The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165660   Message #3976033
Posted By: Hagman
10-Feb-19 - 10:05 PM
Thread Name: UK 60s Folk Club Boom?
Subject: RE: UK 60s Folk Club Boom?
"BATman"? Thanks, FreddyHeadey - I'll get my cape out.... :-)

An appendix in "Singing From The Floor" gives a little more help, but a definite list would seem to be very elusive, unless there is a particularly diligent PhD student up at Leeds or somewhere. Some of these may bring back some memories for you islanders:

"The Clubs.

During the period covered in Singing from the Floor an inestimable number of folk clubs has existed, some for only a short time, others for decades. It is unlikely that any comprehensive list of all known folk clubs could ever be compiled; the following is a selection of the clubs that were there in the earliest days of the revival, and the ones that have been referenced by the singers, musicians and others who appear in the book.


Black Horse, Rathbone Place Bill Leader and Gill Cook, who worked in Collett’s record shop, opened the Broadside Folk Club in the early sixties. It was here that Bert Jansch first sang ‘Needle of Death’, written as a tribute to his friend Buck Polly, who had recently died.

Bunjie’s A cellar folk club below a coffee house in Litchfield Street, Charing Cross, it opened in the mid-fifties and ran through the sixties.

Fox, Islington Green Began in 1964 with residents Bob Davenport and the Rakes. Davenport later ran clubs at the John Snow in Soho, where he gave Peter Bellamy his first floor spot, and the Empress of Russia, St John Street.

King and Queen, Foley Street The first club in Britain, where Bob Dylan sang from the floor in December 1962.

Half Moon, Putney This was more a music venue than a folk club. Gerry Lockran started folk blues sessions in 1963 and most of the leading British and American contemporary folk and blues acts played there, as well as rock bands like the Rolling Stones and the Who.

Herga Folk Club, Wealdstone Began in 1963, later moved to Pinner where it is still in existence. The Lakeman brothers’ parents were once residents and John Heydon was club organiser for twenty-three years. The first club to book Robin and Barry Dransfield as a duo.

Les Cousins, Greek Street Opened in 1965 below a Greek restaurant in the same premises that the Skiffle Cellar occupied from 1958 to ‘60. Les Cousins was the main venue in London for blues and contemporary folk music, with all-nighters on a Saturday.

Roundhouse, Wardour Street Cyril Davies opened a skiffle club in an upstairs room of the pub in 1955. Later became London Blues and Barrelhouse Club, run by Alexis Korner, who brought in visitors like Muddy Waters, Big Bill Broonzy and Champion Jack Dupree.

Singers’ Club Ewan MacColl had opened Ballads and Blues in 1957 at the Princess Louise, High Holborn, before starting the Singers’ Club with Peggy Seeger in 1961. The club’s first location was the Association of Cinematograph Television and Allied Technicians (ACTT) trade union building in Soho Square and later venues included the Princess Louise, Pindar of Wakefield, Merlin’s Cave and the Union Tavern. Known for its strict policy regarding traditional repertoire

Scots Hoose, Cambridge Circus A pub in Charing Cross Road, where Bruce Dunnett ran the folk club in an upstairs room, where the Young Tradition were formed and John Renbourn first met Bert Jansch.

Troubadour, Old Brompton Road, Earls Court A cellar room below a coffee house that opened in 1954. The leading folk venue in London until Les Cousins opened, and a stop-off for visiting American folk artists, including Bob Dylan. At different times, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Martin Carthy and Martin Winsor and Redd Sullivan were resident singers.

White Bear, Hounslow The folk club was opened in 1965 by the Strawberry Hill Boys, later the Strawbs, led by Dave Cousins. In 1969, with Cousins still involved, it became the Hounslow Arts Lab, where on one occasion David Bowie made an appearance.


Birmingham, Jug of Punch The Ian Campbell Folk Group opened their first club at the Trees pub in Birmingham in 1959, later moving to Digbeth Civic Hall where the club became known as the Jug of Punch and regularly attracted audiences of up to four hundred.

Bradford Topic Opened in 1956 by schoolteacher Alex Eaton and still running; the Topic is the longest-running folk club in Britain.

Bristol Troubadour A contemporary and blues club, ran from 1966 to ‘71, with a musical policy similar to that of Les Cousins.

Cambridge St Lawrence Folk Song Society Founded in 1950 by students at the university, although too early to be recognised as a folk ‘club’.

Chelmsford Folk Club Where Nic Jones came to notice in the mid-sixties as a member of the Halliard, the resident group.

Cornwall, Folk Cottage An old barn in Mitchell, a hamlet near Newquay and the base for folk and blues in the mid-sixties. Pete Stanley and Wizz Jones were resident and Ralph McTell got his first break there.

Edinburgh University Folk Society Founded in 1958 by medical student Stuart MacGregor and folklorist Hamish Henderson. The following year, resident singers Dolina MacLennan and Robin Gray started a singing night at the Waverley Bar in Edinburgh, where many Scottish performers gained experience. In 1960 a London entrepreneur Roy Guest opened the Howff, a haunt of the teenage Bert Jansch.

Glasgow Folk Song Club Located in a café, the Corner House on Argyll Street, and organised by Norman Buchan and his wife Janey. Archie Fisher, Josh McRae and Hamish Imlach were among the early residents.

Harrogate Folk Club Began in the early sixties, the club where Robin and Barry Dransfield began performing, in a bluegrass group the Crimple Mountain Boys.

Hull, Folk Union One The Folksons, who soon became the Watersons, opened their own club in 1959 in a dance hall. They moved on to Ye Old Blue Bell where in 1965 they and the folk club were featured in the BBC television documentary Travelling for a Living.

Liverpool, Spinners Folk Club Opened in 1958 in the basement of a restaurant, Samson and Barlow’s. For years, until the demands of their concert and television work took over, the Spinners were the resident group and they made their first record at the club. Later moved to Gregson’s Well and the Trident.

Manchester Sports Guild (MSG) An old warehouse in Long Millgate, the MSG opened in 1961 with jazz downstairs and, later, folk upstairs. All the top performers played there and a singer’s night on Mondays gave many artists, including Christy Moore, their early opportunities.

Manchester, Wayfarers The first folk club in Britain was started in 1954 by Harry and Lesley Boardman as a ‘folk circle’ at the Wagon and Horses pub. Two years later this became the Wayfarers folk club at the Thatched House in Spring Gardens

Newcastle Folk Song and Ballad Club Originated with folk nights that Louis Killen and Johnny Handle organised in a jazz club, moving to the Bridge Hotel, where it ran for many years. It inspired other clubs in the Tyneside area, notably Birtley, opened in 1962 by the Elliott family, and Marsden, home of the Marsden Rattlers

Oxford University Heritage Society Founded in 1956, Louis Killen and, later, June Tabor gained valuable experience while students.

Sheffield, Barley Mow Run by Malcolm Fox from 1964 at the Three Cranes. Tony Capstick and Dave Burland were early floor singers and, in 1966, the first club that Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick played as a duo.

Sheffield, Highcliffe The Highcliffe folk and blues club that began in 1967 was an early form of today’s mini-concert venues. The Humblebums, Barbara Dickson and John Martyn played their first gigs in England there.

Solihull, Boggery Organised and compèred by Jasper Carrott at the Old Moseleians Rubgy Club, it opened in 1969 with a focus on entertainment.

Surbiton Assembly Rooms The biggest folk club in Britain, with two halls, one with 700 capacity. Derek Sarjeant and Gerry Lockran started the club in 1961; by the time it closed it had 23,000 members.

Wentworth, near Rotherham, ‘Folk at the Rock’ Opened in 1974 at the Rockingham Arms, moving to nearby Maltby in 2007. Soon after founder and organiser Rob Shaw retired in 2012, the club folded.

York, Black Swan The present club, in the upstairs room in one of the oldest pubs in York, has been running since the mid-seventies. It was the venue for Nancy Kerr and Eliza Carthy’s first gig together, in 1992."

(Not sure how Bean came up with his incredibly definitive "seventy-two on Merseyside" in his Introduction....)