‘The Birth of Rhythm and Blues ‘
: at Arts Richmond’s Stables Gallery at Orleans House

Curated by Michele Whitby

Rolling Stones

A fresh faced Mick Jagger at the club in the 60’s
© Mike Peters

1 August – 29 September 2013

Celebrating the unique musical heritage of Eel Pie Island in Twickenham, this exhibition brings together photographs, accounts and memorabilia of the musicians and club-goers, from the vitality of the late 50s Jazz era, to the explosive energy of the R & B and Rock ‘n’ Roll packed 60s.   The exhibition traces the story of how ‘Eelpiland’ came into being, the history of the hotel and the dance hall, and the political and social significance of Arthur Chisnall’s music club for young people.

With photographs featuring Cyril Davies, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, Rod Stewart, The Artwoods amongst many other musicians, the exhibition includes the first known colour images of the Island recently discovered in the archive of photographer and jazz musician Mike Peters.  Video work showing includes the historic 9 minute ‘Look at Life’ video about Eel Pie Island, along with an extract of the project’s own documentary film.

Many of the exhibits have never been shown in public to date, with many former musicians and club-goers coming forward with memorabilia from ‘Eelpiland Passports’ and gig listing cards to articles and photographs.

Passport membership card - Eelpiland - sent in by B Wentzell

Passport membership card – Eelpiland – sent in by B Wentzell

With a 1960s record player, along with a selection of albums from musicians who played on Eel Pie Island, you can choose the music to listen to as you explore an exhibition packed with fascinating objects, images and stories. Curated by Michele Whitby, a long-term resident of the island and co-author of the book ‘Eel Pie Island’.

Click here to read the review on Afterword.

Tuesday to Saturday 1pm to 5.30pm

Sunday and Bank Holidays 2pm to 5.30pm

Café open Tuesday to Sunday 9.30am to 5.30pm.

The exhibition opens at 1pm on Thursday 1st August 2013. Free Entry.

Arts Richmond’s Stables Gallery, at Orleans House

Gig listings - Eelpiland - sent in by Barrie Wentzell

Gig listings – Eelpiland – sent in by Barrie Wentzell

For opening hours and directions click here

Ad from Eelpiland - Wednesdays The Rolling Stones - sent in by Barrie Wentzell

Ad from Eelpiland – Wednesdays The Rolling Stones – sent in by Barrie Wentzell


18 Responses to Exhibition

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  • Todd Allen says:

    Dear Eelpiland friends,

    Congratulations on doing such a great job on all of the new and exciting projects you have presented to preserve the vital heritage of the historic Eel Pie Island, specifically it’s musical and cultural importance!

    The amount of time and effort that you’ve all contributed has really paid off, and I believe that you have presented an ambitious and admirable set of events of which you should be proud.

    Eel Pie Island played a pivotal role in the short but influential career of Cyril Davies and he shall be always be inextricably tied to the venue and the cultural shift that was in progress.


    Todd Allen

  • Paul Aitkenhead says:

    I visited this excellent exhibition this afternoon and plan to visit again next Sunday or one afternoon next week. I was only able to stay a short time this afternoon and so I may have missed part of the exhibiition; I did not see any mention or reference to the Strawbs, who are a very notable local band. The Strawbs are very much alive and have been together for over forty years and still going strong. I was particularly impressed with the way the exhibiition was structured and managed to cover some of the less well known bands such as Leafhound and the powerful Atomic Rooster.
    Thank you and best wishes
    Paul Aitkenhead

  • Sue Palmer - project manager says:

    Thank you Todd – that means a lot to us!

  • admin says:

    A recommendation from Discovery Richmond!

  • Helen Smith says:

    Sadly, I ran out of time and have missed this exhibition! Assuming that its popularity has not meant it is being extended, perhaps the exhibits are going to be viewable somewhere else in the future?
    In other words, will I get another chance? Or just have to be content with reading the book my friend has bought?

  • admin says:

    Hi Helen

    The exhibition is still on now – until Sunday 29th September, so hope you get the chance to visit.
    We are in dialogue with other local museums about future hosting of the exhibition, so keep in touch!

    Sue Palmer, Project Manager.

  • valerie Howard says:

    Mickey Snapper was a cousin of my mother’s. I know that he was a colourful character and did meet him once. May not be able to get to the Exhibition in time. How do I find out more?

    Regards, Valerie Howard

    • admin says:

      Hi Valerie,

      I have sent you an email.
      Do click though to ‘Book’ via our Menu and you will find links to the books about the Island and Hotel.

      Best wishes

      Sue Palmer (Project Manager)

  • Steve Milton says:

    I didn’t even know this exhibition was on!! Will try to get there tomorrow.

    My uncle and auntie used to run the hotel and my parents and I spent most of our holidays there, my mum helping behind the bar. I was only young at the time so missed out on the vibe, but I was allowed to sit on the steps just inside the entrance to see the Yardbirds . I must have been about 10 at the time. It was my job to sweep up the ballroom on a Sunday morning when i was there. It was very atmospheric being there on your own in the half light and all those trad jazz images on the walls. I had an autograph book behind the main bar in the hotel with some cracking autographs but when the hotel closed it was lost. I also remember talking to the Overlanders on the lawn which backed on to the Thames before they performed ( they released a version of Michelle, the Lennon and Macartney song ) They were brilliant, exciting times for a youngster but looking back I wish i had been older to appreciate the scene (and the girls lol). If I can give anyone any information regarding the hotel etc. please don`t hesitate to contact me .

  • admin says:

    Steve. Have you got a copy of Michele Whitby’s book about Eel Pie Island? It’s listed under ‘Book’ through our menu on this site. That book has lots about the history of the hotel. The book published as part of this project, has lots of fantastic stuff about the Hotel Music Club too of course.

    Hope you got to the exhibition Steve!

    Sue Palmer (Project Manager)

  • George Hill says:

    My band (usually called the CHARGE in those days) played many times as support band at Eel Pie Island. Supporting, among other names, Pink Floyd, the Herd, Artwoods. Our drummer in those days was the inimitable Lloyd Ryan and who “presented” us with Phil Collins (his star pupil) before moving onwards. Phil played regularly with us for a while. Keyboard was the hugely talented Phil Mead – who is making a bit of a name for himself these days in the UK’s jazz field. Peter Mariosa and Gary LePort (both of Rod Stewart, Dimensions) were regular guitarists with us.

  • admin says:

    Hello EPI folks…I’m writing about the early London R&B days–specifically about that crossover from jazz to R&B that happened in the early ’60s. Since Eel Pie Island was so much at the forefront of that, I would love to chat with anyone who frequented the club back then to see the likes of Alexis Korner, Cyril Davies, Long John Baldry, Chris Barber, the Yardbirds, etc.

    Thank you.

    Stephen Tow
    stephen [@] stephentow.com

  • Mary williams says:

    I didn’t get to see the exhibition, but in the late 40’s? Or 50’s my uncle used to play at eel pie island. He had the Hugh Douglas band. I wondered if you have heard of him. I’m anxious to get any info about his performances on EPI.

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