Eel Pie Island / L'Auberge - contacts and memories[ if you want your memories added to this page, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- please let me know whether you want your email address included
- maybe in 2017 i'll finally get round to adding a proper forum! ]
I am 56 and spent my youth in Kingston and Surbiton. Wonderful times and I saw some very good bands and such a wonderful atmosphere. I loved the Toby Jug Club, Eel Pie Island, Kingston Poly, KCFE and the Kingston pubs which had so much good music. Thank you for your website and are there any other links for people like us to share those good times? I went to Surbiton County Grammar School but thankfully have survived and advanced into a good job. I went there went it was crap. Very few of us still around. I would love to get in touch with like minded people. Junkie John, Scotch Jim, Dave Raphael, and many others. I remember L'Auberge and the local Hells Angels. Tivvy? Triton bike?
Maybe these things mean nothing to you. I visited Kingston a few weeks ago and was reduced to tears. Where is the Rowbarge? Where is the Outrigger? It has become the same as any other town such as Exeter (where I live), Torquay, Surbiton............... Anywhere. I lived in the mid sixties in this area and loved it.
- Charles Clark - email@example.com - 15th May 2009 (bumped)
I arrived in Richmond in 1968 and fell in love with the place immediately. I was told by my host family that I should never go to l’Auberge as it was a dangerous den but I was French, young and curious and as soon as I was free I would spend many hours there. A coffee could last me all day and, later, I remember Maria feeding me spaghettis for nothing, she was so kind. The music coming from the juke box was great and I remember it to this day. It was a big family, conversation was always interesting and the trips to Les Troubadours, parties all over London, the river bank where we knew the boat keepers, the wonderful Terrace gardens, the park, we were spoilt by so much beauty and freedom.
People looked happy. I almost forgot The Hanging Lamp in the Vineyard:: Al Stewart, the Strawbs, John Martin. ....And the Eel Pie Island. Wonderful memories.
- Annie - firstname.lastname@example.org - 4th March 2017
Hi, I was married to johnny vanstone from 1965 to 1978. Dont know if anybody remembers those times? - Jill - email@example.com - 25th December 2017
I have just been reading some of the entries from people who remember the sixties in Richmond and Twickenham. I went to Eel Pie Island several times although my father disagreed with my going to this "den of iniquity and drugs" as he feared for my wellbeing! I remember seeing some great bands there like The Downliners Sect and The Yardbirds. I was playing in bands (notably Fruit Machine) during this time (still am!) but I never managed to get on that stage at the Hotel. I was trying to remember the name of the restaurant in East Twickeham at the bottom of Richmond Bridge. Me and my band buddies, Steve Gould, Ced Curtiss and Andy Deacon and other friends were regulars there, and they opened another branch just opposite featuring an enhanced menu and called it ******Too! Can anyone remember the name?
- Chris Randall - firstname.lastname@example.org - 6th September 2017
I was amused to see this long running thread mentioning some of my old haunts and some of my old friends / and some not. I first went to Captain Barefoot's Rock Garden (I think that was its name at the time) in Autumn 1968 to try out some Orange Sunshine I had acquired for my first trip. Who was playing that night is lost unfortunately, but it was the start of a good relationship! At that time I was barely 16 and at Brooklands Tech doing "not going to lectures". I saw almost all the good gigs there till it closed.
My mates and I at that time also used to go to the Gin Mill at Godalming for our live music and occasionally the Temple in Wardour Street. In those days I dossed around the country crop picking in the spring/summers and worked where I could indoors in the winters.
People I knew then, and later when the ballroom was closed, in the Cabbage and the Eel Pie squat: first and foremost Mac (Macdonald) and Busker Phil (Delahay) from London and Jersey respectively, who lived in what I believe to have been the old ice cream kiosk on the river side of the Hotel; Frank (the Hand) Williams, from Thetford who I met in Penzance in 69 along with Mac - my belief is that Phil joined Hari Krishna - Mac was last heard of in Tooting, Frank - dunno; John Goodsall (guitarist) and his mate Rabbit; Crippled Eddy - I remember him telling me why they took his spazmobile away! Tommy Q who kept setting his blankets on fire; Stuart, Little Brother, Junky Pat and Nobby, Big Mike(Straker), Little Mike, Feasty, Irish John, Felix, Eileen and Louise (scousers); a large person called Chis, last seen on the Hotel roof rocking the chimneys (we had to tell him not to - it would have gone through the last two working toilets! Big Derek, Bob the Boat, Andy Grey, John & Alan (mandyheads), Canadian Cliff aka Red Indian Cliff who got himself a write up in Oz magazine (L'Auberge/Penzance); and dozens of others, not forgetting my wife Annedore (gone now gawdbless'er) and lots and lots of little girls who hadn't told their mums where they were going, who were put in the corner to come down in case they got into trouble!!
- Simon (Pat's mate) - 16th May 2017
Pete "Polish" (real name possibly Lubovicki) worked with Arthur Chisnall as a "Youth Worker" at Eel Pie Island Hotel in the 60's. Pete was one of the founder members of Middlesex Housing Association, with me and others in 1969. I am trying to find Pete for a proposed reunion of many old friends who went to Eel Pie Island & other local Jazz, Blues, R&B and Folk venues.
- Ron Bartholomew - email@example.com - 29th April 2016
[success! Ron has managed to contact Pete Polish]
I just came across a DVD on the Island, "EEL PIE AND BLUES - The Story of Eel Pie Island" which brought back some memories. I went to the island for the trad jazz when I was probably too young to get in officially - great times!
In later life, long after the Hotel had gone, I was the Station Officer in charge of the Blue Watch at Twickenham Fire Station. The Island was on my patch, and I had cause to conduct an inspection there one day in 1996. When I came on duty the following day I found that there had been a serious fire in the craft studios and boatyards overnight. Nothing to do with me guv'nor!
- Bev Davey - 24th January 2016
I've just been given the Dan Van Der Vat book for my birthday - a great read. It reminded me that in 1969 (I think) when I was 15, I went with 3 school friends to see Free there one night. We got there just as the support band started and as I remember there were stages at each end of the hall. Of course we stupidly didn't work out that the stage at the end where all the people were standing was where Free would perform later, because the support was playing at the other end where virtually no one was standing. So we listened to the support, thought they were awful, and then at the end discovered that we had been listening to a new band called Genesis. At the time we thought - who are they, they'll get nowhere. How wrong can you be! Regards.
- Chris Blishen - firstname.lastname@example.org - 22nd August 2010 (bumped)
Although I spent a night at the EPI during my 'formative' years, and saw a Mott the Hoople gig there once, I was never a 'face' in the EPI/Lobbage 'scene.' I lived just off the Sheen Rd in Ricky, but I ended up thrashing out my teenage angst in Kingston - although I never did the 3 Fishes/Royal Charter, as I was a bit too 'shy' for the inevitable weekend punch-ups & stuff. Instead, I ended up patronising a little coffee bar called the 'Quasimodo' in St. James' Rd - opposite the Law Courts !!! Until my dear Mum - Gawd bless her - marched in one night and literally hauled me home in front of all my mates (male and female, dammit) - and I kinda went 'straight' after that for a while.
So, I missed out on all the 'Ricky/Twicky' stuff, really - and I regret that. My younger bruv was more involved, I believe. As a schoolbrat, I worked P/T at Joe Lyons' teashoppe in Richmond, and I have memories of some fun chats with 'Bristol Alan' who worked there - such an affable and amusing guy. I'm sure it was purely a story to entertain me, but he reckoned he occasionally got 'revenge' on peeps by dropping some dodgy acid in their tea/coffee, and then watching the fun. Later, I worked at "F. Cave Ltd." - which is briefly mentioned in one of the posts as 'Cave's Supermarket,' I believe. It was just down the road from L'Auberge, and sold a few lines to help with the 'munchies.' I recall a 'loud whisper' doing the rounds when a bunch of sh0rt-@$$es appeared looking for munchies, and indeed the Faces were down from the Wick shopping for munchies & fags, bless 'em !!!
I believe Pete Townshend had a wooden-clad house opposite EPI for a while, and then took up residence at the Wick eventually - where he may still be in residence, unless the 'fuzz' have found more 'research stuff' on his hard drive !!!
Odd-Job, bless him. My bruv kinda linked up with him when he decided to be a 'biker,' and I think OJ (and another biker 'Buttons' ?) got a 'Chapter' going. For a while - OJ, my bruv 'Fritz' and I shared a well-smelly room at our home in Townshend Road, Ricky (just off the Sheen Rd.) I tell ya, I was scared witless when I heard I had to share a room with this thug (my bruv, or OJ - you decide !!!). But OJ was a lovely guy - and yes indeedy, so deep and intelligent. He had painted one of his 'spatial' murals in a flat my bruv was sharing with a good lady, some years ago and I have some 'footage' of it somewhere. My bruv told me that he had died alone in a phone-box, and I really should check if there was at least someone on the line when he finally dropped it. I never found OJ to be anything other than a very thoughtful and peace-loving guy.
I doubt if anyone from the Ricky/Twicky scene will remember me, as I wasn't really a part of it - and I so regret that now. But perhaps my stuff might help somewhere here. As an 'aside,' I would love to hear from anyone who might remember me from the "F. Cave Ltd." days - and I have some apologies to offer to some dear ladies, who might perhaps allow me that privilege. As for the blokes - let's do some beers, eh ? - "Freedom's just another word for 'Nothing left to lose.'" Here's to love, friendship and good memories. Bless ya,
- Bill Knight (whoever he is...!!!) - email@example.com - 17th April 2014
Crane River Jazz Band - Hi Pensioners.. Another Rave from the Grave (nearly). I'm Brian Heagren. I played for a short time, trombone, with Neil Millet,clt.. Mo Benn,tpt.. Chas Mc Devitt,bjo.. Al Cairney,bass.. and a drummer???? (Sorry, it was before they built the Bridge). I played all around the area, even under Brooklands, Motor Race Circuit, Banking.. Fighting Cocks, Kingston.. Railway Hotel, Richmond.. White Horse, Southall. At this time, R and B bands were creeping into all our venues, at first on the quiet nights.. Then Blues Incorporated happened, and we were left with the quiet nights. We had Tuesdays at the Marquee, Oxford Street, (shortly). I'm 77 yrs now and am living and playing in Germany.
- Brian Heagren - 3rd September 2014
Read with interest the Eel Pie Island story and related comments. Brings back many memories of the early to mid 1960's. Would anyone have any photographs or information related to the Art Wood Combo / Artwoods from early 1960's or other related band Red Bludds Bluesicians. Thanks.
- Tony (Woodstock, Ontario, Canada) - firstname.lastname@example.org - 6th August 2014
Hi, My uncle, Douglas Greening, used to play at EPI with his big band, the Hugh Douglas Band, I'm guessing in the 40's-50's. I'm really anxious to hear from anyone who might remember seeing him, also there is a recording somewhere of the band. I'd love to know if anyone has any information about it? Thanks.
- Mary Williams - email@example.com - 8th May 2014
Hi everyone, I am an old blast from the past, yep skinny Caroline (not Scottish at all!) the Teen, friend of Jane Owen, Del & Molly, & girlfriend of Paul (FREE) married Alan Winter in 69 @ 18!, hung around all those famous places back in the great years of the 60's when music was just simply the best. Knew Nobby Clark & all the gang and of course L'Auberge with Andy doing his famous chicken curry, Eel Pie, the Crawdaddy, The Birds Nest, and all the rest of the great pubs & clubs. Sadly left Twickenham in 2006 for the green fields & fresh air!
Trying to reconnect with so many "old faces", sadly found some are gone forever! A great friend from back then seems to have vanished, trying hard to trace her. Jane Owen lived in Petersham in Lauderdale Drive by me, was at my wedding, in the 70's she was with a Frenchman, then she got married and had a daughter ... Where are you my dear friend? Her brothers are/were Antony, Michael & Richard & her sister Lindy (think she married a pharmacist & lived in Twickenham), her Mum used to be a nurse, her Dad died early (I think around late 50's overseas where he served with the army, Malaysia I think) so they came back to the UK & Petersham, she had family in Cambridge too, DOB 51/52. Please try to locate this special friend who I lost touch with after us both moving etc.
And of course any old pals from back then , would love to hear who is still alive and kicking !!!
- Caroline Winter - firstname.lastname@example.org - 14th April 2014
Hi - Memory rush - Eel Pie in the late 60's, swimming in the river with tourists in boats mad keen to get photos of naked 'hippie chicks' as we were known as. Mad Saturday nights in the ballroom, great bands, great dope & good times. I remember Stefan who had a lovely old houseboat moored close to the hotel. Loretta's plea on the kitchen wall 'Loretta is not your mother...'. Annie on the bridge, watching out for the 'fuzz' on Saturday nights - anyone with short hair was suspect.
L'Auberge - Andy - such a nice guy, so many burgers & coffee & the 'exclusivity' of sitting in the Fish Tank. Long discussions on music & life. Long summer days sitting in the sun on the raised patio smoking dope, droppping acid & watching life drift on a haze of hash smoke ≈ incense. But also the petty quarrels & snobbishness towards those not deemed to be cool. It certainly wasn't peace & love all the time. Fab juke box.
The Station Hotel, The Orange Tree, the Indian restaurant just up from L'Auberge.
Does anyone remember Harry - South African, much older guy who dealt acid & drove a Humber Snipe (I think)? Lived further down the road towards Kew. Also the squat at 94 Queens Road in Richmond... & the Nepalese hash I was given - unbelievably good. People nicking bottles of milk, bread, bacon etc from doorstep deliveries to the police housing block nearby - don't remember anyone getting caught for that...
Much older now but not in my head. The drugs have gone now - quality not what it once was but the fun & good times go on until I make that final, unavoidable long trip on the cosmic highway preferably on a Vincent Black Shadow ≈ then it will really kick off (I hope.)
- Ceebee (Christine Boulton) - email@example.com - 12th April 2014
Pete Samuel and I did all the light shows for Richmond Arts Lab, at Eel Pie Island in 1969, as "Mass Spectrometer Light Show". We both worked in County Hall, Kingston, as land survey draughtsmen by day. Here are photos of me in my parent's garden in 1969 and a later picture (with Pete Samuel included) from 1972. Unfortunately, neither photo was taken at Eel Pie Island. We used to do the gig for £2.00 a night, on condition that our name appeared in the Melody Maker advert each week!
- John Lethbridge - Cereco International - 14th March 2014
I also have good memories of Eel-Pie Island, the Three Fishes pub and the Outrigger pub in Kingston. I used to ride over the bridge onto the island on my motorcycle in around 1969/1970. An old crone used to sit in sort of sentry box at the side of the bridge and demand threepence. We would leer ungraciously at her and ride on past. I still remember that during the concerts, outrageously priced 'Captain Bearfoot killer Punch' was on sale together with Jumbo Hot Dogs. The entry price was from memory 15 shillings, so pretty expensive back then.
I spent lots of time in the Three Fishes with my friend Karl who lived in a flat in Surbiton. Do you remember the resident DJ, Martin? I think that was his name. It was a legendary venue for all manner of substances. Later I bought an old tug with a mooring in Kingston adjacent to the bridge, next to the Rowbarge Pub. I lived on the tug with my girlfriend from 1975 to 1977 and drank in the Outrigger.
Loved reading Eel Pie Dharma - Happy Days.
- Andy Maslin - firstname.lastname@example.org - 9th March 2014
Hi. My name is Fraser and I too was a hairy, Kensington Market-velvet clad "freak" of a teenager that hung out with all these others in the fishbowl under the long suffering shepherding of Andy - at the Island, from Pink Fairies to Genesis and poor Peter Green - and the commune who more or less wound it up almost - tripped in the Terrace Gardens - the many rooms of the Eel Pie Hotel, each room a whole different "vibe" - and 28 Ellerker Gardens, a place that has surprisingly not been mentioned - had my ears permanently destroyed by the "loud" music at the Fishes - dodged "Skin'eads" late at night in Richmond - flung "whatsits" (made from the silver paper wrapping of cigarette packets) at the brownish yellow ceiling of the Cabbage Patch in Putney (they stuck there because of the mixture of the wrapper paper and spit jammed into the end) - Hilarious stoned fun, where you could buy quid deals out of a carrier bag from a character named "Cheese and Egg" - made frequent weekend treks to Hyde Park - Pink Floyd, The Stones concert (Wow, who would have expected that?), Blind Faith, More Pink Floyd, Atom Heart Mother with the whole choir, Echoes, Ummagumma etc, Parliament Hill Fields for the Fairies and Arthur Brown - Hitched to the The Bath festivals, narrowly avoiding arrest all the way, and the ultimate festival, Glastonbury Fayre, with its pit toilets and Pyramid, David Bowie, Melanie at dawn et al, and naked frolicking in the unusual sunshine after the rain of 1971! These were halcyon days and it felt as if we had something special that was going to change the world forever! I remember seeing the Floyd WITH Syd Barrett at the Crawdaddy, The Strawbs in the Crypt, as well as Third Ear Band, and John Martyn who also did a gig at Twickenham Tech.
I remember many people - Carolyn the skinny teenager from below; Elaine-my dear girlfriend; Bob,Sally and Mark Withers (Bob and I got snagged by those same fuzz in mid "hand-off", Bob having the presence of mind to run with the acid in his mouth down to the river while i was detained, and he escaped on a row boat!; Mick Cross; Maxine, Jane, Helena; Pete Dashwood; Pete Lafferty; Poor Seamus; Nobby; Saffron; Dave, Lozz, Darius and Laurie who experienced their first trip at our urging, during a house party in Whitton; 'Van' ; The Glynn Twins and Paul (Glynn); Stephan-The Polish count; Dominic; Freaky Pete; Neal Wright; and*......who else?
There were many other moments, but the short era that was then was vivid and formative. As decadent as it sounds forty years on, it is still a part of me now as much as it was then and my life has not been the same since. I wish everyone well that still has that "warm, fuzzy feeling" as they think back on L'Auberge and the entire Richmond, Twickenham, Kingston, Ealing, Putney, West London "scene" of the late sixties/early seventies and sport their "laugh Lines" and pot bellies, smug in the knowledge that they were THERE!
- Fraser - email@example.com - 27th November 2013
Hi. I have a lot of inside memories of those early of R & B bands and the clubs mentioned in the other comments. I shared a the flat at 102 Edith Grove with Mick Jagger, Brian Jones and Keith Richards. I was fortunate to go to all the Stones gigs with the band. I remember well the Ealing, original Crawdaddy and the later version - and of course the Stones gigs at Eel Pie Island - including humping the band gear over the bridge. Also recall walking back to Kew bridge with Eric Clapton one New Years Eve. I remember the night when Andrew Oldham came to Richmond to check out the Stones. Our usual scene after the gig was to go to L'Auberge for a late night meal, and that night the Stones were there with Andrew. Afterwards I stood on the corner chatting with the guys about whether the should sign with Andrew the next day - the rest you'll know...
I was around the clubs and Eel Pie before that, listening to some trad and doing the beatnik stuff including Greenham Common etc...before that. I remember some of the faces around and their nicknames. The Ealing club was also a big favourite of mine. Like Eel Pie there were so many - now famous musicians you could rub shoulders with at the bar.
I have a book "Phelge's Stones" which covers that period of the Stones early life and the inside stories relating to all the gigs at these clubs. I hope my descriptions and early memories offer some percentage of authenticity as to how it was. It's available from my website www.phelge.com which is devoted to the early Stones life at Edith Grove, and from my blog site www.jamesphelge.com.
- James Phelge - firstname.lastname@example.org - 5th November 2013
Stumbled across your website whilst googling jazz/blues/rock sites from the '60s and it really brought back fond memories for me. In 1965, I worked for the London City Agency as a (newbie) booker and got to know Art Chisnell gradually through booking one of his favourite bands: "The Artwoods" (featuring a very young Jon Lord on Hammond and Keef Hartley on drums) who played Eel Pie Island regularly. After gaining his trust somewhat, mainly by talking about the social welfare aspect of what he was doing, I persuaded him to let me take over the booking of all the bands for him, thus taking some of the pressure off him. This wasn't all that unusual in those days, but it meant that every booking was negotiated by me (as sole-booker) earning LCA a 5% 'split', or shared, commission on every gig, but it obviously wasn't very popular with the other agencies, who had hitherto booked their bands directly with Art. He decided to give me a chance, as it it relieved him of having to deal with endless phone calls from the other bookers trying to persuade him to give their newest band a date. I felt very honoured that Art entrusted me with this important role - also it was a feather in my cap at the agency, especially as I had only been a booker for a very short time. Futhermore, it raised my profile around the other agencies, which was another big plus. All went well until September '66, when I left London City to join the Gunnell Agency and LCA insisted that, as the sole-booking arrangement had been negotiated while I was in their employ, it stayed with them.
Many years later, I had the pleasure of attending Art's 80th birthday shindig at The Winning Post pub on the Chertsey Road, not far from his home in Strawberry Hill. There I bumped into Harold and Barbara Pendleton (of Marquee and Reading Festival fame), who I hadn't seen for many years... and Art Woods, ditto. By that time, Arthur was nearly blind, but still remembered me and was his usual friendly and amiable self. It was really nice to see him again, especially as he wasn't to be with us very much longer. Cherished memories indeed.
- Colin Richardson - Colin Richardson's blog - 5th September 2013 (edited and bumped)
Hi, I spent much of my time in the places mentioned here. I went to school in Sheen in 1969 and then lived in Richmond until the early 80's. I went in L'Aubege on Richmond bridge a lot when I was at college. Great tea, great scrambled eggs by Andy who ran it. The juke box still haunts me to this day. Motorbike Dick, Eddie, Layla, Anne. The pub, Red Lion? On Richmond Bridge, The Tudor Close where Chopsy and Julian were the worlds most outrageous part time barmen! Eel Pie island thruppence, to cross. I'm sure I saw Pink Fairies there. Oh yes, Caves supermarket, with Rod the beard. What a great time.
- Kevin - email@example.com - 26th August 2013
Yes, they were great days. I was at Kingston Art School, ended up here in Cornwall. Does anyone remember the Aldermaston marches? Enormous blisters on our feet. We also went to "The 2 I's" and other Mod Clubs. What about motor cycling to the caves at Hastings? L'Auberge cheesecake was fantastic, one sliced shared of course. Henekey's Cider and the ferry rocking like mad! Blessings.
- Caroline Barnett (was Illsley, was Frank) - firstname.lastname@example.org - 23rd August 2013
Where are you Jane Owen of Richmond,1968?? Been looking for you for 30 years!! School, Bob Dylan at IOW, L'Auberge, Eel Pie.........
- Cherrie Harvey - email@example.com - 20th November 2009 (bumped)
I know they said that if you remembered the 60's you weren't there but, if you were and you can, then I want to hear those memories - especially if they are applicable to Richmond's rock 'n' roll heritage. I am an MA student in Public History at Royal Holloway, University of London and I am looking for people who experienced Richmond's rock heritage during the 60's and early 70's. I would like to hear your memories of the period, and it is my intention to create an audio guide describing the area's rich musical past. This is purely an academic exercise for my dissertation and there will no commercial gain.
- Chris Couch - firstname.lastname@example.org - 30th June 2013
[RE: Anyone remember John/ Johnny Vanstone from Hounslow?]
Johnny Vanstone was my very best mate at Smallberry Green Secondary Modern School, and I knew all the family quite well. We spent a lot of time together, and visited Eel Pie regularly, along with other local haunts (L'Auberge, Osterley Jazz Club, etc) as we got older. Sadly, he got into the drugs scene, had broken relationships, and suffered in many ways. He eventually took his own life.
- Bev Davey - email@example.com - 9th May 2013
The Hanging Lamp Folk Club took place in St Elizabeth's Crypt, St Elizabeth's Church, The Vineyard, just off Richmond Hill, London. As far as I can see they were Monday evening gigs. I'm interested in any John Martyn related photos, memorabilia or memories from this period. If anyone has any photos of the club from the late 60s or early 70s that they feel able to share I would be very grateful.
John Hillarby - firstname.lastname@example.org - 9th May 2013
Can anyone remember when The Deltones backed Memphis Slim on Eel Pie? info needed for http://www.forgottenbands.blogspot.com, a great site dedicated to "Obscure Bands Of The 50's & 60's".
- Weed - email@example.com - 4th December 2011 (bumped)
Arthur Chisnell was my husband Geoff Burrows' father figure in the 60's. He lived in his home (Waldergrave Gardens) and Eel pie Island was his stamping ground. Geoff has many fond memories of Arthur and the Island, especially the music. He saw Long John Baldry, Brian Auger, the Stones, Cyril Davies, Steampacket and more!! One favourite memory was when the American Blues guys came to town. He saw Howling Wolf and others play on the island. They did a concert at Hammersmith Odeon; Brownie McGee, Sonny Terry, Howling Wolf, Otis Span and more backstage after the concert. Geoff and friends asked them to Gabby Soloman's Home (Geoff's friend) for a jam and to share a crate of whisky. They were not reluctant! These were Geoff's hero's! Gabby's Dad (Pop Soli) arrived home and joined in the jam with his tuba! Geoff also had Rod Stewart play at his 18th Birthday party in 62, before Rod was famous and was called Rod the Mod.
[RE: Anyone remember John/ Johnny Vanstone from Hounslow?]
Someone on your site asked if anyone remembered Johnny Vanstone, a brilliant guitarist. He was a good friend of Geoff's. Geoff remembers Eric Clapton, again before he was famous, playing guitar in L'Auberge and Johnny was so impressed he locked himself away for weeks, then emerged playing brilliantly himself - a real natural. Sadly, Johnny died some years ago.
- Eve Burrows - 17th January 2013
Used to go to eelpie in the early 1960s. Am looking for a Dave Hamlin or a Camberley Rob. Its a long shot but you never know, someone may know. Have bookmarked your site to relive and relook at the pics again. I actually married someone from eelpie in the 60's and am still married to him. Must be a record for those days. Anyway great site. Thanks. Cut a rug...
- Brenda, Nova Scotia, Canada - firstname.lastname@example.org - 30th May 2001 (bumped)
Howya - My name's Sean Gallagher now although way back then I was known as Johnny Wyatt. I was born in the Grove Road hospital during the last couple of years of the second world war. I remember Eel Pie Island and L'Auberge vividly. Also The Madingly Club where we went to on most Sunday evenings for the jazz (and the chicken in a basket). In those summer Saturdays, I played cricket for the Richmond Nomads on Richmond Green, using The Princes Head pub as our changing room; and on Sunday afternoons we played against other Richmond Pub teams on Old Deer Park; with whichever one had been designated the 'home' team providing the after match refreshments and early 'opening time' for alcohol.
- Sean Gallagher - 28th September 2012
Well, I just found this Eel Pie site... And, did it evoke memories of my misspent years and a late teenage nostalgia...? Damn Effin right it did...! So I'm "Scotch Dougie", who found myself there via Marc Newton [aka Caldwell Smythe], and I lived in the dancehall for maybe a year or so, where I was responsible for amongst other things: coining the name "Captain Barefoot's Rock Garden" to describe Newton's weekend live band nites; running the pie & beans & booze cafe (very badly, I was more into the crumpet); sweeping up the debris after each weekend session (atrociously, often I was too stoned to do it till the following Friday)
I remember Chris Faiers, who'd refer to me as "Scotch revolutionary Dougie", as, altho I was a bombed out hippie like the others there, I'd political pretensions of the Abbie Hoffman/Jerry Rubin type that proclaimed the Revolution is just around the corner, and we here are all its advance guard, so, enough of all this effin Hippy-Dippy shit.... the future is YIPPY.... so let's all drop some fuckin acid and discuss it....!
I also recall... those Gurlzzzz of L'Auberge.... and, the scores of young English Roses from local Thames-side suburbia, who'd arrive each Friday & Saturday nights with ants in their pants & take me to bed eyes, so much so, I thought I was Henry Miller, and this here was the Tropic of Twickenham...! you can announce that another Eel Pie Island teenage degenerate has just now surfaced...! BOOM SHAKA LAKA LAKA...!
- Doogi O'Brien - 4th September 2012
I was there 1960-1961 and actually met Acker Bilk - he was quite funny. I really miss the place. I left for the usa in 1961 and 3 of the other lads we hung out with went to australia. We were there every weekend and then off to L'auberge - we would miss the last bus and have to walk back to Twickenham - those were the days.
- Patricia Short - 3rd August 2012
[RE: Anyone remember John/ Johnny Vanstone from Hounslow?]
I remember Johnny. Met him when I was 15/16 in 1961/2. He made a real impression on me and I decided to be a "beat" and I still am. He was a friend of my mate Kevin H when I was sneaking in to the "Island" to see Ken Colyer and all! Johnny had the first hash I ever saw. I heard he showed Donovan some moves on guitar at a party in Whitton, and took some time over it. He was older than me so we didn't mix.
They were good times in retrospect. At the Island I learned: to kiss a girl, drink beer, stomp, I first heard the "Harlot Of Jerusalem" and "The Ballad of Dead Eyed Dick and Mexico Pete", both scurrilous poems, saw Ken Colyer play "Maryland My Maryland" aka "The Red Flag" and bought the record at the shop up the hill from L'Auberge. I bought it again just recently on a Crane River Band compilation. Lovely. I had a brick from the hotel a couple of days after it went and used it with a candle stick as a little shrine. I believed it was from the graffiti "You Lucky Bo's!", white on blue. I later transfered my heart to the Osterley Jazz Club and wore the badge proudly. They provided a bus from the Bell, Hounslow, to the Rugby ground. When I went on CND marches I was always behind the band! The jazz never leaves your soul. I guess that's what EPI gave me.
- Frank - 29th July 2012
Anyone remember John/ Johnny Vanstone from Hounslow? He played guitar, and mentored Mac MacLeod (according to Donovan). Any information would be great!
- Matt - 27th March 2012
63/64/65 - I had a great time on the Island Wednesdays/Sundays, Fridays being the original Ricky Tick night, behind the Street and Garter pub in Peasecod Street Windsor. Down the ally and up the stairs, The Stones played here a few times, and into the bar. Too crowded upstairs. The ally still exists but the pub went years ago. There should be a plaque on the wall.
Wednesday pay my 4d for the bridge across onto the Island then 2/6p to get into the club, have a Gibbs blue sky beer; bet not many people remember that, or a bottle of Newkie brown. Always the best bands Cyril Davis and Alexis Korner. The best. Dick Hexal-Smith on sax etc. I remember the day Cyril died and it was announced at the hotel, a very sad night.
I worked in L'Auberge on Sunday afternoons 18/6p for the afternoon clearing tables and washing up. Straight on the bus to Twickers over the bridge. If lucky the band for the evening gig were turning up and I would give Arthur a hand with the bands gear, get a lift in his Mini van, out of the van and into the hotel, thus saving a hard earned 2/6p.
I played the blues harmonica back then much after Cyril's influence. Played with Long John in an interval, him on the guitar, me on the harp. Lots of memories about lots of people. I still have my membership card in my loft at home. Very special days with many very special people.
- Steve Tuppen - email@example.com - 27th March 2012
I sat on that L'Auberge wall a million times but only went to Eel Pie Island once, in a dark brown Dormobile, I'm pretty sure 1967, to see Long John Baldry and a great band with a skinny trumpet player in a red cavalry jacket with brass buttons, so shy he hardly ever turned round to face the audience. Bloke called Rod Stewart. Anyone remember him?
- Adrian Mealing - UK Touring - 22 February 2012
Or Lobbage as we used to say; happy days indeed. I discovered it in 73/74 I think (in 73 I was 13), and by 75 I would bunk off school and there'd almost always be someone in there, usually in the fish tank. Immediate recollection is hearing 'Cross Town Traffic' for the very first time - totally amazing! When it closed it was one of the very few times I've actually cried, so sad; still what memories! Be good to see some more photo's if anyone has them.
- Richard Nolan - 29 July 2010 (bumped)
I was discussing with a pal of over 60 years about EPI a couple of days ago - reading your web page bought back some happy memories - I go back before I was 20 - Saturday night at the Island was jazz night - Sundays was different, normally Diz Dizley - yes, there was a ferry, but later there was a bridge - the old lady who took the money was Annie - she wore a pair of mittens I remember - Arthur, at the top of the stairs with his rubber stamp , a slap on the hand and there was the pass out - we used to go down the stairs to the bar on the right and head for the left hand corner - the floor used to rise and fall depending on how many people were doing a strange dance - the bands... well my favourite was Dick Charlesworth, recently deceased - strangely enough several years ago he was playing in the open air at a town's open day - I was walking past and saw him - we had a long chat at the pub opposite - he was the nicest person you could ever meet - he came back the next year and we chewed the fat again - Micky Ashman was another favourite of mine - Ken Colyer, what can you say! - I kept my blue membership card till recently - a shame, it's now gone forever - anyone remember The San Jacinto Jazz Band? they used to play at Hanworth - the Ealing Jazz Club was another haunt - we used to meet at a pub opposite Twickenham Railway Station - can't remember the name, it was down some stairs, and cider was the rage - I recently was asked to write an article on EPI for Time Out (never did get a copy)
- The Moaner - 12 June 2008 (bumped)
Is there anyone out there who went to Eel Pie Island circa 1963/64, and remembers Cyril Davies, Alexis Korner et al? Whatever happened to "Dutch" Mills? Kay Green, where are you?
- Anna Farlow, London, UK - firstname.lastname@example.org - 29 April 2001 / 28 August 2010 (bumped)
I used to go to this fabulous place in the early 60's with my best friend "podge". We were around 14 when we joined and I put my name down as "Tommy Roe" after that great singer at the time (remember his hit "Sheila"?). The bar in the dance hall was enormous and the lighting was always low when the trad jazz bands were on, and they were ALL fantastic. I also remember the floor covered with "beatniks" who just laid on the floor; I don't know what they were doing!!! Had many great nights there all those years ago. Also remember Brian Jones jumping down and thumping somebody! Ah, what fantastic memories of a fantastic place.
- Ron Barber, Hounslow, Mddx - email@example.com - 28 February 2008 (bumped)
What memories this website conjures up.
In the mid fifties I used to go to Eel Pie Island any time that Sandy Brown's Jazzmen were on. In the minds of myself and friends they were by far the best of the British jazz bands of the time. At the time none of us had heard of any of the blues and rock bands who came later.
We first discovered the Island soon after the bridge was built. The story going round was that one night the ferry had been hijacked by a group of teddy boys and set adrift leaving hundreds stranded for hours. That incident was supposed to have been the reason for the island residents to club together to erect a bridge.
The club was every bit as exciting as the West End clubs such as Cy Laurie's, the 100 Club, etc. and, as I lived in Sutton and worked at Hawker Aircraft in Kingston it was quite convenient. Our group was fully into the art school way of dressing, skip jiving and all that scene. There is a film clip on You Tube which gives a bit of an insight into the atmosphere at the Island in those days, even though it was really a completely non-authentic 1960s film setup, here is the link anyway: Eel Pie Island 60s
Anybody know what became of Peter Elson, last heard of on the Grand Union Canal about 1963?
- Peter Crosse - 25 August 2011
As a youngster (around 15 in 1958) I used to go to Eel Pie Island every other Saturday. (The other venue was London University - Senate House in Gower Street, which had hops on Saturday nights.) We either got there by a small boat service or across the little bridge where an old lady jumped out of the bushes and charged us 6d for the user of the bridge. At that time it was one of the very few venues where one could skip-jive. The bar was renowned for having over 65 different brands of whiskey on its shelves. We generally went when Dick Charlesworth or Acker Bilk were playing. Sometimes there was mainstream jazz from Humphrey Lyttleton. It was there I first heard his Bad Penny Blues (great for jiving!). Another band that played there was Wally Foulkes who I got to know well on a personal basis. He played Eel Pie and The Washington pub in England's Lane, Hampstead which was round the corner from where I lived. Alexis Korner... now he was a real character. The smoothest operator in the business. Girls used to flock around him. I also saw him in the Café Des Artistes which was a basement dive at the end of Fulham Road.
Your website has brought back many wonderful memories of my youth and I thank you for letting me in!
- Jaime Gamell - 31 May 2011
Thanks for the memory trip of L'auberge in the '60s when revolutions were plotted in the fishbowl, and dozens of us were being slowly poisoned by Andy's frothy coffee. I recognise "manic" Mike in one of your pix - very artistic, histrionic and hysterically vain. When he wasn't neatly suited and booted, obscenely stroking his goatee, he was showing off his barrel-like torso in all weathers. He tended to lay off having too much weed lest it sparked his uncontrollably violent epileptic fits.
Anyone remember when a hempy hood broke one of Andy's legs so that he had to gamely hop between pot and skillet when making spaghetti and burgers? And when the hoods caught up with him again he fought back with his crutches then, screaming, took off at a speed up Richmond Hill that no mortal wearing a pot could ever better. They were pretentious and passionate days that swirled around me in my youth, full of sadness and gladness and badness. They'll never return.
- Ronnie Godfrey - 13 May 2011
I'm currently doing some work on early Stones gigs and wondered if anyone can help with answers to the following? How much was it to get in to the Crawdaddy in 1963? I think they played 2 sets - but how long were the sets? What time were the shows? All help very gratefully received.
- Martin Cloonan, University of Glasgow - firstname.lastname@example.org - 16 March 2011
Eel Pie Island in the mid-late 50s - I hope these little memories will be of use.
- John C Snelling (now almost 73) - 30 March 2011
I'm a playwright and screenwriter who lives on Eel Pie island and am currently developing a stage play about Eel Pie's Free Commune at the cusp end of 1969/70 - finally ending with the fire. I'd be grateful for any personal stories I can find inspiration from, particularly those of folks who first came to the island as youngsters in search of something new - an alternative life, or simply just escaping their parents and home life. All correspondence will be confidential and I will not use any material without the poster's permission.
- Richard Bevan - email@example.com - 13 March 2011
Hope you might find my contributions interesting; my memories go back long before many of your other contributers. I have attached two separate items: one on Eel Pie Island 1948 to 1955 and one on the local Richmond and Twickenham Jazz and Folk Scene.
- Roy Buckley - firstname.lastname@example.org - 25 February 2011
New Year's Day and a day of looking back over the years when i found this!
I was a regular at L'Auberge for many years (Andy's spag bol to die for - when we could afford it!), Eel Pie Island, Grosvenor Road and then later on the Three Fishes in Kingston. I lived in Kingston and then the commune at Park Hill in Richmond. The familiar names i have just read on this site ... where do i start? Debbie - Isabella i lived round the corner from you in Kings Road, Kingston. I also spent days in the "Fish Tank" with Eddie, Bristol Alan, Pete Dashwood, Pete Lafferty, Rob the Hat, another Rob (lived up Richmond Hill), Canadian Chris, Canadian Pete, Twig, Bernie (Porsche), Seamus, Nobby, Saffron, Ivan, Jane and Maxine, another Alan...... Enjoyed many lovely afternoons down at the terraced gardens and remember well seeing the Strawbs, Mott the Hoople, Third Ear Band and many others.. at the island. What wonderful carefree days they were!
Would love to hear from anyone who remembers me.
- Helena Mallett - email@example.com - 1 January 2011
I am producing a documentary about Eel Pie Island and the R&B scene in the UK in the mid-sixties. I am desperately seeking any footage (film or photographs) anyone might have of people, performances, or of the hotel itself. If anyone can help it would be most appreciated!
- Shelley Tassin - firstname.lastname@example.org - 1 December 2010
I was searching on the web and suddenly I thought of L'Auberge and Eel Pie - I can only remember going there once to hear the Third Ear Band - I know I went again or before, but it's all a little hazy, as it was then! Rob the Hat, Gypsy Eddy, Crippled Eddy (who we took to see Derek and the Dominos at Dagenham), Charlie and Maureen - Harry who played chess, that boat the China Tea Steam Navigation Company or something, and John Newsham and John Payne - not forgetting those two police who were always searching and stopping us - was it Dudley and Ken Wood? ........then Andrew who lived across the bridge..... what memories. We were so so lucky we were young then - so lucky, I went under the name Star at the time - I was an awkward and lost 15 - 17 year old - oh happy days!
- Julia Burley - email@example.com - 13 November 2010
I'm a local Twickenham resident and filmmaker. I've been wanting to make a film about Eel Pie Island for a while and would love to find out if anyone has any old super8 / home movie footage of Eel Pie?
- Octavia - firstname.lastname@example.org - 7 July 2010
Although I lived in Hounslow, I spent a lot of my youth in the Richmond area. I used to love sitting in the goldfish bowl at l'Auberge with my friends in the days when coffee bars were so popular. And Eel Pie Island - what a place!! My first recollection of going in to the jazz club in the hotel was of having my wrist stamped at the door, entering in to the fantastic atmosphere, "feeling" the music - and looking up the stairs leading to the bar where there was a long-haired hippy illuminated by a green light. Later we learned that if one of our group paid to go in he could come out again and press his wrist, with the wet ink stamp on it, on to ours - so we could all get in for the price of one. But no way could we get past the old lady at the turnstile on the bridge without paying - she was formidable!
- Bev Davey - email@example.com - 3 June 2010
Hi all, My dad Geoff Burrows was very close to Arthur Chisnall and lived with him for a while. He spent a lot of time on the island and told me recently that there was a film made about Eel Pie Island in 1967 that he was in. I have found out that it was called Who Needs Eel Pie? and was made as part of the Look At Life series. Does anyone know if I can get hold of a copy of this film, or even if it exists? Would love to see it and am sure my dad would too.
Many thanks in advance,
- Ella Burrows - firstname.lastname@example.org - 11 April 2010
Hi. I just came across your site. They were wild days. I used to come from Wimbledon, get totally wasted on newcastle brown ale and dodgy cigerettes then get the train back. A couple of funny things I remember was standing in the bar and Rod Stewart and Long John Bawldry were having a terrible tiff, and on my 18th birthday I was refused a drink at the bar which was strange as I had been drinking there for ages. We planned a road trip to India from there and amazingly got there. We were spoilt for music - there was somewhere to go almost every night: Ricky Tick Windsor, Jazz Cellar Kingston, and the Folk Barge and that's just a few. Brilliant times - if anybody remembers me, feel free to get in touch.
- Norman - email@example.com - 31 March 2010
My name is Carolyn - back then a tall skinny teenager. After school I would get out of the uniform and head up to L'Auberge. Tracy, Jackie, Nina, Elaine, Cripple Eddie, Rob the Hat, Nobby, Seamus, Dominic, Frazer, Scratch and the Irish guys - all sitting in the "fish tank" watching people pass, while drinking lemon tea. I wonder where Andy, and his lovely little dark haired daughter ended up. Eel Pie - tripping over the bridge with my toll (scary woman in the little hut) to listen to amazing music in the ballroom. I remember Dominic from the Barmy Arms - we wore out the 45 of Canned Heat 'On the Road Again'. Music brings so many memories, really LOUD music regularly at the Three Fishes. Memories: Hanging with Seamus in the squat in Richmond overlooking the river. A prequel to Grosvenor Road. Listening to Pink Floyd and Tubular Bells in the garden at Grosvenor Road on a sunny day. Found myself in a photo with Seamus posted on the Grosvenor Road site. Does anyone remember the squat in Putney, Nobby, Nina, Rob, Irish Mike and names I forget. I have pictures I would be happy to share.
- Carolyn - firstname.lastname@example.org - 30 March 2010
I used to visit Eel Pie Island about 1956/7 with my friends from Richmond County Girls school, Joyce Rogers and Mary Pasque, and saw Ken Colyer, Cy Laurie, Bill Brunskill etc. We also used to frequent L'Auberge on a regular basis. I now live in Twickenham and my brother (coincidentally) lives in Aquarius, where the hotel used to be. I would love to hear from anyone from those days. Joyce and Mary went to live in America and we lost touch unfortunately.
- Lucille Cole - LucilleCole@talktalk.net - 7 March 2010
Just a note to say that I found your website on Eel Pie Island by accident and have spent many nights reliving the old nostalgia of the island. I was one of the barmen that would serve the club members in the Ballroom bar and I worked for Jack Marr, the publican, for many years in the early sixties as I was also doing my apprenticeship at the shipyard next door. Some of the "old members" say they went there for the Newcastle Brown Ale, they also got through a hell of a lot of "scrumpy cider" during the night, and if anyone remembers that stuff, it would 'rot the socks of you', but it was a cheap way of getting sozzled.
Also on one of the blogs someone said that they would try and settle down for the night in the bushes after the club closed, I was the one that used to go and chase them off as my last job of the night.
I remember one night I was collecting beer glasses on the dance floor when I came across one of the 'boffer boys', with a beer glass in his hand, trying to pick a fight with one of "my locals", so I took the glass from his hand and he started to threated me, the next thing a voice behind me said "Everything all right James?" I turned and said "yes, this guy is just leaving" and immediately about ten of my "locals" picked the guy up, took him through the emergency exit head first, across the front lawn and deposited into the Thames, Ahh they were great days.
I also remember Arthur, a great guy to know in those days, and many of the bands would stay till the early hours of the morning drinking in the upstairs bar.
One day I would like to come back for a visit and see Eel Pie as it holds many fond memories of my young days in both work and play. I think that the island was instrumental partly in my future as I was a road manager for a pop group and went on UK tour with Chuck Berry, Long John Baldry, Moody Blues, Graham Bond and others, then I married and settled down to family life.
Thanks for bringing back fond memories of a great bunch of guys, girls and bands.
- James Johnston - email@example.com - 7 March 2010
I was there at the end of it all. 1970s - I sort of knew Seamus and some of the rest of the gang... I recall the Hotel, the last of the rock music, I recall The Farm - oddly I never figured out what it was. Ummm I was into classic motorcycles - but not into Hells Angels or anything like that - I had a 1950ish motorcycle that I renovated. I used date a girl called Carol who was an artist and she went to the Farm and later off to India - or so I was told by some of the gang - and never heard of again. I often wondered about what happened to her. Lovely memories of the sweetness and gentle nature of the folks on the Island, and yes I did and still do love the music ...but not the drugs. All the best. 1970-73 Richmond L'Auberge and Eel Pie Island.
- Mickey - firstname.lastname@example.org - 31 December 2009
Can't believe the flashbacks!! Just found your site when I went looking for The Three Fishes on the net, don't ask why. Then got hit by the the flashbacks of Eel Pie Island, L'Auberge, yes you could get stoned on a good day down wind. Then the grave digging!!! Did you know Pip? When the Fishes got regularly raided we made it a pastime of getting searched, chucked out of one door, then back in the other. Always seemed to take the police about fifteen minutes to clock what was happening. You must have been very persistent to get nicked, or they were having a slow night. That got me thinking about The Station Hotel/Bull and Bush. Then Dave Cousins/Strawbs at White Bear? in Hounslow, John Entwistle walking his dog in gunnersbury park, Marshall's shop in Ealing Broadway. Clear Blue Sky / John Simms and the Roger Dean artwork, Hawkwind at Hammersmith MARKET! Ginger Baker's studio in Acton. Need to lie down in dark room now.
- Chris S - 14 June 2008
My claim to fame is:--- my picture was on the front page of The News of The World! The paper was doing a feature on The Island, I was semi-recumbent on some raised area when the photographer took my photo. He asked if it would be alright to publish it and I said it would. I thought it would be inside, not on the front page, for everyone, God and my Mum to see! I didn't think I'd ever hear the end of that one. A little later (9th. September 1961) we emigrated and I've been here in the States ever since. Ah, fond memories last a lifetime. It would be nice to hear from some Richmond people that remember me, in particular Mary Sear, Kevin Cronin, Clive M. Bleauchamp (or is it Beauchamp), Matthew (Ted) Young or Christine Henson.
- Ann Thomas O'Donnell (Dozey) (Canton, Illinois) - 15 March 2008 - contact via email@example.com
I would like to know if any of the original founder members of the Eel Pie Jazz Club are still around so that I might re-establish contact after all these years.
- John Winstone - firstname.lastname@example.org - February 2007 - more info & pics
A visitor from '63 on Friday for the Jazz, I recall Long John and found the Goon illustrations on the walls the most enduring memory. Does anyone have a copy of these? I still have somewhere Rolling Stones 2/6 Wednesdays ticket. Charlie Watts now my neighbour in Devon but circumstances have separated us so can't ask the question. Auberge OK but the Vinyard pub better.
Doug - 20 January 2008
Felix & Loretta - We came to the Eel Pie Island Hotel in September 1969. At that moment in time we badly needed a place to live in with our kids Filip & Ama. We heard about Eel Pie from a friend in Kensington Market (Peter Crisp) - there were 2 guys at the hotel acting as caretakers (Cliff and Simon) and they were welcoming to everyone - when we got there that day all the rooms were empty still - except for maybe one which we heard was for a girl Annie & her baby, but Annie wasn't there that day so we didn't get to meet them yet. It was so beautiful, a venerable, classy, old hotel which even had a ballroom with a rock & roll history, a dreamy setting on the river, swans, ducks - we couldn't believe it was real. We picked a room and moved in immediately. Within a week all the rooms were occupied - the hotel was full of people - all so different yet all with so many ideas in common. It was fantastic! We lived there till December 1969 and the infamous bust. After we won the court case to get the custody of our own children back we decided we didn't want to live under the ever-watchful eye of "the man" any longer and in January 1970 we moved to the island of Formentera in the Balearic Islands. A lot happened in the following years. We had 2 more kids, Aia and Ajja. We hadn't even been to India yet at that point. Felix died in 2002. RAM RAM. I am working on a book about our life and our family and I am collecting photos, stories and any material to add to our own archives from anyone who met us over the years and who has the time and inclination to send it to me. I'd be happy and grateful; at 62 my memory bank is so full that it's difficult to retrieve everything, so jogging it by others who remember helps.
LOVE 'N' PEACE & VIVA LA VIDA!
Loretta, November 15, 2007, email - email@example.com - Loretta & Ama, October 1969
Hello, thought you'd like to hear that Eel Pie was in full swing nearly 60 years ago!!! I used to live by Heathrow Airport, bus to Hounslow station, bus to Richmond and away i went wearing my next door neighbours huge painting jumper and no shoes. I was about 15 and wandered off everywhere on my own.
My first memories are crossing the river in a punt, many used to fall into the river even before they'd started on the scrumpy from the wood....Later came a little rickety bridge, which spoilt it all a bit, and we used to give Min sixpence for going over it, (she was a little lady and the Goons were in full swing at the time, everybody was called Min) ha ha, those were definately the fun days.
A big thankyou to Arthur for looking after me, i was quite unaware of his protection, but did wonder why i always seemed to be surrounded and not chatted up by the fellas.
I lived and breathed trad jazz and would go home with very sore dirty feet from jiving to Monty Sunshines music and lots of others just starting out. I first came into contact with this fantastic music at the Crane River Jazz Club in Cranford and a tall lad called Paul taught me how to jive. I later taught my older brother and we would go to Eel Pie together, skip jiving our feet off!!!
I did go into L'Auberge, but they were all a bit older than me and as i didn't go to any art school, tho had passed for Twickenham Art, never became properly amongst them sadly. AAAAAhhhhhh.
One evening i turned up with half of Uxbridge and in turn they all showed my membership card to Arthur, who quickly realised what was happening and called for me. Sadly he took my card off me, but he was so kind and let them come in and savour Gaynor's music for the one time!!!!
I did have a boyfriend from there for a short time, he was blonde, had the compulsory small beard, wore a black duffle coat and drove a motor-bike with a side-car.....happy days.
Hope you enjoyed reading about my happy memories of Eel Pie, the loveliest and most wonderful place on earth.
Every year we have a Trad week and Monty Sunshine came over and played in the streets with the Dutch jazz bands, I was thrilled to chat to him about the 'old days', even about the jazz boat from London to Margate, with himself, Acker Bilk, Terry Lightfoot and Chris Barber, my old man and i are on the cover of one of the brochures, tho very small!!!!!!!!!!
- Gaynor Gadd (Young) - Mallorca - 9 October 2007
This site is like a blast from the past. I am now 52 but L'auberge was my stamping ground from around 1970-74. I was only 15 but got stoned regularly at L'auberge at the weekends and met up with people like little chris, dot, mike and lillian. I also married a guy called francis martinez who was Spanish and escaped the military call up - I still think that's why he married me!! We used to go down to Eel Pie Island just to hang around with the people there, who were the salt of the earth and always made me feel welcome, as young as I was. Francis frequented Eel Pie more than I did.
I was reading Eel Pie Dharma when u mentioned Dominic - and I nearly fell off my chair! I remember him well not that he'd remember me - I was just a girl of 15 but I held him in awe. I remember him coming to L'auberge where I met my husband (we later parted). I would love for anyone to be able to tell me where he is. Dominic knew him too. Do you remember Eddy of L'auberge He was like the king he used to sit in the front seat - he was disabled and had 2 crutches. So many characters, truly the best times of my life. Probably every mother's nightmare!!
There are so many people I remember, Scratch being one of them. Francis, Steve, myself and a few others got busted just after scoring a whole lot of grass. I was only 16 at the time. I also remember the policeman called Dudley, who was always stopping us and searching Francis. I remember he searched us when I had just dropped a tab of acid and he made us get into the car and kept us there for a while - meantime I was coming up on it. Quite a bad experience. He let us go but I kept seeing police cars everywhere after that!! Ruined my trip!! No doubt as I keep reading there will be other folk I recognize. Just had to write to you as it brought all the memories of my mispent(?) youth flooding back. It was as I always said the best times of my life when I was young.
- Mandy - Jim@jblades9.wanadoo.co.uk - 27 September 2007
Yes, memories. This site was brought to my notice by a friend. I played Eel Pie many times in the 60's. A great venue with a tremendous atmosphere. My band was called: Brian Green & His New Orleans Stompers. The line-up at that time was: Alan Snook (trmpt), Alex Revell (clnt), Gordon Blundy (tmbn), Tom Culbert (pno), Charlie Morrish (bnjo), Pete Barton (bass) and myself on drums.
[Hello Mary. I can be contacted on: firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Best wishes to all.
- Brian Green - 18 September 2007 - more info & pics
I have just come across your site - almost spaced me out at the memories - I used to go there on weds 1964/5 - caught the train from Wimbledon - used to get faceless on Newcastle Brown and get very stoned hence the memory is a little vague but I do remember my Eighteen birthday there because they would not serve me which was odd as I had been drinking there for ages. This is the place we planned our first road trip to Sweeden, me, Pete and Beverly - strange but we ended up in India - that's another story - only name I can remember is Pip - we also used to go to the church wall in Kingston, the fighting cocks, the ricky tick - wicked times - love to hear from anyone who remembers me - it was an era
- Norman - email@example.com - 17 August 2007
I'm currently doing research into the Ealing Blues Club (AKA The G Club, Ealing Jazz Club, The Moist Hoist), as run by Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies. I'm really in need of stories, memories, anecdotes, dates, pictures - anything anyone might have to help me recreate the scene as vividly as possible. The club was operational between 1962 and 1963, but if the stories I've heard are anything to go by, the memories must be fairly bright even now. I hope to hear from anyone out there ASAP. They can contact me on this address - firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jon Wilks - 7 August 2007
When I first used to go to Eel Pie Island we'd swim across thus saving the "ferry" money, with one of us taking all the clothes (and sometimes giving' em back). Those days, in the 50's, there were gas lights and luv an' all sorts o' things. I once, later on, sang with "Belly a Beer" Champion Jack Dupree! Ho Hum, well spent youth - am still singing but live now in South of France. Smashin' hello to anyone who remembers me.
- Ray the Beatnik (Everitt) - email@example.com - 30 July 2007
Hi, I wonder if any of you guys went down to St Ives in the late 60's? Whatever happened to Dick the artist, Freaky Mike , Ed The Gypsy, Pedro, Blue Plastic and a whole bunch of the Richmond-Cornwall travellers. Man those were some days.
- Tony - 29 March 2007
Anybody remember Brian Green and his New Orleans Jazz Band? He started it at the beginning of the 1960's and I remember going to the Island in about 1963-4. I have been looking at your web-site about the Island. I have been trying to find out what happened to him. I believe he still plays. I last heard that he played at the Millennium Dome sometime over the millennium period. He did have an excellent web-site but unfortunately I cannot get into it now and can't get in touch with him. We were good friends, but lost touch years ago. Can anybody help?
- Mary - 15 February 2007 - see message from Brian Green + link to pics above
Eel Pie was special, and we were blessed - where else was/is there like that? at 16-17 years old, in 1966-67; driving from Wembley [!] on an aged, untrendy LD150 [dangerous fat tyres]. you knew this was the Moment, and yet you didn't know - took it for granted. Wore edwardian double-breasted suits from jumble sales, home-dyed collarless shirts with smart white detachable collars [2 years later you could buy them in Carnaby St]. Hung out with my schoolmates and sartorial competitors from Latymer Upper, kids from Holland Park comprehensive, the Lycee [incredible girls there] - pre-hippy and post-beat. Saw long john's group, graham bond etc but by then too late for the stones - they'd already moved on...
I can't remember if they let you buy beer at Eel Pie at 16, but it's quite likely, dope was still a novelty, and expensive for schoolboys. but the all saints road in notting hill was the scoring epicentre...
Also - the royal college of art - had the most incredible Friday dances... multiple bands on multiple floors I dimly recollect. i liked the obscure-ish bands - downliners sect, the [english] birds, geno washington and the ram jam band, later the incredible string band...
On saturday night, the phone network generated parties across west london - chelsea to ealing to hampstead ... gatecrashing was not a problem! after that... up west maybe.. to peek through the doors of the Flamingo, the Marquee, the hookers on Compton Street. Does anyone remember the original, News-of-the-world-notorious La Discotheque? On Wardour Street i think - mattresses in dark grubby corners....
then one summer in st ives sleeping rough and unpleasantly, then another summer overland to the katmandu ...kabul the stopover of choice [both places tricky now]
I think moving sharpens the nostalgia! is that bad? i went on to toronto in the mid 70's [living on the Island there, and partying], then Manhattan in the 80's; for the 90's and now in heavenly Marin County, nr sfo.. where we still go to bimbo's club in the city.. a tiny venue perfect for exploratory visits by snow patrol, groove armada, keane etc...see you there maybe.....
- Dave Kendall - 31 January 2007
Hi, I'm researching materials for a social history of LSD in Britain (due out 2008). I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who was involved in the British acid scene, at any level from dealing to using. I'm especially interested in how the acid and squat scenes were intertwined, and how they became involved with the early free festival scene. Also interested in tracking down various people such as Magic Michael and Kristof if anyone knows where they are. All information dealt with in confidence and anonymity given to anyone who wishes it. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you feel you could assist with my research and I'll get back to you immediately with some specific questions.
- Andy - 19 December 2007
In the 80's I frequently drank in The Three Fishes pub near Kingston Station. After it closed down the silent DJ, Martin, created a club for those of us who missed the old place. It used to meet near Hampton Court Station and of course the music was brilliant. My enquiry is this.. I had my photograph on the membership card Martin made for me and it was the only one of me with a beard and long hair. Is there any website etc of the club or Martin so I can find out if he has a copy of it, or even if he has an archive, perhaps? Please email me with any, or no ideas.
- Phil Knights - email@example.com - 10 December 2006
A message from Australia. I lived in the UK for three years after I left school. We lived in Richmond. The crowd I mixed with naturally called me "Aussie". I started to go to Trad jazz sessions on Eel Pie Island in the mid-1950's . Beat that! There used to be a chain punt ferry that dragged a barge across the river from Twickenham to the island. I think a bridge was built later. The music and dancing was terrific. "If aye we could recapture life's first fine careless rapture". I am searching out a couple of photos that I have of the crowd back in those days - actually in the hall. I will scan them and send them to you. I must say that I have lost touch with all the people I knew back then and can scarcely remember their names. I used to go to L'Auberge in Richmond and have a slice of Chocolate cake and a hot chocolate! Then go to the Odeon Picture show next door and Sunday evening. What a life. I am coming back to the UK in a few weeks time and intend to go back to Richmond, and to Eel Pie Island, for a trip down memory lane. It is wonderful to see so many web entries on this subject it clearly has a great nostalgia for many people.
- Tony Lamond - 26 November 2006
I remember the 'Island', how many nights, how many bands, how many people, how come it all seems such a blur? Second thoughts, I think I know why. Watching the Tridents, Artwoods, Herbie Goins, Cyril Davis All Stars, Blues en Noir (that was the Band I was in), Pink Floyd, The Yardbirds, the list is endless and very vague. New Years Eve with Baldry drunk as a skunk, Rod Stewart trying to pull my woman, he failed, what fun we had and why is it not like that now?
Playing the mouth harp in the goldfish bowl in L'auberge with Andy Roberts, Jane and Jean Marie Folio-Couzin, my brother Whitey (Brian), Wendy and Brian Malyon, Neil Bryson, Jonny Van Stone (what a musician he was, Ginger Bill, Paul Morrisey (deceased)and many more heads, Mike Weatherall, then down the Imperial for several pints or across the road to the Red Lion. Oh it's too much, I wonder what happened to Andy and Maria from L'auberge, so many questions, no answers as yet, ah well, lets see what happens now.
- Nigel White, Whitey - firstname.lastname@example.org - 21 September 06
I am currently researching a book about the history of Eel Pie Island... I used to have a workshop over there for a dozen or so years and became interested in the history, particularly the hotel tales. I would like to hear from anyone who went there, to gather their memories / memorabilia
- Michele - http://www.eelpiebook.typepad.com - 2 Aug 2006
Just spotted your Eel Pie Island piece on the net, and it's sparked a nostalgic enquiry. My wife, (then single) was a pal of Mike Peters' wife Cy Peters, back in the 1950s -- in fact, I can (vaguely) remember a party we went to, after which we stayed on their houseboat. A few days ago, while clearing out old letters, her ladyship unearthed correspondence from Cy to her. It's set her wondering if Cy is still alive and, if so, how she, Mike and their children are. Can you possibly offer any assistance? For info, my wife's married name is Marion Morris, but her maiden name was Marion Fermor. Many thanks for any info.
- John Morris - email@example.com - 2 Oct 2005
[apparently Cy Peters was member No 1 of the Eel Pie Island Jazz club! - Weed]
I am researching an article at the moment about the history of Eel Pie Island, focusing on the birth of the British R'n'B movement there in the 60s. I am trying to get in touch with as many people who were there then who would be willing to talk to me about it or who might have any pictures or posters etc. that I might be able to use with the article.
The article is partly to commemorate what went on there but is also part of a campaign to help the current Eel Pie musos, a band called The Mystery Jets. They are really wonderful but the people on the island now do not care for creative types, they want it to be all clean and quiet. The Mystery Jets are now facing all sorts of court orders about noise pollution, which will mean they will not be able to rehearse, record or play live on the island as they do now.
I am not sure if what I will write will make any difference but thought that if I reminded the powers that be of all the amazing things that happened on and partially because of the island, they might be a little more lenient towards the artists and musicians working there today.
- Iphgenia Baal - firstname.lastname@example.org - 15 July 2005
eureka revisited - i got to know variouse eel pie islanders round about 1971 when i joined them in a squat in highgate. my name is bernard. there was english and irish john, drago, consuela, dave, devina, canadian tom and various visitors like gale, peter black, magic mikle who lived a couple of houses down the road, and i introduced a girl swiss maria and they all ended up travelling to india overland. i never met several you mention or maybe i did and my memory got left half way down a chillum .. anyway i often wander what happened to everyone and its great to get a website about you all. maybe some who remember the highgate days will write in or email me.
- Bernard - Bbernberni@aol.com - 12 Feb 2005
Eel Pie Island was like a mysterious dream for me, until I looked it up by chance and found it on the net. What a delight! I had spent a long night partying with a friend called Gavin and his girlfriend Beireth. Peter, Anthea and a few others came along. At around 5 am everyone decided to go back to Eel Pie Island. I had heard a lot about it from Peter and Anthea, and a few others [my memory of names is terrible]. We got the bus and tube from Hampstead to Richmond, and had a lovely walk through the park. Everyone was very happy - visiting the Island was so strange, a little haven amongst the buildings of London. A lot of the people living there were friends of mine. I lived at 17 Lambolle Road then.
- Gea - North Devon - 13th December 2004
I came across your site whilst bumbling about on the net in search of nostalgia and lost youth. What a fantastic site it is, crammed full of memories. I was one of the local Twickenhamites and at the time in my mid-late teens. I frequented 'The Crown', L'Auberge and some of the other establishments mentioned but only got out on the Island a couple of times, I recognise a lot of the faces in your picture gallery from in and around places like the Old Kings Head, The Cabbage Patch, The Fox, The Barmy Arms, The Swan, The Sun and I remember those squats in Grosvenor Road behind the nick.
By the way do any of these names ring any bells? -
Alan Winter - he lived right next to the Crown at 2, Orleans Road and married a Scottish girl Caroline who he met in the Crown. Last I heard he was a working for HAYS an air freight company in Iver Bucks.
Paul (Twiggy) Brooks - a local MOD from St. Margarets who sold his LI Lambretta threw away the parka, donned the Kaftans and bells and became a hippy.
Maz (Mazoud Sh???)- an Indian guy who had an open pot smoking house in Palewell Park, East Sheen. His father was a doctor and out of the country almost all the time - fantastic parties.
Paul Davies another local guy from St. Margaret's he was always in the Crown or the St. Margaret's Hotel. He ended up marrying Christine Hodgeson - She wrote Devil Woman the Cliff Richard song.
Dave & Pete Lelliot - Brothers who used to frequent the Crown. I lost contact with Dave in the Mid 70's and poor old Pete's dead now, he took seriously to the bottle after working at Watneys brewery and took a nose dive off a block of flats when pissed - nice guy very sad.
Caroline (Humph) Humphries a Hippy chick who used to live near the Popes Grotto pub.
- Fenty (Robin Fentiman) - email@example.com
Rønne, Bornholm, Danmark - 29th January 2004
ahhhh memories!!!!! - Having lived in the US for the last 20 years and now in Canada (just moved this week) I was discussing the great days of Eel Pie Island with a bunch of English ex patriots and was being told I was talking out of my ass! (bum) so I said, let me check the net and the rest is history.
Well my story is kinda short... but my name is Charlie Stuart. I used to ride my bike at the tender age of 15 to 17 over to the island so that I could listen to the jam sessions! I was allowed in as long as I made the coffee and tea for everyone! When I was not there I was at L'Auberge where I used to drink the lemon teas and watch the "hippie chicks" go by. I would hang with a number of the guys and try to act older to get in with the girls from Richmond School and Green School for Girls in Hounslow, who would commute to be "seen" in the area. I married a Green School girl and my kids still live in the area to this day.
I dont really think there is too much I can add to the story, other than meeting so many musicians who eventually found fame and fortune, like Jagger, Stewart, and LJ Baldry who were there on the odd occasion! I was a frustrated musician and ended up as a Disc Jockey in Richmond (The Castle) and in Kew (several pubs and clubs) till I moved to Ireland and then America.
I still get to make the tea and coffee in my home, but not to such illustrious guests!
"Life is a beautiful moon, and each star a friend, when I gazed into the nightime sky from the shores of the River Thames!" (I wrote that on a wall in the hotel bathroom one very "spacey night"!! ) ahhhh memories!!!!!
Peace and happiness always
- Charles - 29 Nov 03
Message for Carl Hans van Drescher - Do you remember Lynne Merritt? You lived in Kew or Richmond in Surrey in 1968/1969. She has important urgent news for you. You went back to the Netherlands to attend university in 1969ish. Lynne would love to hear from you.
- Lynne Merritt - Please email firstname.lastname@example.org - 15 June 2003
trying to contact Tinaig - from Britany (La Bretagne), who was at the Hotel in 1970, and last heard of living in the South of Ireland with son and daughter Tristan & Isolde - Sher, now living in Lancaster (NW England), would love to hear from you!
- Sher - 30th December 2002
[Sher died peacefully at her Lancaster home in December 2004 after several years of bad health - her five sons attended the funeral - email@example.com]
magic moments & lost times - So, used to hang out on the island in the early 60's. Steam Packet, Stones, Brian Auger, Cyril Davies & the Downliners, my major chum Mick Sutton, now deceased, [also a Dedicated man] brother was drummer in the Downliners, John Sutton, Apparently now with the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, so we got to sit upstairs above the stage chilling with Mick, Keef & Brian, or standing at the bar with a Newcastle Amber, whilst checking the blonde chicks with Rod, Then the all-nighters at the 100 club, Also during that time came the Jerico Jug Band, busking the Thames at Richmond with Tony "Duster Bennett" also now in the great blues band in the sky and another old chum, who I would like to find, Tony Mills, last heard of in Sonoma, California. I finally got to San Francisco & the Filmore a couple of years ago to find Peter Green playing, being an ex-Toby Jugger even more magic, Then L'Auberge, still remember, this kid, Ron,turning up with a guitar in case, moaning that the bands name will have to be changed from the Birds..to what ?... So any body out there, Robert Rudge, Piggys, Little piggys, Maureen, ..And ?..shit you went to Frensham Heights, your old man was a dentist in Sheen, we came down on the Vespa GS...Or slept on the beach at Brighton, whilst avoiding both mods & rockers or met in St Ives...Welsh girls !!
Peace & Love to all - May the spirit of the old goatee brotherhood be with you
Old moments from an aging raver, anybody out there ?
- Brian Ranken - 25th July 2001 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Nostalgia's not what it was. I absolutely love the site, old memories come flooding back. Anybody remember Jock MacKenzie from those days?
- John "Jock" MacKenzie - email@example.com
Lairg, Scotland - 5th June 2001
happy days, eel pie & l'auberge. we are trying to contact ex l'aubergeites who were patrons from 63 - 69. in partcular steve martin, sandy mc kewan, steve byde, caz richards, john greives. can any body help? where are they now? be pleased to hear.
- keith savill
findon valley, w.sussex, uk - 2nd April 2000