More Venues

Listed below are over one hundred venues in the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch area, from trendy clubs to church halls, pubs to village halls and hotels to youth clubs. Anywhere with a stage and a floor a dancing was utilised by managers, vicars, pub landlords, rotary club members, promoters, youth club leaders or impresarios to put on groups, bands or small orchestras for dancing. The sixties truly was a golden age for live music.

45 Club / Samantha’s / Pebbles / Bumble’s / Canvas, 45 Poole Hill, The Triangle, Bournemouth
12. 45 Club Logo
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Charlie Downton opened the 45 Club with a business partner in October 1964

Charlie Downton, manager of local group The Sandstorms and his business partner, launched the 45 Club on 20th October 1964 with an appearance by The Jerks. Situated in the Triangle, a quarter of mile up Poole Hill from the Square, the 45 club was another establishment with access issues, as a steep flight of stairs ascended to the second floor causing many a problem for groups transporting heavy equipment. The club only booked local groups one of which, The Freewheelers, were playing electrified versions of Dylan songs months before Bob pissed off the folk establishment at the Newport Folk Festival in July 1965. Furnished with old armchairs and overstuffed sofas in dark nooks and crannies, the 45 became a favourite haunt for courting couples looking for a bit of privacy in which to partake in a spot of tonsil tennis and settee wrestling.

The Sandstorms perform at the 45 Club, the vocalist in the centre was Charlie Downton’s son Roger

In 1967 a new owner, Louis Brown, renovated the club and reopened it on 25th March as the psychedelic discothèque and live music venue Samantha’s, with a gig by Sounds Tres Nice. In June 1969 there was a change of name to Pebbles where the turntables were overseen by future Radio One DJ Andy Peebles, the last member of the British media to interview John Lennon before his murder in December 1980. After Pebbles it became Bumbles night club for many years until its closure. After a long period of inactivity the premises reopened as the Canvas Loft Bar and hosts live music once again after a break of nearly forty years.

All Saints Hall, Castlemain Avenue, Southbourne, Bournemouth

One of the many church halls that were commandeered for gigs, with money’s collected probably going towards roof renovations.

Badger Cellar Bar, Fir Vale Road, Bournemouth

The Badger Bar was built on the site of the old Grand Hotel situated in Fir Vale Road behind the Chelsea Village complex. The first pint was pulled on Tuesday 22nd September 1964 and in the seventies the cellar became a lively music venue for mainly local blues and rock bands, however, one outfit of note that played there on a regular basis was Arms and Legs from Portsmouth. Their keyboard player and vocalist was none other than Joe Jackson who went onto fame and fortune after his big hit “Is She Really Going Out With Him” in 1979. After many name changes the Badger Bars is now the trendy Vinyl bar (see below).

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Barbarella’s, Stour Road, Tuckton, Bournemouth

Barbarella’s was adjoined to the Golfers Arms pub in Tuckton. Owned by Harry Stiller, it operated mainly as a discothèque but promoted the odd live gig in the late sixties before its closure. Apparently the golfers next door were not happy with the mini skirted dolly birds and long haired yobbos infiltrating their pub, plus the local bobbies got wind of underage drinking on the premises. Stiller cut his losses, closed the Golfers and Barberella’s and opened the larger Raceway bar that was distinguished by a Formula 3 racing car hanging on the wall. In 1986 the pub along with Tucktonia, a theme park which housed a large model village depicting the sites of London and other well known tourist attractions around the UK, was demolished and replaced by a new pub called the Olde Colonial which later became Bar Max. The site is now occupied by a large retirement apartment complex.  

Blue Note Club / Kosmo Club / Ridgefield Club / Star Club, Tralee Hotel, 76-78 St. Michael’s Road, Bournemouth
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Built in the nineteenth century, the Tralee Hotel was the first boarding house in St. Michael’s Road on the west cliff. It was also the original home of the Blue Note Club, a jazz venue, and later opened as the Kosmo Club in March 1965 with a date by the Jentet. In the mid-sixties it became the pop and rock hangout the Ridgefield Club followed by the Star Club. The hotel is now owned by the Travelodge chain.

Blue Note Club / Owl Club, The Burlington Hotel, 9 Owls Road, Bournemouth
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The Burlington Hotel in Boscombe was built in 1868 in a grand Italian renaissance style. In its heyday, there were wide lawns with tennis courts and wooded gardens that swept down to the beach where there was a wooden boat jetty. For a matter of months in the summer of 1962 it was home to the Blue Note Club, the Owl Club in 1964 and a rock and pop venue throughout the sixties. Its days as a hotel are long gone as the building was converted into Burlington Mansions, a luxury apartment block.

Blue Note Club, The Royal Exeter Hotel, Exeter Road, Bournemouth
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The Royal Exeter Hotel was home to the Blue Note Club for a short while after the Burlington Hotel. The site was originally bought by Lewis Tregonwell in 1810 and it is where he built the first official house in Bournemouth in 1812, although The Tapps Arms and a pair of cottages were already present in the area. The original house was extended over the years and eventually became the much larger Royal Exeter Hotel. It became a Grade 2 listed building in 1952.

Blue Note Club, Lynton Court Hotel, 47 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth
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The smaller Lynton Court Hotel was the fourth home of the Blue Note Club. It’s now a Premier Inn.

Blue Note Club / Rendezvous Room, Highcliff Hotel, 105 St. Michaels Road, Bournemouth
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The Highcliff Hotel, the final and much larger home of the Blue Note Club. It is where Zoot Money met drummer Colin Allen for the first time before forming the Zoot Money Big Roll Band. After the Blue Note closed, the hotel opened the Rendezvous Room, a sophisticated cocktail bar and venue for intimate dancing, smooth jazz and standards only. The hotel started life in 1873 as four large mansions that were never occupied. They were taken over by a company who amalgamated the buildings into one large hotel called Highcliffe Mansions. After many name changes and renovations over the years, the hotel is now part of the Marriott chain.

Bournemouth Beat Club, Beacon Royal Hotel, 11-13 Kerley Road, Bournemouth
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The Beacon Royal Hotel (built in the 1870s and renamed the Balmoral Hotel in 1968) on the west cliff, was once the home of the Bournemouth Beat Club where The Ravens with Robert Fripp and Gordon Haskell had a Monday night residency. In 1968 Michael and Peter Giles auditioned Robert Fripp in the ballroom prior to the trio leaving for London and birthing King Crimson.

Bransgore Village Hall, Burley Road, Bransgore
Al Stewart with guitar on the left and the Trappers on stage at the Bransgore Village Hall

The Bransgore Village Hall was the scene for many gigs and a rehearsal space for The Trappers featuring Al Stewart on guitar.

Calypso Club / Monaco Rooms / 81 Club, 81 Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth

The sophisticated night club the Monaco Rooms opened on 5th July 1962 but changed its name to the Calypso Club three years later. It promoted its first live music night on 29th January 1966 with a gig by The Committee. In September 1973 it reverted to a nightclub cum discotheque called the 81 Club. It is now a sub-branch of the TSB bank.

Candlelight Club, Imperial Hotel, 1 Meyrick Park Road, Lansdowne, Bournemouth

The Candlelight Club was a refined cocktail jazz club based in the Imperial Hotel, Lansdowne (the building on the far right of the photograph above) in the late fifties and the early sixties. The hotel was demolished in the mid-sixties and replaced by the Roundhouse in 1969 (see below). In the basement of the new hotel was the cave bar, a subterranean den of iniquity which became a favoured watering hole for long hairs, dope smokers and undesirables (including me and my mates), not quite what the management originally envisaged for its new sophisticated drinking den. Despite regular raids by the drug squad and the general lowering of the tone of the hotel, the cave bar flourished for around three years before the riff raff were finally driven out.

Canford Cliffs Village Hall, 17 Ravine Road, Poole

Village halls were utilised for live music gigs, much the same as church halls, but few kept up the practice due to unruly behaviour, noise issues and drunkenness.

Cat and Canary Club, Broughty Ferry Hotel, 34 Sea Road, Boscombe Bournemouth

The Broughty Ferry Hotel was situated 500 yards from the beach in Boscombe and catered specifically for families with children. It held regular pop and jazz gigs in the small bar and ballroom and was also home to the Cat and Canary Club in the mid-sixties. Trendsetters Ltd. featuring Michael and Peter Giles used the club as a rehearsal room when they first formed. The building is still there but has been converted into apartments (see below).

Cat and Fiddle, Lyndhurst Road, Hinton, Christchurch

Believed to be almost 1,000 years old, the Cat & Fiddle was built on the site of a Monk’s Hospice. In the 18th and 19th century it was a haunt for smugglers who were operating around Christchurch Bay. The pub became a live music venue in the late sixties, starting with a folk club, then progressing onto pop and rock gigs throughout the seventies. It is now part of the Harvester chain.

Cavern Club / YMCA Jazz Club, YMCA, 56 Westover Road, Bournemouth
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The YMCA was home to a jazz club before it was unveiled as the Cavern Club on 1st April 1964 with a gig by Trendsetters Ltd. and The Impacts. The building is still in Westover Road and remains a YMCA.

Cellar Club / Blue Boar, 29 Market Close, Poole
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The Cellar Club was branded ‘The South’s Answer to the Cavern’, which is a legitimate statement to make considering the brick-lined, curved walls and ceilings and claustrophobic atmosphere. That’s where the comparison stops unfortunately, as it wasn’t a breeding ground for Poole’s answer to The Beatles, but it was a hugely poplar place to go and see up-and-coming groups. Robert Fripp, Gordon Haskell, John Wetton, Richard Palmer James, Greg Lake, Lee Kerslake and Al Stewart all played there early in their careers. The pub is now called the Blue Boar and still promotes live music to this day, albeit mainly of the jazz variety.

Centenary Hall, 22 Wimborne Road, Poole
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The Centenary Hall was a lively music venue in its time, but now home to the Poole Labour Club.

Chelsea Village / Chelsea Bowl / Hard Rock / Stateside Centre, Glen Fern Road, Bournemouth

The site of Chelsea Village in Glen Fern Road was originally a large villa called The Firs built in 1861. In 1882 it became the Grand Fir Vale Hotel before the name was shortened to the Grand Hotel. By the time WW2 broke out in 1939, the hotel boasted three hundred room which were commandeered by the Royal Canadian Air Force for billeting purposes. After the war the hotel gradually fell into decline and closed its doors for the last time in 1960. By August 1962 the palatial Grand had been reduced to a large hole in ground (see below), only to rise phoenix like a year later as a large, ugly, concrete blot on the landscape housing a multi storey car park and on the ground floor large open areas that were made available to hire for commercial use. The first business to move into the building was the Top Rank Bowl which took over the basement. Consisting of thirty two lanes, it was opened by the Earl Mountbatten of Burma no less, on 14th May 1964.

The Chelsea Village complex took over the Top Rank Bowl and the huge downstairs basement area of the building and opened its doors for the first time on 20th November 1970 with a gig by the Scottish chart toppers Marmalade. Comprising of a large discotheque equipped with podiums for dancing, state of the art lighting and sound systems plus a licensed bar, a reduced twenty lane ten pin bowling alley, the relaxed atmosphere of the Angelique Club and a boutique selling accessories and novelties, the Village became the place to go and to be seen. Not long after it opened, the Outlook night club on the top floor of the multi-story car park, the Maison Royale cabaret cum eatery club and Le Cardinal discotheque all came on-line. For a time, Le Cardinal promoted live gigs in direct competition to the Chelsea Village next door but soon reverted to a discotheque and at times, a roller disco rink.

Chuck Berry and the Roy Young Band performing at the Chelsea Village in 1974

Less than eighteen months after opening, the ten pin bowling alley was removed in the summer of 1972 and replaced by a stage and large auditorium initially called the Chelsea Concert Hall. During the next decade a number of name changes occurred as the Chelsea Concert Hall became the Chelsea Bowl, then the Hard Rock in 1973, which then reverted back to the Bowl before the whole Village complex was re branded the Stateside Centre in 1980. A steady stream of rock acts such as AC/DC, The Sweet, Mott the Hoople, Thin Lizzy, David Bowie, Slade, Status Quo, Genesis and Roxy Music came and went but the Bowl really came into its own with the advent of punk, new wave and 2 Tone towards the end of the decade. The Jam, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, The Stranglers, The Damned, Generation X, Blondie (their first ever gig in the UK), Boomtown Rats, Sham 69, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, Squeeze, Madness, The Specials and The Clash all played there and if The Sex Pistols hadn’t locked horns with a tipsy Bill Grundy in a drunken swear fest live on tea time television, their gig with The Damned, The Clash and Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers would of taken place on Tuesday 7th December 1976. In 1982 the Chelsea Village closed and reverted back to a ten pin bowling alley. The site now houses the indoor adventure game Laser Quest (see below).

Christchurch Town Hall, High Street, Christchurch

All that is left of the old Christchurch Town Hall is the Mayor’s parlour (see above). The site where is stands, was actually the third site after it moved from the corner of Millhams Street and then the corner of High, Castle and Church Streets. Originally built in 1745 at the old market square, the parlour was moved brick by brick to Blanchard’s Yard (now Saxon Square) in 1859. The frontage was added to over the years with brick buildings (see below) that housed offices and a hall that held jumble sales, various entertainments and in the sixties, live pop and rock gigs. The buildings were torn down in 1980 to make way for Saxon Square which was opened by the Mayor in September 1983.

Club Rio, Branksome Hall, Guest Avenue, Poole

Club Rio opened on Saturday 31st August 1963 with a gig by The Tallmen. The building that housed the club, the Branksome Hall, was demolished many years ago.

Club Rondo, 64 Charminster Road, Bournemouth

Situated under Melita’s coffee bar in Charminster Road, Club Rondo opened as a venue on Friday 16th August 1963 with The Interns featuring future Shadow John Rostill on bass. The Rondo was a very short-lived club that never took off . The site is now a takeaway pizza shop.

Contact Club, Annunciation Church Hall, 218 Charminster Road, Bournemouth

The Annunciation church hall was home to the short-lived Contact Club.

Corpus Christi Guild Hall, 18 St. James’s Square, Bournemouth

The Guild Hall was connected to Corpus Christi Catholic Church and dabbled in live music intermittently.

Cuckoo Club / The Problem Patch, Ridge Hotel, 160 Burley Road, Bransgore

The Cuckoo Club opened on 1st April 1967 with a gig by Lisa and the Brethren. The club was situated in the Ridge Hotel in Bransgore and was operated by the same management team that had previously run the Ossemsley Manor in New Milton. A change of name to The Problem Patch occurred on 7th  July 1967 with a six hour gig by The Chosen Few, Lisa and the Brethren, The Bossmen and the J. J. Preston Sound. It remained a music venue on an and off into the seventies, but the hotel was converted into Woodside Lodge Care Home in 1983.

Domingo Club, 4 Albert Road, Bournemouth

Opened as a jazz club in May 1964 with Alan Kay and the Bluenotes. It is now an ice cream parlour.

Echo Social Club, 18 Albert Road, Bournemouth

The Art Deco Echo building on Richmond Hill housed a social club that promoted groups most Thursday nights in the late sixties.

Empire Hall / Liberal Hall, 243 Blandford Road, Poole

The Empire Hall was originally built in 1920 as a utility building that hosted roller skating, wrestling and variety shows, it was also home to the Hamworthy branch of the Salvation Army. The hall was converted into a 400 seated cinema in 1935 and was opened by the Mayor of Poole. The first film screened at the Empire was the Shirley Temple vehicle Baby Takes a Bow. In 1959 the cinema closed with the John Mills film Tiger Bay and became a popular music venue throughout the sixties. It is now home to the Hamworthy Liberal Club.

Epiphany Church Hall, Redbreast Road, Moordown, Bournemouth

Another church that dipped it’s toes into the uncertain world of rock ‘n’ roll. John Wetton made his debut here with The Corvettes.

Fairway Club, Fairway Holiday Park, Ringwood Road, Bournemouth

The Fairway Holiday Park club house hosted live music most weekends in the late sixties and early seventies. It is now a housing estate.

Ferndown Village Hall, Church Road, Ferndown

Ferndown village Hall, a regular stop off on the local gig circuit.

Fox Inn, Terrace Road, Bournemouth

In 1970, the new Fox Inn replaced the original pub which had stood on the opposite side of the road for nigh on a century. For a spell during the early seventies the Fox dabbled with live music but it never caught on. The New Fox Inn met the same fate as the Old Fox Inn (see below), death by bulldozer. 

The Globetrotter Club, Lagland Street, Poole

Situated in the Globe and Crown pub in Lagland Street. The first gig at the Globetrotters Club occurred on 21st March 1969 with a double header featuring The Onyx and The Mystic Tangent. The pub was demolished for housing.

Grasshopper R&B Club, Halfway Hotel, 141 Bournemouth Road, Poole
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The opening night as a music venue occurred on Monday 16th September 1963 with a performance by Greg Lakes first group, Unit 4, in the Badger Hall tagged onto the side of the building. There was then a re-branding to the Grasshopper R&B Club in January 1964 with an appearance by Chris Ryder and the Southern Sounds. In the seventies Everyman had a residency in the pub and one of it’s members, Jo Shaw, went on to form Doll By Doll with Jackie Leven who regularly performed during Everyman’s half-time break in the guise of John St. Field. The pub now trades as the Grasshopper.

Hare and Hounds, 212 Windham Road, Sprinbourne, Bournemouth

The Hare and Hounds, home to a very popular Folk Club. Gone the way of many an old pub, flattened for housing.

Hawthorns Hotel, 11 West Cliff Road, Bournemouth

The Hawthorns held regular gigs and dances in the spacious ballroom. Became the Wessex Hotel in the mid sixties but demolished in 2017 to make way for apartment blocks and a brand new Premier Inn.

Holdenhurst Village Hall, Holdenhurst Village Road, Bournemouth

The Holdenhurst Village Hall held sporadic dances and became a favourite rehearsal space for many local groups over the years. In the early eighties the reformed King Crimson used the hall to pull the songs together that would become the Discipline album.

Holy Trinity Church Hall, Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth

First used as a pop music venue in the winter of 1963. The church was deconsecrated in the late sixties and used as a Medieval Banquet Hall until it burnt down in suspicious circumstances in 1979. It is now an office block. Above before the fire, below after the fire.

Jolly Sailor, The Quay, Poole

An historic pub on Poole Quay. Live music never really caught on in the Sailor, possibly due to the Lord Nelson next door cornering the market.

Kinson Community Centre, Pelhams Park, Kinson, Bournemouth
Kinson Community Hall Pelahams 2

The Kinson Community Centre was, and still is, a multi-purpose facility that hired groups for weekly dances from September 1962.

Le Cardinal, Glen Fern Road, Bournemouth

Part of the Chelsea Village, Maison Royale and Outlook complex in Glen Fern Road. Le Cardinal was primarily a discotheque but promoted groups in the early days in direct competition to the Chelsea Village next door.

Le Kilt, Bourne Avenue, Bournemouth

Adjoined to the Swiss Restaurant in the square, Le Kilt was opened in 1963 by the restaurant’s owner Jack Ashworth and his partner Louis Brown. Although primarily a discotheque and trendy night club, Le Kilt did promote the odd gig from time to time.

Linden Hall Sports Club, 5 Knole Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth

Promoter David Stickley moved from the Bure Club, Mudeford when it shut down in 1967 to the Linden Hall Sports Club where he put on bands every Sunday night into the seventies.

Lord Nelson, The Quay, Poole

Another historic pub on Poole Quay. Still a popular live music venue to this day.

The Majestic Hotel, Derby Road, Bournemouth
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The Majestic Hotel in the Lansdowne was a popular Jewish hotel owned by Fay Schneider. In the sixties it was the home to the Majestic Dance Orchestra that once counted Robert Fripp of King Crimson and Andy Summers of The Police amongst its members.

Malibu Club / Bonnies Club / The Hole / The Georgian Club, Crown Hotel, 23 Market Street, Poole

The Crown Hotel is supposedly haunted by deformed twins that were born to the publican of the Inn back in the seventeenth century. In the sixties it became a popular music venue when the Malibu Club opened with The Nite People and The Bosssmen on 15th April 1967. It re-branded to Bonnie’s Club on Saturday 17th February 1968 with a gig by the Karl G Sound and then became The Hole on 4th May 1969 with Sunday St. Petersburg and finally the Georgian Club in the early seventies. The Crown Hotel is still trading as a gastro pub but live music is a thing of the past.

Memorial Halls:

Memorial Hall’s, much like Village Hall’s, became popular with enterprising promoters.

Memorial Hall, 275 Christchurch Road, West Parley, Ferndown
Memorial Hall, Tudor Road, Broadstone, Poole
Memorial Hall, 231 Station Road, West Moors
Memorial Hall, Ringwood Road, Verwood
Mudgees Place, The Whincroft, 576 Wimborne Road East, Ferndown

The Whincroft dipped its toe into the world of live music in the late sixties. In 1970 it became known as the strangely titled Mudgee’s Place. Another pub that was bulldozed for housing.

Neptune Bar / Trident Room, Undercliff Drive, Boscombe

The Neptune Bar and Trident Room upstairs, were situated in the Overstrand Cafe and bar complex opposite Boscombe Pier. Run by Bournemouth Borough Council, The Neptune hosted Pat Hamilton’s Soul Show every Monday and Friday with a disco and a live band in the early seventies. During the summer months local groups would entertain the holidaymakers and sporadically a big name such as Freddie Starr would headline a cabaret night. It is now part of the Harvester chain of restaurants (see below).

Oasis Club / Big Sound Club, Salisbury Hotel, 560 Old Christchurch Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth

The Salisbury Hotel was a grand building on the corner of Christchurch Road and Palmerston Road and next door to the Royal Arcade in Boscombe. On the 16th June 1964 the Oasis Club opened as a jazz venue with The Bourbon Street Six in the hotels ballroom. It became the Big Sound Club in 1965 but the hotel was demolished later that year. It was replaced by a bland low level building that now houses a McDonalds and the Riviera Bar.

Old Harry, 88 High Street, Poole

The Old Harry was a popular music venue for many years but is now a bar and eatery owned by Butler & Hops.

Palmerston, 536 Christchurch Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth

Built on the site of an old coaching Inn called The Ragged Cat, The Palmerston Arms became a lively music venue in the late sixties. Over the years it gained a reputation for being a rough house full of undesirables. Name changes to Deacons and then back to The Ragged Cat failed to halt its decline hastening its closure in 2009. It is now a Polish supermarket.

Parley Sports Club, 275 Christchurch Road, West Parley

A regular stop off for local groups on Saturday and Sunday nights. The club has recently been refurbished and can be hired out for private functions, weddings etc.

Pembroke Arms, 29-29 West Hill Road, Triangle, Bournemouth

Home to the very popular Free Express Folk Club. The pub now trades as the Goat and Tricycle.

Picardy Jazz Club / Scala Club, Picardy Hotel, 5 Meryrick Road, Lansdowne, Bournemouth

The Picardy Hotel was the home of the Picardy Jazz Club and later the sophisticated Scala Club. The venue flirted with pop groups for a short time in the mid-sixties but reverted back to cocktail jazz and lounge combos after it attracted a rowdy element. It later became the Embassy Royale Hotel but was demolished in 2000 and replaced by an apartment block.

Pier Ballroom, Bournemouth
Bournemouth Pier (2)

The Pier Ballroom hosted trad jazz nights starring local bands such as Pedro Harris and the Stour River Band, the Gerry Brown Jazzmen, the Bourbon Street Six and the Original Downtown Syncopators throughout the sixties, despite the downturn in popularity of trad nationally. It was also a regular venue for the popular local folk group Sinnermen and Sara. During the summer, the pier was the embarkation point for the Jazz and Twist Boat. Advertised as, “A Starlight Cruise for young and old along the spectacular Dorset coastline with continuous bar and buffet” the cruises took place on the Embassy paddle steamer.

Pinecliff Hotel / Malt and Hops, 147 Parkwood Road, Bournemouth
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The Pinecliff Hotel originally opened a Beat Club on 18th January 1964 with a gig by The Diamonds. Over the years it became a hugely popular music venue until its closure in 2009 when it was trading as the Malt & Hops. The building stood empty for seven years before a refurbishment by the Brewhouse & Kitchen chain in 2016 brought it back to life.

Poole College Hall, North Road, Poole

The grey building in the centre of the photograph housed a large hall with a spacious, well equipped stage. In the late sixties and early seventies the college’s student union hosted gigs by high profile bands such as The Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart, Hawkwind, The Groundhogs, Amen Corner, The Pretty Things, The Edgar Broughton Band, Caravan and Juicy Lucy. The North Road campus is still part of Bournemouth and Poole College.

Portman Hotel, 97 Ashley Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth

The home of a short lived folk club and rock gigs in the green room tagged on the left of the pub, which was also a well used rehearsal space. The pub was converted into flats in 2019.

Potters Arms, 1927 Blandford Road, Poole

A popular stop off on the local circuit for pop, rock and jazz bands. The pub closed in 2015 and was demolished to make way for an apartment block.

Quarterdeck Bar, The Promenade, East Beach, Undercliff Drive, Bournemouth

The Quaterdeck was owned by the Bournemouth Council and catered for holidaymakers by serving up warm lager, watered down beer and entertainment in the summer months. Local groups had to pass an audition to gain a residency lasting from the Easter weekend through to the beginning of September when the kids went back to school. It is now a Harry Ramsden’s fish and chip restaurant.

Regency Club, High Street, Christchurch

The Regency was the first night club to open in Christchurch after gaining an alcohol and dancing licence in June 1962. The premises were small and situated above a shop in Christchurch High Street, close to the old Fountain pub. The club only survived for a couple of years and the premises are now owned by a private business.

Richmond Room, Norfolk Hotel, Richmond Hill, Bournemouth

Dating from the 1860s, the Norfolk was renamed the Norfolk Royale Hotel in 1988. Mainly home to cocktail jazz in the hotel’s Richmond Room, although the odd pop group, usually of a country variety e.g. Wild Country, The Cincinnati Hog Farm, snuck under the radar from time to time.

Rockley Sands Holiday Park / Palladium, Hamworthy, Poole

A regular gig in the summer for groups to play to disinterested, sozzled holidaymakers and overactive kids. An insight into a musicians lot later in life when entertaining a similar sort of crowd in social clubs.

Sandacres, 3 Banks Road, Sandbanks, Poole

Popular pub and music venue in Sandbanks that dealt mainly in cocktail jazz, MoR combos and a regular gig for the gravely voiced folk singer Pete Franklin. The upper floors were always apartments, but the ground floor,which was the pub, is now a Tesco Express.

Santa Fe Club, The Northwick Hotel, 18 Owls Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth
Northwick Hotel 4

The Northwick Hotel was home to the Santa Fe Club, but is now Northwick House, a residential retirement home run by the Boscombe Rotary and Inner Wheel Housing Association.

Shipwright’s Arms, West Quay Road, Pool

A popular scrumpy pub and another regular gig for Pete Franklin. People came from far and wide for the jazz sessions in the basement. Demolished in 1977 due to subsidence.

S&S Club / Starlight Club / Jumpers Tavern / Sinatra’s / The G Spot, The Grove, Jumpers Corner, Christchurch
Popular local group The Sandstorms perform at the Starlight Club, Jumpers

The Candlelight Club opened in the early sixties as an intimate drinking club and smooth jazz venue. It became a hangout for pop groups in the mid-sixties and a couple of years later home to a popular singles club (grab a Granny night). Over the years it has been a haunt for bikers, a rock club and in 1999, as the G Spot, a club with problems, as it finally lost it’s licence over noise and nuisance issues. In 2010 it was demolished and replaced by an apartment block (see below).

St Aldhems Church Hall, 401 Poole Road, Parkstone, Poole

Another church hall commandeered for gigs during the early to mid-sixties. Now a multi-purpose community centre, ongoing entertainment hub and available to hire for private parties and events.

St. Andrews Hall, 4C Wolverton Road, Bournemouth
St Andrews Hall, Boscombe (2)

St. Andrews hall became a regular stop off on the gig circuit for a short period during 1963. It is currently occupied by a toddlers day nursery.

St. Saviours Church Hall, 32 Colmore Road, Iford, Bournemouth

Yet another church hall taking a gamble on live music to make some income.

Staccato Club, Antelope Hotel, High Street, Poole

The Antelope Inn claims to be the oldest hotel in Poole (over 500 years old) and was home to the short-lived Staccato Club. Still trading today.

Swinging Clink / Pandora’s, 671 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth
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The Swinging Clink was a small club situated upstairs over the convenience store (see photo). The club opened on 28th March 1969 with a gig by Renaissance Fare, The Prayer of Hades and Liz Biddle. In 1972 it became Pandora’s, a sleazy night club that hosted the odd rock band in between striptease artists and drag acts. It is now a private apartment.

Talbot Hotel, 559 Wimborne Road, Winton, Bournemouth

The Talbot Hotel began hosting groups in July 1972. The pub has suffered from noise complaints, a high turn over of management and rowdiness over the years, but is now vacant awaiting a new owner.

Tempo Club, Pinewood Hotel, Tricketts Cross, Ferndown

The Pinewood Hotel was owned by the Dickenson family. John Dickenson played organ in the Shy Limbs with Greg Lake and later King Harry who released a lone album in 1977. The hall and bar in the hotel was used as a rehearsal room for John’s bands and for a short time in the late sixties was home to the Tempo Club. The Pinewood was demolished to make way for housing many years ago.

Top Twenty Club, Town Hall, St Stephens Road, Bournemouth

Opened in 1885 as the palatial Hotel Mont Dore, it only traded for thirty years as the hotel was requisitioned in 1914 by the War Office for use as a military hospital. In 1919 the corporation bought the building and converted it into the Bournemouth Town Hall, opening in 1921. To the rear, in St. Stephens Road ,was the grand hall which was used for various events and functions including gigs in the late fifties, sixties and seventies. For a short while it was known as the Top Twenty Club. Eventually the hall was torn down and replaced by a smart office block.

Tuckton Tea Gardens, Tuckton, Christchurch

In the late sixties the Tuckton tea gardens sporadically hosted gigs in the summer months.

Westover Ice Rink, 29-39 Westover Road, Bournemouth
Ice Rink (4)

The Westover Ice Rink was built in 1930 above Westover Motors by the showrooms owner, Major Sharp. In the mid-sixties the managing director, John Neal, contracted groups to play for the skaters as they glided over the ice. The first group to play their was The Dowlands and the Soundtracks on 22nd November 1963. The gigs would cease during the summer months to make way for the hugely popular Ice Follies. By 1983 the future of the rink was in doubt, however, Chipperfields Circus stepped in and hosted a ten week show which the management hoped would secure its future. But it wasn’t to be, after numerous petitions and protests, the rink finally closed in 1991 and stood empty for twenty five years, before it was gutted and re-opened as a gym.

Wheelhouse / Number Ten Club, Wooton Mount, Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth

Opened in August 1963 by the national organisation, Youth Ventures Ltd., the aim of the Wheelhouse was to provide a space for young people to congregate. Consisting of a coffee shop, a games room, a hairdressing and beauty salon, a motorcycle workshop and large dance hall with stage, the Wheelhouse opened as a venue on Monday 9th September 1963 with Dave La Kaz and the G Men. In 1966 it was taken over by the council and re-branded the Number Ten Club on Saturday 17th December with a gig by The Bossmen, however, it reverted back to the Wheelhouse on 15th September 1967 with The Palmer James Group and The Bossmen again, plus a personal appearance by Frankie Vaughan. In 1981 the lease ran out and the Wheelhouse, which was now predominately a bikers club, moved to the crypt of St. Peters church until the club folded in 1989. The original site was eventually demolished and replaced by an apartment block.

White Hart, 61 Barrack Road Christchurch

Home to a folk club in the mid sixties. The former pub is now a dental practice.

Winkton Lodge Hotel, Salisbury Road, Winkton, Christchurch

A hotel out in the sticks north of Christchurch that regularly hosted live music throughout the Sixties. The property has been converted into private apartments.

Woodlands Hall / Woodlands Ballroom, 485 Ashley Road, Poole

The Woodland first put on groups downstairs from 1962 before opening the much larger upstairs room as the Woodlands Ballroom on 8th April 1964 with Duke D’Mond and the Baron Knights and Eddie Stevens and the Valiants. It is now the Parkstone Trades and Labour Club.

YMCA, 1-7 Jameson Road, Winton, Bournemouth

Sporadically used for live music, not as popular as the main YMCA in Westover Road.

Youth Clubs:

Youth clubs were popular in the fifties and sixties as safe places for kids to play games and socialise instead of hanging around street corners causing a nuisance. From my experience they were also places where you could put in some serious time learning how to smoke fags without throwing up, fraternise with the opposite sex and cajole one of the older boys, still underage, but with the feintest of five o’clock shadow’s, to buy cheap cider from the local off-licence. Most youth clubs hired groups once a month, usually on Fridays or Saturdays nights so as not to clash with school days, to entertain the youths. For me, East Howe Youth Club was where I fell in love with loud, live, rock music.

Catacombs Youth Club Club, Sacred Heart Church Hall, 1 Albert Road, Bournemouth

The original Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart was built in 1874 but greatly enlarged in 1898. It became a Grade 2 listed building in 1974. The Catacomb Youth Club Club was in the basement of the church, entry through the door on the corner of the church just to the right of the red car. A young Tony Hancock also honed his comedy routine on the same stage in 1940, but it was deemed to risque for the mainly pious audience and a large portion of them walked out. It was an experience he would never forget as Tony cleaned up his act for his next performance.

East Cliff Youth Club, East Cliff United Reform Church, Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth

Most Youth Clubs were either affiliated with churches or schools.

East Howe Youth Club, Hadow Road, Kinson, Bournemouth

Archimedes Principle seen here playing at the East Howe Youth Club circa 1967. The club operated in the assembly hall of East Howe Secondary Modern Girls School and in an adjacent room that had a coffee bar and lounge area. The school was renamed the Bourne Academy in 2010.

Embassy Youth Club, Brassey Road, Winton

The Embassy Youth Club flourished during the sixties, becoming a hub for the youth of Winton and Moordown to gather, socialise and play sports. During the Beat Boom groups played regularly at the weekends including Unit 4, Greg Lake’s first band.

Henry Brown Youth Social Centre, Cunningham Crescent, West Howe, Bournemouth

Sugar ‘n’ Spice play Henry Brown, a regular stop off on the youth club circuit. An early version of Bram Stoker used Henry Brown as a rehearsal space. Their bass player at the time, the former member of The Shadows Jet Harris, apparently rode a horse into the hall and ruined the parquet floor.

The Lagland Boys Club, Lagland Street, Poole

The venue where a young John Wetton saw a rough-arsed r&b band called The Classics and had a re-think on his musical future.

Moordown Congregational Church Youth Club, Priory View Road, Bournemouth

The Interlects, seen here playing in the Moordown church hall in 1964, were formed by members of the club.

Oakdale Boys Club, Learoyd Road, Poole

The Oakdale Boys Club hosted gigs and was the rehearsal space for Transit Sound who morphed into Spontaneous Combustion in 1970. Greg Lake who lived a stones throw away also played their many times with his early groups Unit 4 and The Time Checks. The huts have now been demolished and replaced by housing.

Oakmead Youth Club, Duck Lane, West Howe, Bournemouth

Oakmead Youth Club utilised a hall and club room within Oakmead school. In the 1960s the school was home to a very successful brass band that won many awards in its lifetime. It disbanded in the early 2012 when the school became an Academy.

Pokesdown Youth Club, Stourvale Road, Bournemouth

Pokesdown Youth Club became infamous for a mass fainting in 1968 when The Mystic Tangent allowed a gang of young club members into their small rehearsal room. Apparently the combination of loud music, strobe lighting and the excessive heat caused a small number of the teenagers to collapse with half a dozen girls needing hospital treatment. The story spread far and wide and attracted the attention of the national dailies.

Somerford Youth Club, Bingham Road, Christchurch

Another stop off on the youth club circuit. Still standing and still a youth centre.

St. Andrews Youth Club, Bennett Road, Charminster, Bournemouth

The Youth Club was run from the hall of of St. Andrews in Charminster, an Anglican church.

St. Georges Youth Club, Darby’s Lane, Oakdale, Poole

The Youth Club was attached to St Georges, a church of England church built in 1960.

Southbourne Methodist Youth Club, Wesley Hall, Southbourne Road, Bournemouth
Summerbee Youth Club, Summerbee School, Mallard Road, Bournemouth

Summerbee Youth Club was sited in Summerbee School where a teenage Andy Summers of The Police was educated. It is now an academy school called Bishop of Winchester.

New Church Youth Club, Tuckton Road, Southbourne, Bournemouth

Venues of Note Further Afield:

Chequers Inn, 75 High Street, Lytchett Matravers

The Chequers Inn possibly dates back as far as the fifteenth century and has been run as an inn, a restaurant and in the sixties and seventies a very popular music venue managed by Alan Chic and his wife.

Corn Exchange, High Street, Blandford

The Corn Exchange has stood in the main square of Blandford since 1734. Over the past three hundred years it has had many uses but in the sixties it was utilised as a music venue.

Chords Club, The Malt Loft, Emsworth Road, Lymington
Bluesology at St Thomas’ Parish Hall in 1966, Long John Baldry, vocals and Elton John, keyboards

The Chords Club was originally opened by Dave Burningham in the mid-sixties at St Thomas’ parish hall before it moved to the Malt Loft in Emsworth Road in 1969. The clubs biggest claim to fame occured on 31st May 1969 when the Northern Irish band Eire Apparent turned up to play with Jimi Hendrix in tow. At the time he was producing their album “Sunrise” and happened to have a night off from the Experience. Other famous names to play at the club included Rod Stewart, Elton John and Eric Clapton before they were famous. Dave is also good friends with Bill Wyman and is on speaking terms with the rest of the Rolling Stones.   

Ossemsley Manor, New Milton

Built in 1908 as a private house, the manor was sold to Harold Walker, chairman of  Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic Football Club, in the fifties and was run as a country club throughout the sixties and seventies by the professional golfer Ernest ‘Bunny’ Millward. After its closure in the mid-sixties, the management team moved onto the Ridge Hotel in Bransgore where they opened the Cuckoo Club. It has since been converted into private apartments.

Regal Cinema, Market Place, Ringwood

Built in 1868 as a corn exchange, the building was converted into a picture palace in 1914. In 1959 it ceased trading as a full time cinema and became a theatre and music venue up until its closure in 1972. Since then it has been used as a shopping arcade but is now boarded up awaiting a decision on its future. Below, a busy night at the Regal.

Steering Wheel Club, High Street, Dorchester

A popular stop off in the south for bands in the sixties. Was managed by Sam Fowler. It is now private premises.

Steering Wheel Club, 7 Maiden Street, Weymouth

Originally a taxi drivers social club, the venue was taken over by teenagers in the mid-sixties and run as a music venue by Norman Cheeseman. The building is still trading as a bar called Actors.

Sidney Hall, Newstead Road, Weymouth

Opened on 18th April 1900, the Sidney Groves Memorial Hall was originally used by the Church Lads Brigade. The small hall to the side and rear was used as a drill hall and as a live music venue in the sixties. The large main hall had many uses during its lifetime including a hospital during the war, a school, a roller skating rink, a boxing venue, a bingo hall and a theatre. In 1987 it was bulldozed to make way for an Asda supermarket.

Weymouth Pavilion, The Esplanade, Weymouth

Originally built in 1908, the Pavilion was commandeered for military use during the second world war. In 1947 it was handed back to the council and renamed The Ritz until it was destroyed by a fire in 1956. The building was rebuilt in 1958 and re-opened as a theatre and ballroom. It is still in use as a venue for variety shows, pantomimes and the odd rock and pop gig to this day.

White Buck Inn, Bisterne Close, Burley

Converted from a private house into the Holmehurst Hotel in 1957 by the Loose family, the premises became a pub and a venue for live music called the White Buck Inn in the summer of 1964. It is still a popular watering hole and restaurant.

23 thoughts on “More Venues

  1. Great blog, interesting that you mention the Starlight club being at Jumpers but it was Jumpers Tavern in the 70`s with many great bands playing there. I met my husband there in 1978 when he was playing guitar with the Rusty Blade band. He also later played in The Outsiders, The Slobs and laterly club band Lucky in the 80`s up until the year 2000.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment Lynette.
      Yes you are correct, the Starlight did become the Jumpers Tavern in the seventies. I moved to London in 1979 for ten years so missed most of the eighties in Bournemouth, although I do remember seeing Rusty Blade and The Slobs. I believe in the nineties it traded as Sinatra’s and the G Spot but lost its license at the turn of the millennium due to noise issues, it’s now a block of flats.
      John

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    1. Couldn’t agree more David, The Ritz and Hive was my second home while Len was there and many a memorable night was had.

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  2. Loved the Ritz where my band played one memorable night in 1969 along with resident band Room. I will never forget Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer. Thanks Len for all the good times.

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    1. Hi Hugh, What was your band called ? Were you local ? if so, I might have seen you, plus I could add you to the Bournemouth Groups page. Yeah, Fleetwood Mac were fantastic, Peter Green was and still is, one of my favourite guitarists, probably the best pure blues player to come out of England (sorry Eric). Howling Wolf, Jon Hiseman’s Colosseum, Gary Moore’s Skid Row, Jethro Tull and The Nice also stick in the mind, indeed thank you Len. Regards, John

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  3. Please get in touch…Hilary Goodinge. (daught
    er of Len Wallen and I worked with him on choosing the groups )

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    1. Hi Hilary, Thanks for getting in touch. I can’t tell you how much you and your dad shaped mine and many other young music fans lives back in the day. The Ritz and then the Hive were my second homes for a couple of years and the memories of those nights is one of the reasons I became such a huge music fan and also the reason I am running this website today. Thanks for everything, John

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  4. What a great blog, thanks for taking the time to compile it. I just caught the tail end of the Hive before it closed down but used to go to many other places mentioned. There was another St Andrews Youth Club on Kinson Road, on the left heading towards Kinson just before the school, was the haunt of budding greabos!

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    1. Thanks Ron, you are correct, there was another St Andrews youth club in my old stamping ground of Kinson. Not sure if they put on live music there or not in the 60s / 70s though. John

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  5. The Bowling Alley in Glen Fern Road was definitely open in 1968 as I worked in the café for 6 weeks in the summer. I also bowled in a league for a few years prior to that.
    John

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    1. Thanks for that piece of information John. After a bit of digging around on the internet, I have found out that you are indeed correct and a bowling was opened in the basement by the Earl Mountbatten of Burma no less, in May 1964. I will update the article on the Chelsea Village accordingly. John

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  6. Yor review of the New Fox in Bournemouth brings back memories of lugging my bass amp and PA up those pesky stairs. My three piece band Sterling had a weekly residency there for several months. The Foxv enue ended when Warwick, the landlord was badly assaulted by burglars. Great shame he was a lovely chap. and it was always a pleasant evening.

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    1. Hi Barry, I used to be in a band and I know all too well that lugging heavy amps up endless stairs is a thankless chore. Just glad I was never in a band with a Hammond Organ. Thanks for getting in touch and relaying your reminisces of the Fox, John

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      1. Ah! I remember helping a muso up the 100 concrete stairs at the Locarno Ballroom in Coventry. I never volunteered to help anyone with a Hammond again! I don’t remember anyone helping with my bass amp….

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      2. I remember humping a very heavy, homebuilt Leslie cabinet up a narrow, rickety fire escape back in the late sixties. When we reached the top we realised, to our dismay, that the bloody thing was too wide to go through the door. We then had to carry it back down the stairs, hump it around to the front of the building and negotiate a narrow staircase in the main entrance, whilst dodging arriving punters in the process. It was at that point that I realised a roadie’s life wasn’t for me and if I ever joined a band, which I did a couple of years later, I wouldn’t join one with a Hammond player. So, I feel your pain. I also worked with a bass player who, after every gig as he carried his humongous bass cab out to his car, muttered “I wish I had taken up the piccolo”. John

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  7. Hi. My band Amoeba (Blues & Modern Jazz 1972-75) played in various locations around Bournemouth including regular slots at the Badger Bars (roughly at the same time as Arms and Legs who featured Joe Jackson). We also played the Chequers Inn at Litchet Maltravers where they also featured regularly. Guitarist Rob Koral now a well respected guitarist, now plays in the Zoe Schwarz Band ‘Blue Commotion’ with his wife Zoe (Still based in the Bournemouth area).

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    1. Thanks David, I remember seeing Arms and Legs at the Badger Bars a couple times, they were an excellent band. Have seen Rob Koral and Blue Commotion a few times as well, another good band. John

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