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Bill Hart and Eel Pie Island in the background.

The commemorative Heritage board featured at the side of the river Thames tells the story of Rythmn & Blues in the late 50's and throughout 1960's.

 

 

 

 

The Official Eel Pie  Rhythm & Blues Club meets regularly at the Cabbage Patch Pub -The Patch - Twickenham on alternative Wednesday evenings throught the year. 

 

 

 

Named 'The Cabbage Patch' after the nickname of the world famous Twickenham Rugby Union HQ and ground.

 

 

 

Older marine workshops dominate most of 

the Islands frontage.

This is the rear of one of them - facing inwards towards the homes and studios of over forty resident Artists living and working where the former EPI Hotel was previously located.

 

 

 

A Public Notice Board keeps the Islander's informed. Amongst other postings is EPICC: The Eel Pie Island Community

Choir. 

 

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THE CRAWDADDY CLUB

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EEL PIE CLUB

Twickenham

London

Hello Bill

 

"I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your article about Eel Pie Island. The first time I lived away from Wigan, Lancashire was when I was a student at St Mary's College in Twickenham from 1967 to 1969, so I knew that area really well. When I was there I was more interested in going to concert's than pursuing my studies, but I never went to a concert on the island as I don't think it was in use as a venue at the time.

 

The only time I ever went across to the island was in 1969. I had seen an advert for a hippie commune that met there. I was seriously thinking of joining it - being rather naive, so I went along and found twenty or thirty young people meeting in the famous Eel Pie Hotel ballroom in front of the stage. I didn't stay long though - after about five minutes some of them started arguing about money and a fight broke out, so I trudged back across the bridge to the 'mainland' and never thought about joining a commune again. So much for peace loving hippies!

 

I really enjoy your site - nice to see that Peter Noone got in touch. Thanks for a great site."

Mick Bolton: December 2010



 

 

Every Wednesday, fortnightly, and in Twickenham at The Cabbage Patch pub, you'll find a set of dimly lit stairs heading up to a large room above one of the Rugby Union's most famous watering hole's, one of many which are to be found in this small prosperous west-london suburb. The name cabbage patch comes from the once alleged state of the playing surface at the world's RU HQ: Twickenham Rugby ground, but enough of all that! 

 

 

  So with the local Rugby Union history lesson out of the way I'm off the find a living history of the music of Rhythm & Blues representing today exactly what Liverpools modern Cavern Club means to story of Merseybeat. I climb the stairs catching the A3 wall posters advertising a shed-full of forthcoming rhythm and blues and rock 'n roll attractions well up to and well into the new year.

 

 

 

 

  I turn a corner and open one of the solid double doors. Unsure for a second or two, I glance right to find a comfortable looking lounge area seating a few people who are just downing their first drinks of the night. Ahead and slightly to the left is a longish bar. Beyond that is a semi-blacked-out area which I presumed - quite rightly - to be the stage. Turning the full 180 degree's and seated immediately left and down bit, is a happy and most welcoming of smiles: Its owner is Gina Way. I introduce myself and we greet like long lost friends although we have never met before. In exchanging emails to arrange my visit here I felt a ready and friendly warmth coming through and so it was to be that I would find that the feelings extended into pleasent ambience and comfortable physicality of this most pleasent of modern day rock 'n roll emporia.

 

 

 

Gina Way with guest book, an imprest box and

a couple of Eel Pie Club teddy bears.

 

 

 

Gina introduces me to Warren Walters and he

introduces me to The Beat Magazine.

 

It is Gina and Warren who founded the club over ten years along with a person-third who no longer partiscipates in it's running. It is these two are the movers and shakers and it is they who book the many bands and organise it's ongoing events. "We have the Yardbirds booked for their only London gig and because the room here is not big enough we have hired The Live Room at Twickenham Stadium just a mile up the road on Friday 25 March 2011. Tickets are going fast so please tell your Lanky Beat readers." (There Gina. I have done!)

 

"This poster tells it all and what the Eel Pie Club is all about -

but you my dear reader - you knew that anyway!"

In the lower middle of the pic is The Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood with his brother Art Wood.

 

Many famous names have appeared here.

Mick Avory - Former drummer with The Kinks sometimes drops bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Larry Millar Band are fairly new but a big attraction at the Eel Pie Club. Together with bass player Derek White and drummer Simon Baker, they come with a great reputation for entertaining, whitty repartee and a superlative rock-show.

 

 

Contact

Evina Carroll

07804 274 247

evinacarrollart@aol.com

 

 

EEL PIE ISLAND

& The 

EEL PIE ISLAND HOTEL

Twickenham

 

The Eel Pie Island 2010 is but small sand bank tucked closely to one side of the upper reaches of the river Thames in the west London suburbs. Picturesque to a fault, this where the mighty river flows most calmly, is slightly tidal and flood's the vicinities access roads with far too much regularity; that is according to the locals. The Islanders however, don't mind these sporadic inconveniences. These days they prefer to be left well alone to enjoy their relative peaceful existence and bask in well earned and isolated tranquillity.

 

  To live on the Island  - or anywhere else inside these Borough's of Richmond, Twickenham and Kingston, Surrey - one needs to earn an estimated minimum income of £90K a year. And please note I did say, live. Under this expect just exist.  Even affording a modest two bed flat will set you back £250K and the price of a small three bed semi will take £500K. You will also have to pay dearly to park your car on any road unless of course it is kept off-road. Single car garages have been known to break the £50K barrier. But I labour this. Let's get back to the real reason you are reading this.. back to Rock 'n Roll.

 

 

On this Island was to be found a famous hotel and very little else. London's dignitaries at the turn of the century it seems, would arrive via horse driven coach or suitable floating river vessels to regularly pack-out and partake the popular local delicacy; Eel Pie.

 

  Yes, the Eel Pie Island Hotel was famed as an eatery and so too it's high-society gatherings, where one could dance the night away on its specially sprung dance floor without being too much of a bother to the locals - as there was no one else living there except for the Hotels paying residents. Its only visible activity it seemed to otherwise employ was the berthing of river vessels on its limited shores and inside the ramshackle buildings which contained small dry-docks and workshops of repair.

 

The Eel Pie Club at the Famous Cabbage Patch pub near the Rail Station.

www.eelpieclub.com

Featuring great R&B bands sometimes with interesting guest musicians. Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones & Mick Avory, drummer with The Kinks are known to often lend their support.

 

 

  The Hotel mysteriously burned down in 1977 after long slow decline of blatant neglect and under investment. From 1956 however, the hotel, although rich in folklore of heady days entertaining the social elite - who put the rich in Richmond - needed to embrace change to survive. Its former days of glory were thought to well rooted in the past but rather fortunately and unknowingly they were set in train to start happening all over again: But this time, for very different musical reasons - and not for culinary ones which made its name. Enter Jazz, Blue's and Rock 'n Roll.

 

Humping heavy gear across the bridge was never going to be easy..

Getting it back to van after a strenuous gig in the early mornings was even worse.

"Hey man. Where's Mick?"

 

 

 

 

Below:

The floor mounted bronze plaque placed on the Twickenham side of the river commemorates the vital contributions made by many famous band's and musician's over a memorable and classic tweny-one years.

 

Jazz

 

 

 

Rhythm & Blues

 

 

Heavy Rock

 

 

 

At the Eel Pie Heritage Site the riverside Heritage Board proudly displays its

variety of musical genre's of past musical glories which once-upon-a-time

 happened at The Eel Pie Hotel.

 

The Bridge

The only other connection between Twickenham and Eel Pie Island

 is swim, boat or air-drop.

 

The crowded boat yard's dominate the frontage of the Island.

The Eel Pie Island bridge is in the far distance.

 

 

Twickenham Museum.

A small compact volunteer visitor attraction on two floors containing - amongst

other's - a Fab display of Eel Pie Island pics, posters and memorabilia. 

Limited Opening Times.

 

 

    

Ollie & Bow: Church Street Twickenham:

Yeh! Second left is Madonna.

 

 

The Eel Pie Pub: Church Street, Twickenham.

 

  Alfresco dining and drinking are the norm with many choices of places to relax in the summertime traffic free weekends. Just a side street away from here is the river embankment, Eel Pie Island and The Barmy Arms Pub outside where - if you are really lucky - The Eel Pie All Stars sometimes hold a free open-air concert or two. Check the web site for details and dress-up in your 1960's togs for some great music.

 

  A short stroll along Thames river path towards Richmond reveals many other kinds of artistic delights too. Well worth it's day-out-experience.

 

Here is York House Gardens Statues offering its 'hidden'

delights to the decerning visitor. Not to be missed. 

 

 

Unique local histories and are worth browsing here also, as their ever-changing art and historical exhibitions are these tiny museums' speciality and joy. Or, book your special occasion here.. or just meander whilst biting into your freshly purchased eel pie.

 

  However, taking a right turn in the opposite direction will bring you the eventual walking rewards of Teddington Lock and Hampton Court Palace - the former Royal residence of such likes as King Henry VIII. HCP was later superseded by Buckingham Palace as the new Royal Household.

 

All together - a grand day out.

 "Comparisons are inevitable. With the slightly earlier phenomena of the north of England’s Mersey Sound breaking into and breaking down simultaneously the stuffy  BBC's post-war dominated, middle-class-targeted, mainstream music domination; so called 'Thames Beat' was now on it's way. 

 

  The 'underground' musical movement's of a trendy new 'affluent-working-class -youth-culture was about to follow suit in the national conscience by reflecting the trends its northerly neighbours. In many ways it did so by overtaking it in the fast lane of this new musical super-highway.

 

  Set too on a major tidal river, the same ingredients were all there save for one. The London musical triangle of Richmond, Kingston and Twickenham boasted a hot-bed of many other such historical venues. The Station Hotel, The Crawdaddy Club, The Imperial and L'Auberge run nicely alongside the famous notoriety of The Eel Pie Island Hotel. In Merseyside The Casbah Coffee Club, The Cavern Club, The Iron Door and Jacaranda are were all reflected in their own unique way too. But one thing which distinctly divided the two as it does to this day is - the comparison of local wealth.

 

  From Liverpool’s' back street docks to west London’s' leafy waterways are a juxtaposition which cannot easily be ignored. Between these two former pioneering musical centres of excellence, there was a certain superior quality and rough diamond 'arty' approach to the music being made here in the south. Whilst the guys and gals of the north were displayed to become mainstream-acceptable by the wearing of stage suits with their mop tops, these southern musicians dressed 'down' and wore their hair longer, played aggressively louder and grittier, and were sexier and moodier too. Purposely and flamboyantly dandified, they were groomed for a different kind of audience altogether. Enter; musical snobbery.   

 

 The Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger lives on Richmond Hill as does Eel Pie Recording Studio founder and owner Pete Townsend of The Who. If you stand on the walkway bridge over to Eel Pie Island, be sure to look-out for a sleek and powerful-looking motor launch. Give the stocky blond guy a big wave and he's near certain to wave back to you. That would be Status Quo's Rick Parfitt. Now does that tell you all you need to know?"

Bill Hart: October 2010

 

Update: November 2010

A high River Thames tide at Eel Pie Island

 

    

 

 

 

"Put your Welly's on Keef".

'Nah... bare feet'll do it Mick!'

 

 

 

More Eel Pie here..

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eel_Pie_Island

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6310309.stm

 

THE CRAWDADDY CLUB

Richmond on Thames

 

One Kew Road - 2011

 

 

 

 

 

Above the door of the Station Hotel in Richmond on Thames.. the home of The Crawdaddy Club which opened in 1962 - nicknamed The Cavern Club of the south. Unfortunately the sign above is no longer in situ.. A damning testimony to complete indifference of the vitally important origins of such legendary bands and iconic venues of British rock 'n roll..

 

The pub doesn't even call itself the Station Hotel anymore! It was here that a rhythm and blues band called The Rolling Stones played their first-ever gig in February 1963.

 

 

 

 

The Station Hotel..

 

The Small Faces are listed above; however, they didn't play at the 'Craw' whilst it was based in the Station Hotel, but in fact, they later played when the club moved to bigger premises in the Richmond Athletics Club. Audiences often spilled out onto the pavements such was the popularity of the bands at the time, necessitating the early move to bigger premises.

 

  The 'Stones' played two gigs a week here and one at the Eel Pie Island Hotel two miles away in Twickenham. The band charted the Chuck Berry song 'Come On' during this time. Soon, the Stones were touring extensively in the UK and wowing audiences much further afield. However, they were quickly and handily replaced by another up and coming band called The Yardbirds featuring a moody guitarist called Eric Clapton. An earlier band called The Dave Hunt R & B Band briefly featured the soon-to-be-famous Ray Davies who went on later to form The Kinks.

Bill Hart: October 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

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