The Troubadour, London

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The Troubadour
Troubadour, London, 18 Apr 2009.jpg
The Troubadour
Location Old Brompton Road
London, SW5
United Kingdom
Public transit London Underground Earl's Court
Owner Giles McNamee
Type Coffee house and music venue
Genre(s) Folk
Opened 1954; 63 years ago (1954)

The Troubadour at 263–267 Old Brompton Road in Earls Court, established in 1954, is one of the last remaining coffee houses of its era in London, with a club room in the cellar famous as one of the primary venues of the British folk revival in the late 1950s and 1960s. The club was one of several London coffee house venues at which notable musicians played; other such venues included Les Cousins and Bunjies.


The club has played host to a number of major artists in various stages of their careers. Notable among these have been:

The club is, however, chiefly associated with folk music. Notable artists appearing under this banner have been:

Many of these acts are captured performing at the venue in the photographs of Alison Chapman McLean.[13]

Behind the scenes[edit]

A key name in the history of the Troubadour is that of Anthea Joseph (1940–1997),[14] who organised many of the folk events at the club and was often credited as "the Manager" of the venue. It is widely reported that when Bob Dylan arrived in London for the first time he was given no instruction other than that of his mentor Pete Seeger to seek out "Anthea at the Troubadour". In 1968 she joined Witchseason Productions as Joe Boyd's assistant.

During Bruce Rogerson's ownership of the Troubadour it had not been used as a music venue for some years, so he asked The Flynn Brothers to manage some music evenings in the downstairs cellar, thereby making it a music club again. The Flynn Brothers revived the folk music scene there by bringing back notable artists such as Martin Carthy, John Renbourn, Davey Graham and Bert Jansch.

Decor and ambience[edit]


The Troubadour's influence was felt around the UK. The Bristol Troubadour Club fulfilled a similar role in the west of England, but with a more bluesy feel.

The Troubadour in Los Angeles was a copy of the London club (it even copied the sign above the door) that opened in 1957 and runs still today. From the beginning it was a much larger venue but with a similar ethos.


The Troubadour has had four proprietors since its opening:[15]

  • 1954–72, Michael Van Bloemen[16] and Sheila Van Bloemen, founders of the venue
  • 1972–98, Bruce Rogerson
  • 1998–2015, Simon Thornhill and Susie Thornhill.
  • 2015–present, Giles McNamee.

Recent history[edit]

The Troubadour is now a thriving cafe-bar and restaurant and the club continues to host live music and poetry, mainly by performers who, in the club's tradition, write their own material; more recent artists to pass through the club include Jamie T, Gak Jonze, Jack Peñate, The Dead 60s, Surianne, Chris Singleton, Paolo Nutini and Morcheeba. The performance space has been doubled in size but is still an intimate venue of just 120 seats. Upstairs, the café itself also continues to thrive.[17]


  1. ^ Michael Feeney Callan, Richard Harris – Sex, Death and the Movies (ISBN 1 86105 766 0), pp. 62–64.
  2. ^ The Times, Saturday, 7 April 1956.
  3. ^ Stephen Davis, Old Gods Almost Dead (ISBN 1 85410 866 2).
  4. ^ The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan#Traveling to England.
  5. ^ "Still on the Road 1963 – Concerts and Recording Sessions.
  6. ^ Simon & Garfunkel#First breakup
  7. ^ "Elton John And Leon Russell Reunite On 'The Union'", NPR, 20 October 2010.
  8. ^ Led Zeppelin Timeline.
  9. ^ The Daryl Runswick Quartet 1973.
  10. ^ "Troubadour anniversary tribute".
  11. ^ Independent review. Archived June 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Tim Cumming, "Sandy Denny Tribute, The Troubadour, London", The Independent, 22 April 2008.
  13. ^ Richard Fariña at The Troubadour: A collection of photos by Alison Chapman McLean.
  14. ^ "Obituary: Anthea Joseph", The Independent, 8 January 1998.
  15. ^ Tim Cumming, "Would you like Dylan with your coffee?", The Telegraph, 6 May 2004.
  16. ^ Graham Hassell, "Obituary: Michael van Bloemen", The Guardian, 18 February 2009.
  17. ^ "Welcome to The Troubadour", Troubadour.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°29′20″N 0°11′30″W / 51.48889°N 0.19167°W / 51.48889; -0.19167