The Bothy Folk Club ; a little history
The club opened in April 1965, in the Railway Hotel (now demolished), Chapel St, Southport. The first residents were the Bothy Folk Group -- Christine Jones, Tony Wilson (later known as Tony Molyneux), Stan Ambrose, Dave Boardman -- who already ran a club in the Cattle Market pub, Liverpool; the success of the Southport venture led them to concentrate all their efforts there.
The word 'bothy' comes from the Scots, and refers traditionally to the huts in which shepherds found shelter while out on the hills with their sheep; the vibrant culture in which they and other agricultural labourers moved also produced numerous 'bothy ballads' which celebrated work, love, death and so on. The first residents at the Southport venue chose the name to reflect their interest in traditional song, and to project the club as a haven for singers and musicians; ironically, it also came to reflect the club's somewhat itinerant beginnings, for within six weeks the Bothy, in search of a larger room, moved from the Railway Hotel to the Blundell Arms, Upper Aughton Rd, in the Spring of 1965.
The new venue appeared permanent, but in January 2004 the club moved again, this time to the Shelbourne Hotel, on Southport's famous Lord St. There the club celebrated its 40th birthday in April 2005. Then in the winter of 2006, with the Shelbourne being transformed into luxury flats, the Bothy negotiated a move to the other end of town, finding a new home at the Park Golf Club, Park Road West, Southport.
From the outset, the members of the Bothy Folk Group were committed not only to bringing the best national and international folk singers and musicians to the club, but also to encouraging local performers, thus establishing the pattern of alternate guest nights and singers nights which still operates. This policy has paid off, not least in that the resident panel has been regularly replenished from a pool of performers who first appeared as 'floor' singers. Attendances have fluctuated but the club has enjoyed good support not only from Southport but also from Lancashire in general and Liverpool in particular; the social life of the club has also led to the formation of the Southport Swords dance team and the Argarmeles Clog team, as well as to regular informal song and music sessions in various local pubs. The club will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2015; do come and visit before then! (KL)
Bothy residents past and present (in chronological order -- roughly!
The Bothy Folk Group
DAVE BOARDMAN (d. 2005)
TONY WILSON (d. 2004)
The King's Shilling
FRANK McCALL (d. 2006)
RICK SCOTT (d. 2005)