VETERAN rockers have paid tribute to a legendary music club in Bournemouth by erecting a commemorative plaque.
The Downstairs Club was launched by double-bass player Jerry Stooks on May 3, 1961, in a cellar under a green grocer on Holdenhurst Road.
It was the town’s first permanent music venue specifically for rock music and future superstars including Eric Clapton and The Who performed there.
Al Kirtley, who played there himself, described recently feeling nostalgic about the venue and decided to set about reuniting some of the old acts, including Zoot Money, and putting up a plaque where music history was once made.
On Sunday his plan came to fruition when Zoot Money and mayor of Bournemouth, Cllr Chris Mayne, unveiled the plaque before reminiscing about old times.
“It was just super to see them again,” said Al. “I was sitting in the music room of the Bulls Head in Barnes, south west London, and the low ceilings and the piano facing the wall just took me back to that time. It reminded me so much of the Downstairs Club and I just didn’t want it to be forgotten.
“It was the first full-time jazz and rock venue in Bournemouth. It soon became clear that there was real demand for rock and shortly after opening acts such as Zoot Money’s were being booked to play there.
“It was open seven nights a week and just went from strength to strength.”
The club went through a number of different owners and carnations throughout the years but is now used predominantly as a storage room.
However, Al hopes its contribution to Bournemouth’s cultural history and rock in the 1960’s will now be remembered forever.