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Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Adrian-L ()
Date: March 25, 2009 10:43

World super-star musicians who early on in their careers played at The Eel
Pie Island Jazz Club, will be honoured on Friday 24 April, when The Mayor
of Richmond will unveil a heritage board on Twickenham Embankment,
opposite The Barmy Arms, which pays tribute to the ‘Music Legends of Eel
Pie’ and also to the late Arthur Chisnall who not only owned the Club in
the late '50's/early '60's, but was a great help to young people at the
time in giving them a voice.

The heritage board has been very competently written by Tom Nolan and we
at The Eel Pie Club have been working with The Mayor and Richmond Council
to get it established for almost a year.
Further on down the line, when
sponsorship has been obtained, we hope to have a bronze plaque beneath the
heritage board with the names of many of the bands and artists (jazz,
rhythm and blues, and rock) who performed on the Island.

The unveiling ceremony will start at 3:30pm on Twickenham Embankment,
opposite The Barmy Arms, with live music by Blues Academy, followed by the
unveiling at 4:00pm, followed by more music by Blues Academy, until
4:30pm.
Original Yardbirds, Jim McCarty, Chris Dreja and Top Topham, who
played their very first gig on the Island will be there among other
celebrity guests. The event is free and open to the public.

As you know, on the same evening, THE YARDBIRDS will be in concert at The
Live Room, Twickenham Rugby Stadium. This concert is for one night only
and their only London date. This will be the first live music concert at
this brand new, state-of-the art venue, next door to the new Marriott
Hotel.

[www.eelpieclub.com]

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Adrian-L ()
Date: April 23, 2009 13:54

ROCK LEGENDS OF EEL PIE

[www.express.co.uk]





The Rolling Stones have the location as their starting point

By York Membery
THE THAMES at Twickenham is more genteel than rock 'n' roll.

However one island in this stretch was the starting point for bands such as The Rolling Stones and The Who.

In the week its role is recognised with a blue heritage plaque, YORK MEMBERY tells its story.

It would be hard to imagine a less likely launchpad for the cream of British rock than a peaceful river bank in leafy Twickenham.

But just a stone's throw away is Eel Pie Island, once home to the Eel Pie Hotel and the Eel Pie Island Jazz Club where just about everyone who was anyone in the British Sixties rock scene from The Stones to Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton to Pete Townshend played before shooting to stardom.

"It was one of the best places to hear blues bands at the weekends, " says Ian 'Mac' McLagan, one-time keyboard-player with the Small Faces who played there with the Muleskinners in 1963.



COOL FOR CATS: Eel Pie island was a hot venue for bands and their fans





And some believe the hotel might have been a venue for tomorrow's rock stars but for a mysterious fire that left it nothing but a smouldering ruin.

Eel Pie Island has always been an unusual spot and has had some famous residents including the first Dr Who, William Hartnell. In the 1830s it was a fashionable resort for well-to-do Londoners and known for its eel pies, hence its name.

Until 1957, when a footbridge was built linking it with Twickenham, it could only be reached by ferry.

The legendary Eel Pie Hotel itself dated back to the 19th century, when it was frequented by Charles Dickens, and in the Twenties and Thirties played host to tea dances.


Until 1957, when a footbridge was built linking it with Twickenham, it could only be reached by ferry



By the Fifties its heyday was long behind it. Then Arthur Chisnall, a Kingston junk shop owner, had an idea: he thought it would be an ideal venue for weekly jazz dances featuring George Melly, Acker Bilk and other jazz heroes so he hired a room and opened a club that proved an immediate success.

Before his death in 2007, Melly described the run-down hotel, with its ornate columns and arches, as "something from a Tennessee Williams novel", adding: "In those days you got to the island by boat and you had to pull yourself across on a rope. It was fairly primitive."

The dawn of the Sixties saw teenagers embrace the new British R&B scene and Chisnall was forced to book the movement's hot bands.



"Ironically, he was not very keen on rhythm and blues, " says Gina Way, a west-London-based promoter, who used to go to the gigs when she was a schoolgirl. "But with the emergence of bands like the Cyril Davies All-Stars and Alexis Korner, and the appearance of The Rolling Stones, he saw that this was the direction music was going."

The move paid off. The Eel Pie Island Jazz Club was packed out every Wednesday night and in the course of a few years established itself as a must-play London venue for up-and-coming bands.

Among those who played there between 1962 and 1967 were Long John Baldry's Hoochie Coochie Men (with Rod Stewart), John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (featuring Eric Clapton), The Tridents (with Jeff Beck), The Moody Blues, The Yardbirds, The Who and The Stones who had a residency there on Wednesday nights for several weeks in 1963 playing to sell-out crowds of 250. None of the bands seemed to mind having to lug their equipment across the narrow bridge.



EEL PIE: 'Rod Stewart would be dressed up to the nines'


"I began going in 1964 and among the fi rst bands I saw were The Rolling Stones who were fantastic, " says Way. "At the end of their residency, Mick said they were about to release a single but joked that they would 'be back soon' unless the tour was successful and 'they become famous'. That's what happened of course and we never saw them again."

One future rock star often to be seen at the club was Rod Stewart, invariably dressed up to the nines and "on the pull" if he wasn't there to sing or catch a band. "He was known as 'Rod the Mod' back then, " says Way. "Although Long John Baldry used to call him Phyllis. I don't know why."

Another regular was Ronnie Wood - long before he joined The Rolling Stones. " I remember once going in and having a wee upstairs in a broken bucket and when I came down I saw it was leaking on to the stage!"

Gigs at the club had a special feel. Chisnall even issued novelty Eelpiland Passports (Passport To Pimlico-style membership cards) which have since become collectors' items.

"The fact that you had to walk over a footbridge (or in the jazz days go on a chain ferry) over to the island, made concerts there feel exclusive, " says Way. "There were two little old ladies at the end of the footbridge who collected one old penny as a toll fee and who always said 'Thank you, dear' as they took your money."

Admittedly not everyone was there for the music. The local paper dubbed the club a "beatnik-infested vice den". And Trevor Baylis, the inventor of the wind-up radio, who fi rst went to the Eel Pie Hotel in the late Fifties and now lives on the island, recalls that it offered other attractions: "It was pretty wild. If you wanted to pull a bit of crumpet, it was the place to go."

However, the Eel Pie Hotel was falling into disrepair and the owner could not afford the £200,000 the police deemed necessary to make it safe. The hotel was forced to close, sounding the death knell for the club and squatters soon moved in, wrecking the place.

In 1969, the club briefly reopened as Colonel Barefoot's Rock Garden, welcoming prog-rock bands such as Black Sabbath, the Edgar Broughton Band and Hawkwind.

"We felt honoured just to tread in the footsteps of all those great bands who'd preceded us, " says Hawkwind's Dave Brock.

However in 1971, after a demolition order, the Eel Pie Island Hotel burnt down "in mysterious circumstances". Arson was suspected but no one knows for certain and the remainder of the building was demolished to make way for a townhouse development. It was the end of an era.

Well, almost. Ten years ago, Way and her promoter husband Warren Walters launched a new Eel Pie Club at a pub in Twickenham, which has since played host to The Pretty Things, The Kast-Off Kinks (featuring three of the original band members including drummer Mick Avory) and the Groundhogs among others.

This Friday a plaque dedicated to "The Music Legends of Eel Pie" is to be unveiled on the bank opposite the infl uential island, along with bronze casts of the handprints of some of the musicians who played there.

Among those at the ceremony will be members of The Yardbirds and Hawkwind, although sadly, Chisnall died two years ago. Later The Yardbirds will perform at nearby Twickenham Rugby Stadium.

"The Eel Pie Hotel proved a launching pad for so many bands who went on to greatness, " says Baylis. "It's only right that its place in British rock history should finally be recognised."

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Stargroves ()
Date: April 23, 2009 14:21

Great stuff, thanks for sharing

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Green Lady ()
Date: April 23, 2009 19:41

There are other clips from this film "Fumo di Londra" on YouTube, showing scenes from 60s London - but this is the bit filmed on Eel Pie Island with a lot of local art students as extras. Don't ask me what the plot is about!




Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Adrian-L ()
Date: April 23, 2009 22:27

thanks for that Greenlady - not seen that clip before.

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Green Lady ()
Date: April 24, 2009 20:36

This is Twickenham riverside today taken from the same point on the Eel Pie Island bridge as the opening shot of the movie clip. As you can see there's a lot of work going on laying new paving and planting trees, so the new plaque wasn't unveiled in situ (don't know where it will finally be). You can see the scrum of people down by the Barmy Arms where they did the unveiling:



Because they knew a lot of local bigwigs and council leaders would be there, somebody had organised a Save Twickenham Riverside demo to protest about the council's development plans for the old swimming pool site. Whatever the rights and wrongs of this are, the result was that you couldn't get near the plaque-unveiling for protesters with banners:



Interesting mixture of tweedy Green Party activists from the demonstration and people who had come for the musical event, including former Island Hotel clientele, one or two wearing their 50s and 60s clothes. Anyway, the mayors of several riverside boroughs, the people from the Eel Pie Club, various Yardbirds and other local musicians were allowed into a cordoned off area from which everyone else was excluded by the police (presumably because of the very orderly and unthreatening demo). Speeches were made and the plaque got unveiled, but most of us didn't get anywhere near it until later. So I retired to the Barmy Arms and listened to Blues Academy: I wish there was sound with this picture as they are doing a blistering version of Johnny Be Goode with the guy guesting on saxophone (anyone know who he is?)



When the music finished I went down to take a pic of the new plaque, only to find a pair of council workmen loading it into a van to be taken off somewhere safe until it could be installed wherever it's finally going. I asked them very nicely and they held it up for me to photograph:





Hope you can read it. By the way, the speech mentioned that today is the 46th anniversary of the Stones' first gig at the Island Hotel.

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Green Lady ()
Date: April 25, 2009 16:36


Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Britney ()
Date: April 26, 2009 18:17

The Stonespic on the plaque was actually taken at the Eel Pie Island.
Here's another of the boys in action at Eel Pie Island:

date and photographer unknown.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2009-04-27 07:46 by Britney.

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Rockman ()
Date: April 27, 2009 00:34

Thanks for the up-date shots GreenLady .... nice work

ROCKMAN

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Beast ()
Date: April 27, 2009 01:31

Thanks, Green Lady - nice one! And perfect weather for it, too. Let us know when and if you finally see the plaque in place somewhere.

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Green Lady ()
Date: July 30, 2009 18:06

Thought you would like to know that they've finished all the work on refurbishing the Twickenham riverside walk:



and the plaque is now in its permanent home. Personally I think it should have been at the foot of the Island bridge, which you can just see in the background:



but they've actually put it a bit further down by the Barmy Arms, roughly opposite the actual site of the Island Hotel (which was on the other side of the island about where the big tree is in this picture):


Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Adrian-L ()
Date: July 31, 2009 00:38

thanks for the photos Greenlady. I popped down to have a look at it's permanent location, last weekend. Got to say, the site isn't ideal.
How long before it gets graffitied or vandalised?

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Date: July 31, 2009 11:24

Thanks, Greenlady, great pictures - a large group of us met up at the Barmy Arms prior to the Stones Twickenham 40 Licks shows in 2003 so long overdue another visit!

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Adrian-L ()
Date: August 13, 2009 14:56



new book, due for publication on 8th October

[www.amazon.co.uk]

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Adrian-L ()
Date: August 13, 2009 14:59


Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Green Lady ()
Date: August 13, 2009 16:38

Thanks for the better picture and the news about the book - lots of Eel Pie/Richmond history here:

[www.eelpie.org]

Both the authors are Twickenham/Island residents and have been researching and appealing for people's Eel Pie memories for a few years now. Looking forward to reading it.

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Adrian-L ()
Date: August 14, 2009 10:29

you're welcome Greenlady - see ya down the Eelpie soon

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Green Lady ()
Date: September 26, 2009 14:43

The Island is keeping up its reputation for mysterious fires - there was another huge one last week, which prompted the Richmond and Twickenham Times to write the following:




Richmond & Twickenham Times, Friday 25th September 2009

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Green Lady ()
Date: September 28, 2009 20:44





Richmond Magazine October 2009

I love the bit about making the musicians put their footprints on the ceiling - d'you think they had the Stones's up there before the place burned down?

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: open-g ()
Date: September 28, 2009 21:03

That's sad.

you and Pauly were going to go there soon, weren't you?


wednesday 30 September Eel Pie Club, Twickenham, UK
www.eelpieclub.com (the Atcha!Band)

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Adrian-L ()
Date: September 28, 2009 23:01

looking forward very much to the book coming out.

The Eel Pie Club is not located on the island itself, but on the mainland, above the Cabbage Patch pub, just along
from Twickenham Railway Station (where Rod Stewart was discovered)

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Adrian-L ()
Date: December 8, 2009 14:21

purchased the book, last weekend,
it's excellent- highly recommended.

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: SwayStones ()
Date: December 8, 2009 16:52

Very nice read , photos & scans ,thank you !



I am a Frenchie ,as Mick affectionately called them in the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1977 .

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: shortfatfanny ()
Date: December 8, 2009 17:07

Thank you,and this thread got an unexpected sticky obviously.
Something doesn´t work for hours meanwhile...


Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: SwayStones ()
Date: December 8, 2009 17:09

Quote
shortfatfanny
Thank you,and this thread got an unexpected sticky obviously.
Something doesn´t work for hours meanwhile...
Yes ,see NICOS thread called "connection problem IORR"



I am a Frenchie ,as Mick affectionately called them in the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1977 .

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: shortfatfanny ()
Date: December 8, 2009 17:16

Yep,Sway,but that happened last night.
But maybe there´s a "connection" beetween this trouble and today´s...

As long we may hijack Adrian´s thread,strange enough you can post whatever in the
other ones...the "ranking" just don´t change...


Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Ya-Yas ()
Date: December 8, 2009 21:22

Thank you all. Fascinating read!

Ya-Yas

Re: Eel Pie Island to get heritage plaque
Posted by: Deltics ()
Date: December 8, 2009 21:30

Everything's gone Sticky!


"As we say in England, it can get a bit trainspottery"



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