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The Downstairs Club

Zoot Money,Councillor Christopher Mayne and others

As a commemorative plaque is unveiled at the Lansdowne in Bournemouth, here we are to give you a little insight into its origins.

“If you have to ask me if I remember you, I don’t, I don’t even remember myself,” offered Zoot Money to the chuckling 50-strong crowd that spilled out over the pavement and into the bus lane at the unveiling of ‘The Downstairs Club,’ commemorative plaque.

As Zoot continued to pay homage to the club, the crowd nodded and laughed in agreement as he spoke of its founder Jerry Stooks, “We saw the whole thing in London and thought,’we could do this here, plus we needed a place to get away from our parents and meet girls!’

Originally founded in 1961, The Downstairs Club quickly became a much-loved and innovative addition to the burgeoning Rock and Roll scene just developing in the UK.

Zoot continues, “Some said Jerry was nuts but he just didn’t see any barriers and we all loved the fact that no two nights were the same.”

Such affection was not misplaced as the venue attracted Rock and Rollers all over the county and beyond, with line-ups featuring Eric Clapton, Manfred Mann, The Who and Zoot Money himself as well as other musicians that went on to become famous with other bands.

As Sue Levy, whose second husband was drummer with The Zoots recalls, “It was 1963 and everyone up till then was used to playing in hotels which were just dives! Then this venue came along which was wonderful, it was an old pub with a grotty stone floor and we hadn’t had anything like it here before.”

Now the plaque has been unveiled for all to appreciate and understand the significance of this club it is perhaps summed up best by those who were there. Sue Levy believes that it is very important to remember these times in this way because “it commemorates a bygone era.”

Molly Heinrich

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