The Stroud film-maker and photographer, Alasdair Ogilvie, has just published a book intriguingly titled A Night at the Fishmongers’Arms. This pub in Wood Green North London was home to the Wood Green Jazz Club in the 50s and into the 60s but by the 70s had morphed into a club for Teds and Rockers. Alasdair’s book of around 40 photographs records one night there and celebrates its denizens in all their finery jiving away to a live rock n roll band.

In my late teens I started to go Wood Green Jazz Club. I’d not yet got to grips with ‘modern’ jazz and the club’s repertoire was strictly ‘trad’. The nearest it came to modernism was when I heard The Bruce Turner Jump Band there – or maybe Turner was just sitting-in with another band? Whatever, The Jump Band led by the eccentric and talented saxophonist Bruce Turner was an anomaly as most traddies were deeply suspicious of the saxophone.

Famously, in the 50s when Turner was in Humprey Lyttleton’s band, traddies displayed a banner at a concert saying ‘Go home dirty bopper’. In 1985 Turner belatedly answered back with an album titled The Dirty Bopper. Although a public schoolboy he also wrote a jazz column for the Communist Daily Worker (now The Morning Star) and in every way was a far cry from the working class Teds and Rockers at The Fishmonger’s Arms. Anyway, I’d long moved-on to Charlie Parker Miles Davis John Coltrane Ornette Coleman Archie Shepp Roland Kirk et al.

Nevertheless, the Wood Green Jazz club was much frequented by students from the nearby Hornsey Collge of Art and it was there I got off with the lovely Liz who was doing fashion there.  later, she became a dress designer in the rag trade and we were briefly married. My mum and all my aunts had been machinists in the East End rag trade and thus trad jazz mysteriously completed my family circle.

Alasdair has modestly printed just 50 hard copies of his book which he gives away to friends and colleagues. However, IT readers can access the book and more of his work go to Damnable Iron.


Jeff Cloves
Images © Alasdair Ogilvie





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    1. Would be good to know who the band is in the pictures, they look more Blues/Rock than Jazz. My memory of the Fishmongers was a blues club in the 70’s

      Comment by Julian T on 30 May, 2024 at 7:18 am
    2. According to Alasdair’s book ‘during the 70s the hall mutated into a blues and rock venue’. I assume The teds and Rockers had it one night a week and the band must surely have played rocknroll. Among the rock and blues bands who played there were Pink Floyd Jethro Tull The Kinks Ten Years After Joe Cocker Julie Driscoll Long John Baldry Cream and John Mayall’s Blues Breakerss. In the 2000s the hall was demolished and later the pub was converted into flats. The last time I went to The Fishmongerts’ Arms must have been around 1960 and by 1965 I was living and working in St Albans. There was a rockers’ scene there in the 70s though. A Victorian Pub, The Crystal Palace, (now demolished) became a thriving venue for Rockers and I used to go there occasionally.
      A DJ played rocknroll and I fancy some of its habitues had come up from North London by British rail or London Transport’s bus, the ’84’, which ran to St Albans until it ceased to be in the 80s.

      Comment by jeff cloves on 30 May, 2024 at 9:34 pm

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