The Scene Club, Ham Yard, London

I arrived in London early this morning for a (business) meeting in Victoria, so took the opportunity to drop by Ham Yard, which is a few minutes walk from Piccadilly Circus, off Great Windmill Street. The early commute into London was typically unpleasant. All twelve carriages on the train from Leighton Buzzard into London were packed and, with the warm weather refusing to entirely give way, the London Underground heaving as usual, and with a little less than an hour to spare, I very nearly gave up the idea at Green Park and stayed on the Victoria Line train.

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The view towards Ham Yard, from Great Windmill Street

In case you’re wondering (in which case you haven’t been paying attention), Ham Yard was the location of  The Scene Club, one of the most important Mod clubs in London during the early sixties. Almost as importantly, it is a location in my next book.

Arriving at the junction of Ham Yard and Windmill Street, I was not optimistic that the basement formerly occupied by the little club that had played host to the likes of The Who and The Animals in 1964 had survived redevelopment. The buildings to the right and rear of the picture on the left are all new, the older buildings having been cleared away to create the new Ham Yard Hotel (the building in the background).

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At the rear of The Lyric, public house

Happily however, as I entered Ham Yard and turned left, to the rear of The Lyric (the pub on the corner), there it was. Tucked away, in the far corner behind a wheelie bin and not exactly picturesque (I don’t think it was ever that – not even in 1964). The doors leading to the stairway down to the basement and the old Scene Club.

Of course, I’ve no idea what is down there now or whether any sign of the former club still exists. It’s been fifty years since The Scene closed its doors to the dancers, bands and faces of sixties mod London. But I’d very much like to find out. Even if there is no sign, it would be great to have a look around the old place.

Alas, that is for another day, if indeed it is possible at all and it may not be. Unless, of course, someone out there knows who owns/has use of the building now and can pull a few strings for me. There’s a pint in it!

Ham Yard, London

Ham Yard, London

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Basement entrance to The Scene Club, London

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12 Responses to The Scene Club, Ham Yard, London

  1. Craig Sams says:

    If you’re serious about going in for a look get in touch – if it’s connected to the hotel then I can probably get us in for a look. I’d love to have a peep inside, too

    I’ll drop an exploratory line to find out more

  2. Eileen Barnes says:

    Used to go to The Scene, also Disc (la discotheque) in Wardour St. My favourite music memories are ska (bluebeat).

    • JULIAN AXWORTHY says:

      Skatalites Guns of Navarone. Rudolph Alphonso Phoenix City, Prince Buster; Al Capone, 10 Commandments of love. They bring back memories?

  3. Gloria Riccio says:

    Hi I loved the music played the Scene, it was the place to be seen. Went for the dancing and the records. Also went to the Disc, The Flamingo, whisky a go go amongst lots if others along with the coffee bars, ie Coffee An. I was in my very early teens. I’m 71 now but the memories are all still there.

    Yesterday I had to go to a meeting at the Ham Yard Hotel and took this photo. (Sorry it won’t let me post photo here. ) it is a photo of the doors to the club.

  4. JULIAN AXWORTHY says:

    I was 16 years old when I first went to the Scene in March 1966. Went there every week until about August. Me and my friends from the Wimbledon area used to score some Dubes (French blues) and we’d dance all night until about 6am then the club would break and then start a morning session. One night I saw a fight just outside the Scene between this small young black kid and this bigger white dude. The black kid was kicking ass and we were laughing. We went off to buy some gum and this gang shouted “That’s one of them” at me and after a brief chase I got a good kicking and stabbed in the back,. Not too bad but the cops called my parents who realized I wasn’t fishing and that was end of my Scene days. I now live in North Carolina but the memories live forever and the music too

  5. JULIAN AXWORTHY says:

    Going Thursday to see the Who in Nashville. Watching a Who interview on YouTube and they mentioned the Scene and then I started digging and here I am. Look forward to your book if that’s still the plan

  6. Susan says:

    Could you tell when it is out thank you

    • Andy says:

      Hi Susan,

      I’ve just uploaded “The Scene Club” to the publisher – the book should be out by Wednesday this week. Available at amazon.co.uk. I’ll post the link as soon as it is available. 🙂

  7. Richard Morgan says:

    Hello Andy. I was a regular to the Scene. Remember Lionel on the door, Sandy playing the records, The High Numbers (Who) and others. Still have the records I bought there at the sell off. Favourite records played High Keys Que Sera and Reflections Just Like Roneo and Juliet. Pioneering Mod meeting place. All nighters ! Would be good to contact others there ! Please keep me posted on what you do.

    • Andy says:

      Hi Richard, thanks and welcome. Did you see The Animals at the Scene? My book was inspired by interview I did with John Steel – their drummer – many moons ago. Regards, Andy

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