardbirds before name change. I think Eric took over from Top here. We once saw Lennie (Canal Street) jamming with them playing his cornet. Superb. The Yardbirds first name was The Metropolis Blues Quartet and they played upstairs in Norbiton. As did the Canal Street and other jazz bands hence Lennie jamming with them.

Railway Hotel Norbiton Club card

As you know Blues bands starting to get more popular than jazz and the venues started changing their booking policies. Clapton and others were regulars at all these venues especially at The Swan in Mill Street. Happy days sitting on the wall by the river !

I still have occasional contact with Jim and Chris from the band and in fact Jim played several times in a Swanage blues club I ran for some years (now being run as The Swanage Blues Festival and has spread to every pub in town!).

I am sure your will get many reminders of the great gigs at Coronation Baths, remember the floor above the swimming pool bouncing up and down as we jived the Cy Laurie. Oh yes ! Funny after Kingston I moved to Bermuda and the house band of the hotel I worked in was made up of UK modern jazz greats. Alan Ganley, Vic Ash, Art Effleson ( spelling ?) and others. Phew what a treat to be working in the same place as that lot.

 

The Swan, Kingston

Here are two more interesting club cards also sent to us by Phil Bird.

Jazz At The Swan Club Card

Notice the House Band in this one for JAZZATTHESWAN in Mill Street, Kingston from 1963 - it includes Jimmy Skidmore, Lenny Best, Stan Jones and Colin Barnes.

Trad At The Swan Club Card

We assume that the second card, Trad At The Swan is also from the same venue but a year earlier. Does anyone remember The Swan? It seems to have been an interesting venue. Apparently the pub at 67 Mill Street, Kingston-upon-Thames, is no longer operating. We found this information (click here) where in 2007 someone wrote: 'I used to go the Swan years ago when Chris and Maureen had it. After that it developed a bad reputation so I didn't go in. I went in the other evening and wow has this pub changed. Someone has spent a lot of money on this place. the furniture in the front bar is amazing. The two girls behind the bar were friendly and helpful. The menu is small but hey not many pubs in this area who do pizzas right up until closing time. ok on the negatives think maybe they should bring back darts and deffo do sunday lunch.' A year later someone was reporting that it was boarded up.

 

Ditton Jazz Club

 

Ditton Jazz Club Card

 

This month's club card, sent in by Phil Bird, once belonged to P.J. Darby. We don't know anything about an early jazz club in Ditton (Thames Ditton) in Surrey, perhaps readers can send us some information?

It appears that today live jazz is played at the George and Dragon every Tuesday evening (click here) and occasionally at Imber Court (click here). Contact us if you can remember where the Ditton Jazz Club was held in the 1960s.

Ron Drakeford contacted us to say that the Canal Street Jazz Band prior to moving to the Fighting Cocks in Kingston did have a jazz club in Ditton. 'The venue was at Weston Green Church Hall, accessible by foot from Hampton Court via Weston Road, and by road from Weston Park. This was hugely popular and led to its demise because of 'complaints' by locals. Pubs were happy though! One Thursday evening we turned up as usual to be told we could no longer use the hall. A quick phone call to Dennis, the landlord at the Fighting Cocks was made by Mick Hill (trombone) and we were on our way complete with audience. Our Thursday night session at the 'Cocks' had taken off!'

 

Sandy's Barn - Kingston-on-Thames

Steve Glenister writes:

Membership Card for Sandy's Barn

'I’m ‘only’ 45, but I found this in my Dad's stuff and thought it might bring a smile to your face'.

'Thanks for writing your blog about the Jazz scene in Kingston. It’s great to read about the place my Dad obviously went to back in the 50s'.
2014.5

 

We have added this membership card of Steve's father to our page on jazz in the Kingston-on-Thames area -click here.

The Southern Jazz Club - Leytonstone

 

Southern Jazz Club Card

 

Dan Lucken has sent us for our collection this membership card from the Southern Jazz Club that met at the Masonic Hall "The Old Red Lion" in Leytonstone, London E.11. The card expired in 1956.

Does anyone remember this jazz club?

 

 

West Ealing Jazz Club

 

West Ealing Jazz Club card

 

Here is another Jazz Club card sent in by Dan Lucken to see if anyone remembers the club.

© Sandy Brown Jazz 2013 - 2014

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