Goodbye Kimbells?


There’s a story in today’s Pompey News that the Osborne Road Casino is to close – many of us recall it better as Kimbells or the original Birdcage, Basin’s for a while and even the Playboy Club (1970s). Here’s a night from 1947 which combines my fondness for Pompey Pop and Hampshire Cricket

Kimbells 1946

OK now to start a list of great names that played there: Yardbirds (with Clapton), Led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart, Fairport Convention (with Denny & Thompson), Manfred Mann, John Lee Hooker with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, the Moody Blues, Georgie Fame & Blue Flames, Family, Ten Years After, Terry Reid, the In Crowd, the Birds (with Ronnie Wood), Charlie & Inez Foxx, Free, Taste, Colosseum, Wilko Johnson …


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

16 thoughts on “Goodbye Kimbells?

  1. Did the 1947 Cricket dinner dance give the name of the band that night?

  2. No, afraid not Mick. It says

    “Dancing 9.30pm to 1am, interrupted by special Dances with Prizes” also a Cabaret “by kind permission of J Jeffreys esq., Kindly arranged by Harry Wain esq, MCs Ernest Wyatt esq & Vernon Austin esq”

    Lots of esquires then!

  3. I remember seeing the great Mr Jimmy Reed playing there, probably backed by The Groundhogs.

  4. Oh Dear me! that is terrible!(LOL) probably Roy Richards and his Band , they were resident.

  5. As well as Wilko we also put on the likes of The Steve Gibbons Band, The Chevalier Brothers, The Guana Batz,and the mighty Emptifish during Basins’ tenure at Kimbells
    Great times!!

  6. I was there for Terry Reid, as I recall there were about 6 of us! Our gig on 01/01/1972 was I believe the final one there and featured Keith Christmas, Quiver and Gary Farr.

  7. What a shame. The early days of the Birdcage and the Sunday night sessions bring back such fond memories. Exciting times for us ‘spotty youths’ !!

  8. I share Oscar’s and Graham’s fond memories of those early R&B days but another special memory for me is being in one of the local bands that played there on 31 December 1969 as we waved goodbye to the sixties for ever.

  9. Pretty Things, Atomic Rooster….did Skip Bifferty ever play there ? They were a favourite of mine, used to see them quite a bit at the Soul Parlour in North End. I think the piano player used a real upright piano which I was told was theirs, just threw a microphone (Reslo?) in the top and that was it !

    • Goodness me, there’s a name to conjure with. the lovely Graham Bell, the singer with the last band you mention, was an old chum. I learned recently from a mutual frined that, sadly, he died in 2008. He did a lot more than just sing with Skip Bifferty. check him out.

  10. I remember Kimbells ballroom. We saw bands such as Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Heinz (Telstar), The Beatles (o ne of their first gigs) and The Dave Clark Five. Can anyone tell me if the Southsea Jazz Club was in Kimbells or elsewhere in the town. I do remember that Manfred Mann was the resident band there. A group of us went regularly – how did we manage to fit in. We danced at Kimbells, the Jazz club and The South Parade Pier. We used to go to the Jazz concerts in the Pier theatre on Sunday nights – Acker Bilk, Johnny Ball and his Jazzmen, Chris Barber and more. Those were the days ….. I just stumbled on your page when looking at news of Portsmouth in the 50’s and 60’s.

  11. Thanks Sally and hello. Some nice memories. There was the Rendezvous Jazz Club which started in Asburton Road then went to the Dockyard Club (Onslow Rd), the Pier and finally Oddfellows Hall – was that it? One correction though – Kimbells ‘sister’ venue was the Savoy and the Beatles played there (Sunday night April 1963) a couple of weeks after playing the Guildhall, not Kimbells. They’d been playing two/three years by then – their first southern gig was in Aldershot.

    • Thanks for that. Yes it was the Rendezvous Jazz Club. I’ve been away from Portsmouth (Southampton Road, Paulsgrove) for 40 years and these are priceless memories and I am so pleased that I found your site.

  12. Nice to have you with us Sally! Try this website too: http://www.pompeypop.co.uk/Pompey_Pop/Welcome.html

    And check out Mick Cooper’s site

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