Clubs & Venues


map 2

The next major project at the Guildhall’s AAA Exhibition is to create a series of posters about Pompey Pop’s clubs and venues. The map above was published years ago in the News, so it’s a starter but I’d like to hear suggestions and stories for the walls

One thing is to distinguish between clubs and venues. For example, the Oddfellows Hall was a venue that at various times hosted rock & roll, the Rendezvous (R&B) Club and even a Folkhouse concert (below). Then in the 1980s it was resurrected as the Hornpipe

Hester poster

Similarly, the Birdcage is marked on the map but that building also housed the Court School of Dancing (with rock & roll gigs) and later the Brave New World and the Pack – and the Birdcage Club was also in a previous venue – Kimbells

So what I’d like to compile with your help is as comprehensive a list as we can manage over as long a period as possible. Thanks.


Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

20 thoughts on “Clubs & Venues

  1. Dave you have to add the Star Club above Burtons in Commercial Rod. Tiny staircase going up with the gear and jealous boyfriends waiting outside with razors to cut up the Furys when we came down.

  2. The Cambridge, The Portland, The Old House at Home?

  3. Thanks both – I was thinking maybe one poster on pubs, also the Contented Pig, the Star, the Salutation …

  4. Ricky’s Club in Goldsmith Avenue, opposite train station.

  5. St Mary’s Arms had Rockabilly ( although only on vinyl I believe) and a few more had Folk Clubs like the Old House at Home

  6. Black Cat Café Kingston Cross

  7. The Service and Ex Serviceman’s Club in Copnor Rd Hilsea. Must never forget The Pure Drop pub. Perhaps you should also have a poster for the Churches that ran the youth groups that gave many of us a chance to play and to listen.

  8. maybe someone else will remember this one…I had the impression for years that it was in my imagination , then a couple of years ago my sister presented me with a framed poster (now in AaA ) of The Soul Society and The Blackout together at…..”THE GROTTO”
    on Hayling Island…………….Shortlived maybe but Robin Ford and his mate whos name escapes me used to run it ..In the days of D R Productions I reckon
    Basically I think it was the café turned into a club at Beachlands opposite the fun fair , where the buses used to turn round ….. single story white building ……that’s it..I rest my case

  9. Pub wise, The Railway & Talbot for the folkies, yoof clubs at churches, Red Door Club at St Cuthbert’s & St Nicks in Copnor. Was Clarence Pier ever a venue? of the building by Southsea Castle before the D Day museum was built?

    • Clarence Pier was definitely
      Saw Wayne County there and of course The Mooks
      Also there was The Rock Gardens scene of the famous Emptifish riot
      Also I remember seeing The Stranglers at The Centre Hotel where I did my first ever promotion,putting on The George Hatcher band

  10. Rendezvous Jazz Club, Ashburton Road and its temporary residence at the Dockyard Club, Onslow Road. The Cobden Arms, Arundel Street. Wimbledon Park Social Club. Portsmouth Art College – saw John Fahey there in the ’60’s. The old stables near the Guildhall – T. Rex and Alexis Korner played there. Students’ Union – Black Sabbath gigged. The open air part of South Parade Pier – Family etc.
    Must be loads more!

    • So , I found my poster from Union House Black Sabbath gig ..one for A A A i think……………someone out there seems to think the support band on the night may have been better than the brummies ……………Thanx for that !!!!

  11. Centre Hotel for folk in the 70s. Wasn’t there a folk club in the Hornpipe? I seem to remember seeing the Albion Band there, would have been late 80s/early 90s

    • Yes, there was indeed a folk club at The Hornpipe – first met Martin Carthy there, and saw Sean Cannon from The Dubliners there too. I remember Sean Cannon did a superb rendition of “The Last of The Great Whales” that night, acapella. Stunning. Nice little club.

  12. Keep them coming

  13. Not forgetting Hillside Youth Club

  14. Young Conservatives Club in the basement of Oddfellows Hall Fratton Road, The cinema on the west side of Fratton Road at the top end of Arundel St. Turned into a Bingo house. We played there in the intervals. Backstage Bryan Baker and I bumped guitars together. Still have the black paint from his burns bass on the headstock of my Strat. Then there are the schools like St. Edmunds, Eastney Modern,. If I recall correctly we also used to play at St.Marys Hospital Social club.
    If you gather oiur collective memories onto a map you would realize that Pompey was a hotbed of live music

  15. 1st………..lets hear it for the girls at St Edmunds….(great rehersal times)
    2nd………lets hear it for great times at Manor Court Club

  16. Didn’t they used to have some dodgy music at the RMA? Can’t think who that might have been 😉

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