The Bure Club, Bure Lane, Mudeford, Christchurch
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the 1st Baron Stuart de Rothesay built Bure Homage House on the Bure Homage Estate, an area that covered the surrounding village of Mudeford and much of Friars Cliff. In 1837 it was bought by a smugglers daughter from the Isle of Wight, Sophie Dawes, who married a French aristocrat and became a Baroness. She refurbished the house and added Corinthian style columns, but died in 1840. The property was then bought by the Ricardo family from Spain, however, over the years the house fell into disrepair and the fittings and furnishings were auctioned off. Up until the outbreak of the Second World War it was owned by William MacKeen, but as the conflict escalated the mansion was commandeered by the Ministry of Supply and handed over to the American 405th Fighter Group as an officers mess. The surrounding estate became an airfield with grass runaways up until tarmac was laid in 1943. At the wars cessation, it was used as a barracks by members of the Royal Corps of Signals attached to S.R.D.E. (Signals Research and Development Establishment). The manor house was eventually demolished by the MoD in 1957 and the land given over for house building.
The Bure Club in Mudeford was originally a brick barn belonging to Bure Homage Farm and was all that was left standing, along with Bure Homage Lodge in Bure Lane, after the rest of the buildings and the manor house had been demolished. Its conversion into a music venue began in 1958 when a certain Mrs Macklin, mother of John Macklin owner of Friars Cliff Motors, encouraged a group of local youths to use her coffee bar as a meeting place, instead of Avon Beach where they annoyed the residents with their portable record player. The kids instigated a record club but were aware their music disturbed the coffee shops patrons. Knowing that the Bure Homage Country Club had been underutilised since its inception in 1952, they approached the owners, Stan and Doris Clark, and asked if they could use their premises. The couple were enthusiastic for some business, even if it was from a gang of kids with little money, and agreed.
Months later the youngsters suggested if they pushed the two snooker tables against the wall to make room for a dance floor, the Clark’s could hire a live group on Friday nights and hopefully bring in more custom. After a trad jazz band failed to pull in the requisite amount of punters, Johnny King and the Raiders were hired, charging two bob a head at the door which the group pocketed, while the club made their money from bar takings. In the early days before a stage was built, the groups had to play on the flat floor which can be clearly seen in the photographs above and below. Over time, the crowds came in reasonable numbers to dance, flirt and drink Watneys Red Barrel and John Barleycorn barleywine in the Courtyard Bar behind the stage area, or if they wanted a quiet area to talk, the smaller Glue Pot at the opposite end of the room. As the club became known as a lively hangout with live music, a Saturday night was added with The Kapota Allstars selected to push the boat out.
After a couple of years the Clark’s tired of the venture and sold the now shorter named Bure Club to David Charles Stickley. Stickley had gained experience booking groups while running the Salisbury Palais located over the Fisherton Working Men’s Club and was far more ambitious. He revamped the club by building a proper stage and attracting a host of top acts from London including Cilla Black, The Spencer Davis Group, The Nashville Teens, The Pretty Things, The Graham Bond Organisation, Them, The Yardbirds and John Mayal’s Bluesbreakers. When The Animals played the Bure in February 1964, they were supported by The Pack, a band featuring Tony Arnold on guitar who went on to open Arny’s Shack recording studios in Penn Hill, Poole in the mid-seventies. His band used to perform a set of songs gleaned from Tony’s collection of blues records, one being a traditional number of unknown origins he owned on an old 78 by Josh White called “The House of the Rising Sun”. After their set, The Animals approached Tony and asked him if he had written the song to which he answered “no”, they then asked him if he would show them the chords and write down the lyrics. The band quickly learned the song and Tony recorded it on an old tape recorder he had to hand and gave them the tape. In the summer, The Animals released their version of “The House of the Rising Sun” with a distinctive arpeggio guitar intro by Hilton Valentine and a memorable Vox Continental organ solo by Alan Price. It shot straight to number one in the UK and America, making the band one of the leading lights of the ‘British Invasion’ groups along with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Over the years there have been varying versions of how The Animals came to record the song. Drummer John Steel and guitarist Hilton Valentine’s recollection was that they first heard Bob Dylan’s interpretation on his debut album in 1962, which the American singer / songwriter Dave Van Ronk insists Dylan stole the arrangement from him. While singer Eric Burdon remembers seeing the British folk singer Johnny Handle performing the song in a Newcastle night club. The memories of how the band came by the song are certainly muddled. The ‘Arny’ version of events came straight from the horse’s mouth when he contacted local author Nick Churchill with the story after an article Nick wrote about the Bure Club in the Christchurch Times. I would like to think this is the definitive account, but who knows? What I do know for sure is that the rest of The Animals never forgave Alan Price for pocketing all the royalties after his name appeared on the record label credited with the arrangement.
As the club became more established, Stickley was able to attract a number of American rock ‘n’ rollers and bluesmen such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent, Champion Jack Dupree, Memphis Slim, Jimmy Reed, Little Walter and John Lee Hooker. Supporting ‘The Hook’ that night in June 1964 were The Roadrunners whose guitarist Keith Collins remembers Stickley asking him to stand discretely at the back of the stage with his guitar plugged in just in case Hooker messed up, apparently he was slightly the worse for wear with drink. Thankfully Keith wasn’t needed, as Hooker had a unique sense of timing and would make chord changes whenever he felt like it making the task of following him almost impossible.
Amazingly The Beatles were due to play the club in 1963 but Brian Epstein, their manager, pulled them out of all their club contracts in preference to the group joining lucrative package tours. As did The Rolling Stones, who were also booked to make an appearance in October of the same year. They ended up thirty miles away at the Salisbury Gaumont on a package with the Everly Brothers, Little Richard and Bo Diddley. It has also been suggested on some forums that Chuck Berry played the Bure, but as of today I have found no evidence to back that up.
In November 1965 the club became the victim of its own success, when a number of grievances were lodged by the inhabitants of nearby Bure Close and Bure Lane about the amplified noise that was causing windows to rattle and televisions to be drowned out. According to one of the complainants it was like “having a transistor radio in my shoes which I can’t switch off” and that “the sound follows me around like a phantom from room to room”. Another stated that “the noise went on until 1, 2 and 3am and it was useless to go to bed until it stopped”, he also added that he did not dislike “Beatle music”. Acting for the residents, the Christchurch Corporation brought a court case against Mr. David Stickley stating that he had failed to comply with a noise abatement notice issued in June. After deliberating for five hours, the bench announced that the alleged nuisance still existed and that there was a likelihood that it would recur. They proposed to make an order, but not before hearing from any parties concerned that any proposals would be mutually aggregable to prevent recurrence. It was also noted that it was not an application to close the Bure Club, despite stories circulating amongst the young people who use the club. The case elicited so much publicity that Stickley had to take out an advert in the Bournemouth Echo reassuring the patrons that the club had not closed, contrary to rumours. The apologetic owner rode out the crisis by improving the soundproofing which bought him another year.
It all came to an end in January 1967. On Saturday 7th there was a final ‘Ballroom Party Night’ with Dave Stickley’s own band, The Dave Charles Trio. Not only was Dave a skilled promoter, he was also a talented pianist and singer who ran his own band; in the seventies they became the Dave Charles Sound. On Sunday 8th the eight piece Decca recording group The Motivations, plus local groups The Tension and Lavinia and the Lavelles brought down the final curtain. It was the end of an era. David Stickley moved onto the Linden Sports Club where he promoted bands every Sunday night into the seventies, he sadly died in 2010. The Bure club and surrounding area was bought by Brickwoods brewery who cleared the site and built the Sandpiper pub, it is still standing today.
If you have any memories you would like to share of the Bure Club, please use the contact box at the bottom of this page.
Bands of note that played the Bure Club
Bert Weedon and the Saints (One of the first British guitar heroes along with Hank Marvin)
Brian Poole and the Tremeloes (Had a number one with “Do You Love Me” in 1963)
Champion Jack Dupree (Blues pianist from New Orleans, lived in Halifax in the seventies and married a local girl)
Cilla Black (The Liverpool lass became a National Institution)
Cliff Bennet and the Rebel Rousers (Had two top ten hits)
Crispian St Peters (Hit the number one spot with “Pied Piper”)
Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich (Salisbury’s finest)
Duke D’Mond and the Baron Knights (Very successful comedy pop group)
Eden Kane and the Downbeats (Eden was Peter Starstedt’s older brother)
Gene Vincent (Gun toting, American rock ‘n’ roller, big hit with “Be-Bop-a-Lula”)
Graham Bond Organisation (Jack Bruce on bass & Ginger Baker on drums)
Jerry Lee Lewis (‘The Killer’, say no more)
Jimmy Powell and the Five Dimensions (Rod Stewart was a member)
Jimmy Reed (Very Influential blues man from Memphis, his songs were covered by most of the British Blues boomers)
Johnny Cymbal (Had a hit with “Mr Bassman”)
Johnny King and the Raiders (Local group and first rock band to play the club in 1961. Michael Giles on drums and Peter Giles on bass)
John Lee Hooker (‘The Hook’, king of the delta blues)
John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers (Appeared at the club backing the blues man Jimmy Reed)
Felder Orioles (Drummer John Halsey became a Rutle)
Les Fleur De Lys (Legendary ‘Freakbeat’ band, Gordon Haskell was a member)
Little Walter (A virtuoso blues man on the mouth harp)
Long John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men (Formed from the ashes of Cyril Davis r&b All Stars, Baldry had a number one with “Let the Heartaches Begin”)
Memphis Slim (Blues pianist from Memphis, Tennessee, hence the name)
Nero and the Gladiators (A British instrumental rock ‘n’ roll group)
Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers (One lowly hit, “Can Can 62”, produced by Joe Meek)
Screaming Jay Hawkins (Outrageous performer, had a hit with “I Put a Spell on You”)
Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages (The Monster Raving Loony)
Shane Fenton and the Fentones (Shane Fenton became Alvin Stardust in the seventies)
Sounds Incorporated (Talented instrumental group)
Steve Marriott and the Moments (Little Steve before he became a Small Face)
The Alex Harvey Soul Band (Formed The Sensational Alex Harvey Band in the seventies)
Them (An early sighting of Van Morrison in Christchurch)
The Animals (Big hitters from Newcastle)
The Artwoods (Ronnie Wood’s big brother Arthur was a founding member, keyboard player Jon Lord went on to Deep Purple and drummer Keef Hartley joined John Mayall before forming his own band)
The Birds (Ron Wood’s early band, future Rolling Stone)
The Honeycombs (Number one with “Have I the Right”, another Joe Meek concoction)
The Ivy League (A harmony vocal trio, hit number three with “Tossing and Turning” in 1965)
The Nashville Teens (“Tobacco Road” & “Google Eye” hitmakers, keyboard player John Hawken was born in Christchurch Hospital)
The Pretty Things (Gritty r&b from Phil May and his gang of scruffy Herbert’s)
The Rustiks (A Brian Epstein group from Devon, not Merseyside)
The Sorrows (A Mod band from Coventry)
The Spencer Davis Group (Five top ten singles with two number ones)
The Swinging Blues Jeans (Merseybeat band scored three top ten singles including their best know song, “Hippy Hippy Shake”)
The Time Checks (Local group, Greg Lake on guitar)
The Tornados (Huge hit around the world with “Telstar”, produced by Joe Meek)
The Yardbirds (A hugely influential r&b band that scored eleven top twenty singles and counted Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page as members)
Tony Jackson Vibrations (Jackson was a former Searcher)
Trendsetters Ltd. (Michael Giles & Peter Giles on drums and bass respectively)
Unit 4 Plus 2 (“Concrete and Clay” hitmakers)
Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders (Two top ten hits with “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um” and “The Game of Love” before they parted company)
Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band (Hometown gig for the Rollers)