Cyril Davies... British Blues Harp Pioneer
The Roundhouse, 83-85 Wardour Street, Soho, London, W1D 6QD.
No. 83–85 Wardour Street: The Round House Public. From at least 1756 until 1862, this public house at the south corner of Brewer and Wardour Streets was known as the Blue Cross; in the latter years the name was changed to the Round House, possibly in reference to the rounded north-east corner of the building. The present building was erected in 1892; the corner still forms a rounded angle. Taken from: 'Brewer Street and Great Pulteney Street Area', Survey of London: volumes 31 and 32: St James Westminster, Part 2 (1963), pp. 116-137.
The Round House is now called The O Bar
Cyril Davies and Bob Watson set up the London Skiffle Club in September, 1955, in a first floor room at the Roundhouse pub at the corner of Wardour St and Brewer St.
Later Cyril and Alexis Korner changed it to the London Blues and Barrelhouse Club. It ran until 1961. The room is still there and you can see how it looks today by clicking here for a 3D view (in Java).
The move to more blues music initially led to the loss of most of the skiffle fans but after a slow start the new club rapidly became a focal point for the increasing numbers of blues enthusiasts who were able to see Cyril and Alexis Korner performing with UK and American blues and folk performers such as Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Slim, Little Brother Montgomery, Jack Dupree, Little Brother Montgomery, Speckled Red, Derroll Adams and Rambling Jack Elliott.
The regular local performers were pianists, Keith Scott/Dave Stevens, guitarist, Geoff Bradford, Lisa Turner, banjo, and washboard player, Mike Collins. Other visitors to the club included the McEwan brothers, Long John Baldry, and Ralph McTell. Long John Baldry revisited the pub and was interviewed there for the TV documentary on his life just before his death. The BBC once reported from there during a broadcaste of the London regional programme Town and Country.
There was also a regular monthly folk night run by Bob Davenport. Bob's friend David Elvin did sketches of the artists. Here is a sample. The originals are quite large.
This page and all its contents, ©2012, all rights reserved.
Webmaster: Roger Trobridge