Sweet Thames: The London Folk Club Heritage Project

Sweet Thames: The London Folk Club Heritage Project is an exciting new project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund which will run from June 2022 until August 2023. We will research, preserve and share the heritage of London folk clubs from their vibrant origins in the 1950s until the present day by collecting oral history interviews and analysing them along with other archival resources. It is essential to record this valuable social and cultural history now, while many of those originally involved remain active, and we are still able to collect their stories and digitise photos, posters and flyers from personal collections.

Star Creative Heritage are supported by the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS), Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML), Camden People’s Theatre and nine London Folk Clubs to deliver this project.

We have now completed the oral history interviewing part of the Sweet Thames project and are delighted to report that we have recorded interviews with twenty-five important and influential people associated with London Folk Clubs since their origins. More details here.

Our project’s archival research in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and online is ongoing. Find out more about our recent archival training here.

Our online reminiscence event with guest speaker Peggy Seeger was well attended and we had some excellent discussion both as a whole and in small groups. Enormous thanks to Peggy for sharing her time, memories and valuable insights. We are planning another online reminiscence event in the new year with special guest TBC. Find out more about our recent event here.

We are now recruiting a volunteer team for the second part of this project to join two Exhibition Curation Workshops and help us create the Sweet Thames: The London Folk Club Heritage Project exhibition which will be launched on 11th February 2023 at Cecil Sharp House. More details here.

Our project launch and digitisation event took place on Saturday 2nd July. More details here.

Images: The Troubadour Folk Club 1963 by Alison Chapman McLean showing Nigel Denver, Jenny Barton, Martin Carthy and Enoch Kent (thanks to Jim McLean); Freddy McKay, Islington Folk Club at The George mid 1980s by Pete Cooper; Flowers and Frolics, Islington folk club (club’s last night at the Empress of Russia), 1986 Sheila Miller