Eel Pie – the south’s Cavern Club
Everyone has heard of the Cavern Club, but few know of its southern equivalent on Twickenham’s Eel Pie Island. Yet this club, which prospered here in the early Sixties, was every bit as important as its Liverpool counterpart: nurturing The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, David Bowie and many others. Its story, and that of the remarkable man who ran it as a social experiment in helping troubled youth, is just one of the lesser-known topics explored in Secret Twickenham, Whitton, Teddington and The Hamptons.
Many secret stories concern the River Thames, which is the thread that pulls everything together as it runs through the area. The Thames brought work to the watermen, ferrymen and fishermen; provided food from its once-abundant stocks of salmon, eels and trout; and offered the perfect transport artery to the city of London.
The rich loam along the river attracted market gardeners, who took their rich harvests to Covent Garden, and won this area the title of The Garden of England. In the eighteenth century, the Thames brought the rich, famous and distinguished, who built grand riverside houses and made this the cultural hub of England. And, of course, the jewel in the area’s crown is Henry VIII’s palace at Hampton Court. But Henry was by no means the main architect of the palace, and there are other, equally key, individuals whose contributions are explored in the book.
There are also unexpected stories uncovered about the film studios at Twickenham and Teddington, and how Twickenham became the home of English rugby.