“It had come to pass, that afternoon, that Miss Morleena Kenwigs had received an invitation to repair next day, per steamer from Westminster Bridge, unto the Eel-pie Island at Twickenham: there to make merry upon a cold collation, bottled beer, shrub, and shrimps, and to dance in the open air to the music of a locomotive band …”

Charles Dickens “Nicholas Nickleby” 1839

For centuries people have been coming to Eel Pie Island in Twickenham to enjoy a good time. The 1635 map of the island shows a plot of land as “hath bin A Boulding Alley”. By the following century a popular public house had appeared. During Victorian times trippers would arrive by steamer to enjoy picnics under the willows and during the 1920’s flappers and their beaux would row across to cut a rug at the Eel Pie Hotel. By the late 1950’s the flappers had been replaced by duffel coated ravers and their ‘chicks’ who crowded across the newly opened footbridge to stomp the night away to jazz legends like Ken Colyer and the Crane River Jazzband. By the 1960’s the jazzers had been replaced by rising rhythm and blues stars like the Rolling Stones, the Who and the Yardbirds. When the hotel burnt down in 1971 Eel Pie Island fell off the “Must Visit” list and slowly slipped into suburban slumber… until now!


On Saturday February 13th, the spirit of the 1950’s returns when Nark Drool and the Shudders, St Margarets very own drape jacketed rock ‘n’ roll band, play a Valentine’s Day Dance at Richmond Yacht Club on Eel Pie Island from 7.30pm.

For just £10 a ticket you are guaranteed a healthy serving of late 50’s, early 60’s rock and pop, from Elvis, Buddy, Connie Francis and the Shadows at one end to Del Shannon, Dion and Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers at the other. There will be rockers for boppers and smoochy songs for lovers of any age. There is also a bar and food will be available.

Swing dancers

Remember – once you’ve crossed the bridge you will be travelling back to a time when trousers were tight, hair was lacquered and with £1 in your pocket you and your bird could have a really good time and still have something left for a Wimpy Bender afterwards… but be warned. You may just bump into something that really isn’t there. Don’t worry. It is only the ghosts of Ken Colyer, Brian Jones, Keith Moon and all those other long gone ravers who have come to find out what’s happening, man!

Admission is by ticket only — so to reserve yours before they are all taken. Please contact Billy Sincere on 020 8892 5211.