Les Cousins

Venue in/near Soho, existed between 1965 and 1972

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Venue · Soho · W1D ·
JUNE
10
2018

Les Cousins was a folk and blues club in the basement of a restaurant in Greek Street.


Les Cousins was opened on Friday 16 April 1965 in a basement venue at 49 Greek Street, Soho which had earlier served as a 1950s skiffle club. Upstairs was the Dionysus restaurant owned by a family called Matheou, whose son, Andy Matheou ran the basement club. The club was reputed to have taken its name from Claude Chabrol’s 1959 film Les Cousins, the story of a young man from the country who comes to the city to study law, but is distracted by the rowdy cousin with whom he shares lodgings.

The club was noted for its all-night sessions and was favoured by the innovative musicians who were less welcome in more purist traditional folk clubs.

Noel Murphy was the first resident musician and compere. Other residents included Alexis Korner and Roy Harper.

Les Cousins was described by Roy Harper as "a spawning ground" for musical talent. In similar vein, Ian Anderson (editor of fRoots) said "...the music got so exciting, ’cause everybody listened to everybody else. So although you might choose to just play one thing, at the same time, you had an open mind for something else."

Roy Harper recorded his album Live At Les Cousins there, 30 August 1969 and The "Spontaneous Music Ensemble" (John Stevens and Evan Parker plus Peter Koward) also recorded there in 1967.

In 1970 a compilation LP 49 Greek Street was released, featuring artists associated with the club such as Synanthesia, Keith Christmas, Andy Roberts, Robin Scott, Tin Angel, Al Jones, Mike Hart and Nadia Cattouse, although most of the tracks were studio recordings. According to Emma Matheou whose father ran the club, the door depicted on the cover is from another address in Greek Street.

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Citations and sources

Gillian Bebbington's 1972 work on street name derivations
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VIEW THE SOHO AREA IN THE 1750s
The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1750 map does not display.

VIEW THE SOHO AREA IN THE 1800s
The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1800 map does not display.

VIEW THE SOHO AREA IN THE 1830s
The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1830 map does not display.

VIEW THE SOHO AREA IN THE 1860s
The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1860 map does not display.

VIEW THE SOHO AREA IN THE 1900s
The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.

 

Soho

Soho is a world-famous area of the City of Westminster and part of the West End of London.

The name "Soho" first appears in the 17th century. Most authorities believe that the name derives from a former hunting cry. James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, used "soho" as a rallying call for his men at the Battle of Sedgemoor on 6 July 1685, half a century after the name was first used for this area of London. The Soho name has been imitated by other entertainment and restaurant districts such as Soho, Hong Kong; Soho, Málaga; SOHO, Beijing; SoHo (South of Horton), London, Ontario, Canada; and Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires. SoHo, Manhattan, gets its name from its location SOuth of HOuston Street, but is also a reference to London’s Soho.

Long established as an entertainment district, for much of the 20th century Soho had a reputation as a base for the sex industry in addition to its night life and its location for the headquarters of leading film companies. Since the 1980s, the area has undergone considerable gentrification. It is now predominantly a fashionable district of upmarket restaurants and media offices, with only a small remnant of sex industry venues.

Soho is a small, multicultural area of central London; a home to industry, commerce, culture and entertainment, as well as a residential area for both rich and poor. It has clubs, including the former Chinawhite nightclub; public houses; bars; restaurants; a few sex shops scattered amongst them; and late-night coffee shops that give the streets an "open-all-night" feel at the weekends. Record shops cluster in the area around Berwick Street, with shops such as Phonica, Sister Ray and Reckless Records.
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Cruchley's New Plan of London Shewing all the new and intended improvements to the Present Time. - Cruchley's Superior Map of London, with references to upwards of 500 Streets, Squares, Public Places & C. improved to 1848: with a compendium of all Place of Public Amusements also shewing the Railways & Stations.
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Cary's New And Accurate Plan of London and Westminster (1818) FREE DOWNLOAD
Cary's map provides a detailed view of London. With print date of 1 January 1818, Cary's map has 27 panels arranged in 3 rows of 9 panels, each measuring approximately 6 1/2 by 10 5/8 inches. The complete map measures 32 1/8 by 59 1/2 inches. Digitising this map has involved aligning the panels into one contiguous map.
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John Rocque (c. 1709–1762) was a surveyor, cartographer, engraver, map-seller and the son of Huguenot émigrés. Roque is now mainly remembered for his maps of London. This map dates from the second edition produced in 1762. London and his other maps brought him an appointment as cartographer to the Prince of Wales in 1751. His widow continued the business after his death. The map covers central London at a reduced level of detail compared with his 1745-6 map.
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Engraved map. Hand coloured. Insets: A view of the Tower from London Bridge -- A view of London from Copenhagen Fields. Includes views of facades of 25 structures "A comparison of the principal buildings of London."
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Ordnance Survey of the London region (1939) FREE DOWNLOAD
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