Fringe Box



Do You Recall Days Of Godalming’s Gin Mill Club?

Published on: 13 May, 2013
Updated on: 13 May, 2013

Did you go and watch rock and blues bands play at the Gin Mill Club in Godalming back in the late 1960s?

If so, can you remember exactly where it was?  Ann Laver is a research co-ordinator at Godalming Museum and is hoping someone can tell her exactly where in Angel Court it was held and in what room.

Press ad for the Gin Mill Club as reproduced in Nigel Enever's book Guildford The Rock 'n' Roll Years.

Press ad for the Gin Mill Club as reproduced in Nigel Enever’s book Guildford The Rock ‘n’ Roll Years.

She says she believes it was probably in a room where Cafe Mila is now, and there is a yoga room running across the end of Angel Court, and was that the actual room.

The Gin Mill Club  opened its doors in January 1968 specialising in blues music. Some pretty impressive bands played there, some going on to find fame and fortune in the world of rock music.
Artists included Jethro Tull, Genesis, Fleetwood Mac, Free, Chicken Shack, Champion Jack Dupree, Savoy Brown and Duster Bennett.
The late great Duster Bennett playing a white Fender Stratocaster guitar at Godalming's Gin Mill Club. Picture from Duster Bennett Jumping at Shadows, the authorised biography by MArtin Celmins.

The late great Duster Bennett playing a white Fender Stratocaster guitar at Godalming’s Gin Mill Club. Picture from Duster Bennett Jumping at Shadows, the authorised biography by Martin Celmins.

The club was run by Pete Newberry, who Ann Laver would also like to speak to, if he can be found!

If you can help with the location of the club, contact Ann Lever by email at
Or leave a reply in the box below and we will pass on any details.
If you want a great read about the local music scene in days gone by, get a copy of Nigel Enever’s Guildford The Rock ‘n’ Roll Years. Copies are usually available in Guildford Museum and some local bookshops.
Ann originally wrote in response to Where Is This? No 51 that featured the Little Thatch restaurant that was in Meadrow, Farncombe. She has done some research of her own into it noting: “In 1967-70 Roger E C Burnel, a French chef, was listed in the British Phone Books at ‘The Little Thatch’ in Meadrow, and in 1970 there was an advert for La Chaumière Restaurant.”His son, Jean-Jacques “JJ” Burnel played at the Gin Mill Club in Angel Court, Godalming, and became a musician, producer and songwriter, known as the bass guitarist  with the British rock band the Stranglers since their inception in 1974 in Guildford and originally known as The Guildford Stranglers.

“The band played again in 2013 at G Live in Guildford with JJ Burnel on bass and lead vocals. JJ Burnel had moved to Godalming in c.1964 when he was about twelve. He was born in England to French parents. His father was a French chef and his mother was front of house running a thatched restaurant in which he grew up, and he remembers “with a lovely lawn in front and a dry stone wall.” JJ Burnel worked in the restaurant every weekend from the age of 14, and left the Royal Grammar School in Guildford in 1969.”

Share This Post

Responses to Do You Recall Days Of Godalming’s Gin Mill Club?

  1. Shirley StClair Reply

    May 31, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    I remember the club well.

    My parents owned The Angel and I used to love seeing the bands. I was so sad when my lovely Mum had to sell.

    I have been to Godalming a few times and reminisced on the teenage years I had living there. The same owners also owned the hairdressers ‘Barry of London’, 84 High Street. I still have pics of the salon.

    If Ann, or anyone, wants more information I’d be glad to help if I can. I am so glad someone is interested in knowing and remembering the place I loved.

    I do hope to hear from Ann.

    • Heather Dunford Reply

      November 11, 2013 at 4:10 pm

      Through your ‘Leave a Reply’ facility may I please leave a message for Shirley St Clair asking her if she could please email me with a picture of her parents in the Angel.

      I belong to a group on Facebook with members from nearby Milford and we have often reminisced about the Angel (pre 1968).

      I just recently told a story of when I used the ladies room and when I came out I was cornered by a live lobster. The owner had put it there and he was rewarded with my healthy scream. Would that have been Shirley’s father? I think it was 1965. Would love to hear from her.

      I will forward your message by email to Shirley. Ed

      • Kevin Hall Reply

        June 13, 2020 at 8:48 pm

        I used to go to the Gin Mill Club and if my memory serves me correctly, if you approach the Pepper Pot from the station end it was down a side alley at the end on the left-hand side.

    • Brian Ferris Reply

      October 16, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      Further to earlier comments, I run The Kings Arms Hotel (dont be fooled by the hotel stigma) I want to relive those days.
      Gin Mill Revival @ The Kings Arms. Blues on a Sunday night.
      Whats your thoughts?

    • John Shepherd Reply

      December 2, 2022 at 9:24 pm

      I went to the Gin Mill clubs many times in the 1960s. Peter Newberry lived opposite me in Charterhouse Road with his elderly mother. I remember him well and recall he wore a top hat.

      I moved from Godalming in the early 70s but still have family there. I will visit the museum and try to meet Anne and maybe fill in a few gaps.

    • Martyn Heath Reply

      June 14, 2023 at 11:50 pm

      I was visiting the UK back in the sixties from Canada and a cousin told me about this great place to go on Sunday nights Called “The Angel”, so we decided to try it out, and so glad I did. It was the night Duster Bennett recorded a great album, and the people were really great they made me feel so welcome.

      I see that Shirley StClair has photos of the bar etc. Would it be possible to get some copies?

      Thank you and take care.

  2. Sandy Dalton Reply

    June 4, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    I remember so well The Angel, on Sunday Nights (I think) saw some of the most wonderful bands, Fleetwood Mac, Jethro Tull even John Mayall? I think also Sunday nights was Blues Nights? At the time still at school in Guildford then went to Bellairs to study Dance yet still went along on Sundays!

  3. Robin Pink Reply

    June 10, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    I’m trying to convince my Dad to provide some input/information on this for you (as much for me).

    I know he was a fairly regular patron around the turn of 1970 at the place but unfortunately he’s convinced his memory will fail him!

    I’m convinced, however if he were to be inside the original room the memories would flood back and he’d likely be able to recall quite a lot for you.

    We still have family in nearby Godalming and when visiting as a child he would often drive past the building and point it out following with a story about his time spent there.

    Of course I will continue to try and either convince him to assist you or just relay any information I can squeeze out of him!

    So far I have got that he saw Peter Green (performing separately to Fleetwood Mac) at the Gin Mill.

  4. David Rose Reply

    June 10, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Hi Robin,

    Would be fantastic if you could get your dad to say a bit more about the Gin Mill.

    Seeing Peter Green playing solo there – wow, what a amazing gig that would have been.

    I saw Peter Green back playing guitar (after his long absence from the music scene) at GuilFest some years ago.

    With my press pass, I got backstage and had a lovely chat with him.

    If you have anything to add, via your dad, please reply as I know Ann Laver at Godalming Museum is keen to add more details to its records of a music venue that played host to some legendary musicians.

  5. Steve Jones Reply

    July 16, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Please take a look at the Facebook page – we welcome any shared memories of past events at the Gin Mill.

  6. Barry McCarthy Reply

    July 28, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    I was regular at the Gin Mill in late 60s.
    I was there the night that Duster Bennett recorded his album. Champion Jack Dupree also tried to record there but I believe the album wasn’t released.
    Other bands who played there included Chicken Shack, Blodwyn Pig, Argent, Peter Green, Black Sabbath and many more.
    Staple drink was Newcastle Brown Ale straight from the bottle. It was the night that Black Sabbath were on that a head banger in front of me whacked his head against the bottle and took the top off of my front teeth… Happy days. Brilliant club, brilliant Sunday nights.

  7. Melvin Cobbett Reply

    October 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    I remember the Gin Mill in the late 60’s. I was a fairly irregular regular, relying on lifts to and from the venue as I lived in Woking then. I saw Chicken Shack, Savoy Brown, Champion Jack Dupree and many others. Also, memorable nights watching Duster Bennett and responding to the chorus of ‘Bright Lights’. Indeed I often used his arrangement of call and response when I performed the song with later bands thet I have been with.

    One night there, I played piano with a ‘gash’ band while Chicken Shack took a break and I remember that Christine McVie (or Perfect as she was then) wouldn’t let me use her piano mike to amplify the piano!

    I also particularly remember The Graham Bond Organisation (boy were they loud! I lost my hearing for 2 days). I remember the compère (although I forgot his name) would wear a top hat and be greeted with ‘Get ’em off’ and ‘show us yer scrotes’ when making an announcement. I also remember that the secret was to buy a couple of drinks at a time to save queuing up in the breaks. Good times.

  8. Christine St.Clair Reply

    November 15, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    I was only a toddler when my grandparents had the Angel Pub and the Gin Mill but I remember the cellar and the table by the fireplace where the ‘old fellas’ used to try to teach me guitar. We used to play shove-ha’penny and cards.

    I remember my nan working behind the bar, my grandad propping it up LOL, may they rest in peace.

    My mum used to work in the public bar serving the bikers (as I called them). I remember the living quarters like it was yesterday and the cobbled road where the Morris dancers used to come.

    Recently we went on a trip down memory lane and it felt like only yesterday. I am glad that people still recall the days there. My nan Anne and my grandad Len. Please keep commenting and adding pictures on FB pages too.

  9. Jo Scurry Reply

    December 7, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    I used to go there… It was above the Angel in a smoky, crowded room which housed the bar, where, if you could push through you could get your Newcastle Brown or your coke! Tiny corner stage where we all jostled to get near the band.. I seem to recall people sitting on large blocks at the wall edge, with feet a dangling and locks a moving to the beat.
    I saw, Duster Bennett, John Mayall, Blodwyn Pig, Chicken Shack and Free! I so remember Kossoffs mane, Andy’s tick tock pendulum swaying as he played bass, and Paul, Well, who wouldn’t remember him… 🙂
    Late sixties and a great night for ten bob, including entrance and your drinks for the night….

    • Jo Scurry Reply

      April 8, 2018 at 6:15 pm

      Actually not John Mayall but John Morgen.

      I think John Mayall was advertised.

  10. Mike Millett Reply

    January 25, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Sunday night was the night of my weekly pilgrimage. I adored the Gin Mill. I was there on the night that Duster Bennett recorded his live album, Bright Lights and a certain Peter Blue was playing the lead guitar. I couldn’t get tickets the second time that Fleetwood Mac played but waited in the courtyard. Peter Green never turned up till 10pm and they played for 30 minutes! There was no music allowed at all after 10.30pm. Free were an unknown band then but I saw them play 3 times and still think that they are one of the best groups I have ever seen live.

    I vaguely remember that there was a Charterhouse band that played there too, they were pupils at the school. I think there name was something like Genesis, but I can’t be sure!
    It is sadly missed . What a great venue!

    • Alessandro Borri Reply

      June 6, 2018 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Mike Millett.

      I am an Italian fan of the band Free and I am collecting records of their gigs between 1968 and 1973.

      You say you were lucky to see Free play three times. All three times at Godalming – Angel Hotel?

      I know Free played Godalming – Angel Hotel twice in 1969 (July 7 and September 28). Do you have any further memories about the third date?

      Especially, do you remember where / when exactly did you see Free?

      • Richard Merritt Reply

        June 10, 2019 at 12:22 am

        Not sure if Alessandro Borri will find this a year after your post but I saw Free at the Gin Mill at least three times. I can’t confirm dates but on one occasion they had just returned from a tour (of the US, I think). I particularly remember that because they were pretty exhausted but had turned up to entertain us. We were a very appreciative crowd.

        Free also joined us on 22 April 1969 for a coach trip to the Albert Hall in London to see BB King, Fleetwood Mac, Duster Bennett and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.

        • Alessandro Borri Reply

          August 29, 2019 at 8:12 am

          Thanks to Richard Merritt for his kindly help.

          The band “Free” were back in England from their first US Tour after their last gig in Denver 24th August 1969. Well according to Richard’s memories, I suppose FREE played Godalming also in August 1969, perhaps just before their first appearance at Isle Of Wight Festival 30th August 1969.

          Does he know more also about a gig played by Genesis in Godalming 6th June 1970? Any further memories are always welcome.

        • Clive Halls Reply

          March 22, 2020 at 2:05 am

          Used to go to Sunday night blues in that crowded little room often in the corner near the speakers and one night close up to Kossoff playing his heart out.

          Went to the bar for a Newcastle Brown and perched on a bar stool next to Keef Hartley. He said something like get it in yer..

          So many good bands. What about Mackenzie Mainline? No one has mentioned them.

          Duster Bennett recording night wow.

          Didn’t Taste play there too?

          Too many memories and so much forgotten i guess.

          • Alessandro Borri

            May 7, 2020 at 10:58 am

            I would like to ask Clive Halls if he remembers more of when he saw Free in concert? I know Free played Godalming and the Angel Hotel three times in 1969 (July 7, August 28 and September 28).

            Any additional information about Free gigs is welcome (such as new entries or anything else he saved of those days).

          • Graham Clarke

            September 7, 2020 at 11:40 pm

            In reply to Clive Halls. The band he’s thinking of were called Mckenna Mendelsohn Mainline. They were Canadian and spent most of 1969 gigging in England, I believe.

      • Mark Stokes Reply

        March 19, 2021 at 3:35 am

        I think most of the songs Free played on 28th Sept were from the second “Woman” album. I fell in love with them that night and without a doubt they were the best live band I have ever seen.

        I swear I saw Pete Newberry walking around with a tape machine but when I asked him about it at the Gin Mill Festival at Guildford City FC a few years later he denied it.

  11. John Harman Reply

    July 24, 2014 at 10:37 am

    I missed the first night of the Gin Mill (or, more accurately, the Living Blues club, which I’m pretty sure was the name it went by for the first few weeks at least) but I was a regular from the second night until I went away to college in late 1969. I have vivid memories of many nights there, but perhaps particularly the night of the moon landing (Sunday July 20th 1969 – I had to look it up). Liverpool Scene were playing, and in the interval they were all out in the courtyard huddled round a transistor radio listening intently to the news. (I wasn’t that bothered about it at the time, and put their excitement down to them being somewhat older than me.) They started their second set by announcing that the landing had been successful, and that to mark the occasion they would play a piece called Blues for the Moon King, written for a stage show and not part of their normal set. They played particularly well that night.

  12. John Harman Reply

    July 24, 2014 at 10:41 am

    John Mayall never did play the Gin Mill – according to Pete Newberry he couldn’t be booked because the stage was too small…

  13. Andy Thomas Reply

    August 7, 2014 at 11:45 am

    It was my regular haunt on a Sunday night. The highlight of my week back then.

    I travelled up from Petersfield on the train and always just about managed to catch the last train back. I remember Pete the guy who ran it. What a card he was.

    I remember him greeting me one week wearing a mangy looking fur coat. I asked him where he got it and quick as a flash he said, “You haven’t seen your cat lately have you?”

    There were too many great nights – in fact, every night was a great night.

    I saw everybody: Chicken Shack, Jethro Tull, Fleetwood Mac (who’s huge new ‘Orange’ cabinets were almost to big to get in the place), Genesis, Blodwyn Pig, Keef Hartley, Free… on and on… I was also there on the night Duster Bennett recorded the live album Bright Lights Big City although as yet I have received no royalties! What times they were.

  14. S Richardson Reply

    September 13, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Superb venue. It was the building at the end of the court (we always called it an alley). On rare occasions we were allowed in the garden behind it.

    Loved the place. Saw just about everybody up and coming at the time. It was always rammed.

    Probably most memorable was King Crimson doing the court of the Crimson King at full bore! Also saw Blodwyn Pigg a couple of times.

    I remember terrific music, truly vile beer and a bloody good night. If the name band couldn’t turn up the dreaded Argent would turn up (must have been local) and we’d go to the Angel for whiskey (30 odd malts on the shelf) and come back when we were lubricated enough to stand it.

  15. David Rogers Reply

    October 4, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I have only just found this site. Reading the comments above brings back wonderful memories of those teenage Sunday nights.

    I lived in Haslemere and went to the Royal Grammar School in Guildford, so the train journey was covered by my season ticket (thanks Surrey CC).

    I remember seeing the vast majority of bands listed above; in particular I share Barry, Mike, and Andy’s recollections of being part of the ‘Bright Lights, Big City’ recording (still have the vinyl album); Mike’s opinion about the merits of Free; Andy’s memory of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Orange’ speakers (was it the night ‘Albatross’ went to number one, although of course they’d been booked long before…?); and John’s description of summer 1969, being in the garden for the moon landing.

    Then there was the night Genesis played, and either over-ran or played encores. The result was that I missed that last train home. Some time later, walking in the dark trying to hitch a lift, a car stopped (my memory tells me it was on Milford Common, but I’m not sure of that detail).

    The kindly couple turned out to be Mr & Mrs Rutherford, who had been watching their son. So years later, and indeed ever since, ‘In the living years’ has always meant a great deal to me.

    P.S. re original article: I was a friend of JJ Burnel at the RGS, and remember once or twice going home with him after school – so visiting his parent’s restaurant, and also Muscott’s(?) stamp dealers, nearby.

    • Peter Heksel Reply

      April 15, 2016 at 8:52 am

      Interesting reading the PS re. JJ Burnel. I also knew him when I first left Broadwater school and worked at his parent’s restaurant, La Chaumiere, also known as The Little Thatch.

      JJ was a Hells Angel in those days and I’ll always remember him giving me a lift into Guildford on his Harley and driving round the bends just before Guildford with no hands! I was terrified.

      Unfortunately too young for the Gin Mill but do remember standing outside and listening to Fleetwood Mac. I’ve been living for the past 35 years in Auckland NZ and went to see The Stranglers play here a couple of nights ago. Great night.

  16. Sam Durie Reply

    October 11, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    I loved the Gin Mill club, I saw so many great bands in that tiny crowded room at the back of the Angel Hotel.
    I remember coming out of the gents and finding Champion Jack Dupree propositioning everyone coming into or leaving the ladies!

  17. Brian Ferris Reply

    October 15, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Hi. I am the current licensee of The Kings Arms in Godalming. Just around the corner from where The Angel was. I have a function room and bar and had the idea of resurecting The Gin Mill Club!!
    The Gin Mill Club Revival
    Still Sunday nights, and still with the ‘Blues’ theme. Does anyone want to help?

  18. Peter Moore Reply

    October 31, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    I went to the Gin Mill Club nearly every Sunday evening from about September 198 until July 1969.
    What a fantastic venue! I have many memories of nights spent there.
    I saw the canadian band Mckenna Mendolsson Mainline twice, and on each occasion the drummer sat on a wooden fruit and vegetable crate (times were hard!)
    Alexis Korner played on a very hot evening in summer 1969 as a duo with a new bass player he called F.Y.B.(it stood for Fab Young Bass!!)
    The great Savoy Brown occasionally stood in for the booked band who couldn’t make it, as did a local band too (not Argent). Can anyone remember their name? The guitarist was pretty good.
    I recall sitting on the sticky floor (which you didn’t normally do) waiting for Peter Green to turn up so that Fleetwood Mac could perform. As previously stated, the strict 10.30pm finish meant they only played 30 minutes.
    Champion Jack Dupree played two or three times with pints of beer lined up on his piano along with a handkerchief to wipe his brow.Towards the end of his set, one of the helpers would ask the audience if there was somebody who could give him a lift to Guildford railway station to board a train up north to Bradford where he lived. Quite extraordinary!
    I can’t finish without a mention of my all-time favourite band, Free, who played a few times.
    Wonderful memories.Keep music live!

  19. Denis Flanagan Reply

    November 16, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Great reading the comments.
    The owners before Shirley’s parents were Jack and Maisey. They ran the Angel pub and my dad ran the hall, weddings etc, with the Gin Mill at the weekends.
    At the age of 16, for pocket money, I was washing dishes and restocking shelves with Newcastle Brown, saw all the acts and action.
    I still visit Godalming every few years. The Angel is now a wine bar, the hall has been demolished but not the memories.

  20. Ron Worthington Reply

    December 23, 2014 at 10:10 am

    I was born and bred in Godalming and at the age of 19 I attended every performance at the Gin Mill club.

    It was situated across the end of the cul-de-sac just behind the Angel hotel, which for my sins was my local.

    I didn’t always need booze to leave that pub high, so I have been told!

    I even attended the live recording of Duster Bennett’s show, Bright Lights, Big City.

    I still have a copy of that recording and can still pick myself out singing, out of key, and calling for more.

    I have great memories of my Sundays spent there.

    Does anybody remember Alex the barman at the Angel, another character who should not be forgotten?

    I’m returning to visit Godalming in January 2015.

    I have spent another part of my life in Australia.

    If anyone knows of any reunions or get togethers concerning the Gin Mill, please let me know.

  21. Denis Flanagan Reply

    January 21, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    I certainly remember Alex, he was a delight. When he was chatting up all the birds I was the poor slave lugging the crates of Newcastle Brown Ale to stock the shelves.

    I was at the Angel for about five years and saw a few different managers and barmen.

    Great times and great music!

  22. David Greaves Reply

    December 30, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    I can only agree with all the previous contributors as I too have great memories of the Gin Mill.

    My Sunday evenings would never be the same again.

    Just to fill a few gaps in the information, the Jack referred to was Jack Saunders who ran the Angel for sometime.

    I knew his son, a devout teetotal Christian who went to Cambridge University.

    The most important thing to add was that running around the perimeter of the inside of the room at high level was a shelf about six inches wide.

    By the end of the evening this shelf was completely full of empty Newcastle Brown Ale bottles. I also remember “borrowing” one of the plastic lamp shades and I kept it in my bedroom for many years but it sadly got thrown out when we moved house.

  23. Simon Jarvis Reply

    January 19, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Duster’s playing a Telecaster not a Strat : wonderful days!

    My memory of Peter Green is different – the great man performed solo, played magical wondrous electric guitar, dressed in a white kaftan, because the rest of the band got delayed when the van broke down…

    Other performers – Black Sabbath, Mott the Hoople, local boys Genesis seemingly every other week! alternating with Spirit of John Morgan!

    It was a brilliant but unlikely venue – Sunday nights have not been the same since!

    • Adrian Thomas Reply

      July 28, 2021 at 7:27 pm

      That’s exactly what happened! I was there that night. Peter Green arrived in his car with a woman. The band were travelling down in a van that had a puncture on the way. As a result, they arrived late. All the gear had been set up and was ready to go… so Greeny just got on with it. Spellbinding!

  24. Peter Lewis Reply

    March 9, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    I was a member of a band called the Hustlers.

    We played regularly in the room behind The Angel in the early 1960s (pre Gin Mill Club?) either supporting bands like the Undertaker’ from Liverpool, or in our own right.

    The atmosphere was great, always dripping hot and the crowd were very appreciative (or was that the ale?). At the end of the evening there was usually a ‘jam’ session and if my memory serves me Chris Andrews and Jack Bruce sat in on occasions.

    There was also a regular gig at the Tunsgate Club, Guildford as well as well as performing at all the local venues like the Civic Hall, most of the Co-op halls and Youth Clubs etc.

    We had to change our name to the Jades because there was an American band of the same name and we could have been sued.

    Sadly, we appear to have disappeared off the radar as far as local 1960s band history is concerned.

    Our lead guitarist Roger Giffin is now a renowned guitar maker. In Wikipedia he is called ‘Lutier to the Stars’.

  25. Andy Phillips Reply

    September 26, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    I too have great memories of Sunday evenings at The Gin Mill from late 1967 to early 1969.

    I remember ‘Jellybread’ Keef Hartley and a band called Black Cat Bones who may have been in some way connected to Champion Jack Dupree.

    I am sure John Mayall never played there. He seemed to have a habit of not being where he’d been advertised to appear. I went to see him three times and never did!

    I think I can claim to have started the craze for drinking Newcastle Brown from the bottle.A couple of years previously Id been a regular at the jazz club on Eel Pie Island where bottled beers were just shoved across the bar without the option of a glass, presumably to avoid breakage or theft.

    Most empty bottles went bobbing up or down the Thames according to the tide.

    The favored drink was Newcastle Amber, but I preferred Brown, and when I saw that it was available at the Angel my friend and I ordered it without a glass as a tribute to the Eel Pie Hotel which by that time had been closed down.

    The following Sunday about 20 people were drinking it from the bottle and a week after that just about every one did it.

    While on the subject of drink, does anyone recall the Ram Off Licence in Catteshall lane, it later became The Cider House for a few years.

    In about 1967 it was THE place to go on Saturday lunch time. Being an off licence no alcohol could be consumed on the premises but among all the general merchandise there, it was possible to buy cardboard beakers and for some unexplained reason there was a bottle opener screwed to the gate post. It was a very popular spot!

    What cheerful uncomplicated days they were.

  26. Harry Castleman Reply

    October 23, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    I had the good fortune to play one night at the Gin Mill with my band, Succotash, in either late 1970 or early 1971. We were 4 renegade Americans on a loon in England trying to get a foothold (with our rootsy rock and country at a time when glam rock was on the rise, sadly for us!) and that night opened for the great Duster Bennett. As the drummer and lead singer of my band, I was blown away by Duster’s uncanny ability to do those two things AND play guitar and blues harp. The energy in Gin Mill was off the charts. What a great talent he was and what a memorable night that was at a club that is so dearly remembered by all who’ve contributed to this blog.

  27. John Vicary Reply

    December 31, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Amazing memories of this club as it launched me into a world of music that has inspired me and given me countless hours of joy.

    I saw many bands there but a clear memory was going to see Free with Rodgers and Kossoff and arriving a little late and finding the club was chock a block so I had to listen I’m A Mover outside, holding a pint.

    Another great favourite was Stray and the exploding dustbin. “Keef” Hartley and, of course, local band Genesis were regulars.

    Is there a list of bands that played, with dates?

  28. Chris Burbidge Reply

    January 29, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    The room was at the end of a passageway at the Angel Hotel.

    I remember seeing Blodwyn Pig, Duster Bennet, Free, Graham Bond, Chicken Shack, Argent, the Equals, and many more.

    It was the best venue for miles around, and as I remember was closed due to fire regulations as there was no fire exit.

    Scary to think of it now with the venues where fire has caused many deaths.

    • Adrian thomas Reply

      April 12, 2018 at 9:52 pm

      It had ample access to the back garden. I had a beer out there with Spit James when Keef Hartley ‘Halfbreed’ band played there.

  29. A Bailey Reply

    February 24, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    I have an entry in my 1964 diary which says Sunday 15 March – “In the evening we went to R&B at the Angel and met the Applegarth boys.” Anyone know who was playing that night ?

  30. Adrian thomas Reply

    April 12, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    I was a regular every week. As a 16-year-old I travelled up from Petersfield on the train.

    It was a wonderful place.

  31. John Key Reply

    May 5, 2018 at 4:01 am

    Me and a mate came up from worthing on my scooter.

    We saw Arthur Crudup, Savoy Brown, Graham Bond, Blodwyn Pig and many more.

    Two pints of bittier from the bar, one in the hand and one between feet for later!

  32. John Key Reply

    May 5, 2018 at 4:03 am

    Thank you Gin Mill club for confirming my decision to be a professional musician. And I still am.

  33. Rosemary Prentice Reply

    September 7, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    I went to a gig here with Peter Green in his sports car Mick Fleetwood arrived just before us and rest of band..

  34. Chris Scott Reply

    June 13, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    Wow. The joy of internet. Great reminisces! Newcastle Amber! I was (not) “studying” at the Guildford Law College. I spectacularly failed.

    The Gin Mill was a joyous place for live music, set me up for a lifetime appreciation of performances in good small venues.

  35. Jill Dewhurst Reply

    August 24, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    There was a courtyard to the side of the Angel pub.

    The room where the club was held was on the left-hand side of the courtyard.

    We used to queue to get in. You paid on the door.

    I remember Duster Bennett recording his gig there.

  36. John Court Reply

    September 20, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    Wow. I’m getting so old I was beginning to think that I had imagined all those incredible nights at the Gin Mill Club.

    I am so surprised that it lasted such a short time 1968-70. I migrated to Canada shortly after and my mother wrote to me to tell me that the club had burned down one night. It was only a wooden shack with the stage back and right as you entered. Pete Newberry was a master of hiring top bands for such a small club.

    Truly a privilege to attend and remember well the night that it was announced that the Duster Bennett gig was being recorded but there were so many talented bands that played. In particular, I remember Fleetwood Mac, Chickenshack, Jethro Tull, and Genesis. But there was never a bad night, and you didn’t have to take drugs, the music was enough.

    True to say it set the bar exceptionally high for the rest of my life. Loved the Gin Mill and that period in my life.

    • Shirley StClair (nee Berry) Reply

      June 21, 2020 at 2:52 am

      My parents owned it from late 1969. Don’t know where your mum got the info about burning down, my dear father was told to put a fire escape in the garden, sadly he refused to do so and instead closed the club down but it was later than 1970.

      Happy to hear you went to the Gun Mill. I still miss it even now.

    • Jeremy Chruscikowski Reply

      January 19, 2021 at 6:02 pm


      I have just come across a message that you posted on the Guildford Dragon website in September 2019 concerning the Gin Mill. I can’t imagine that more than one John Court enjoyed that venue. You and I had a mutual friend Patrick who I am still in touch with. I remember visiting you at the YA Stage Door.

      Best wishes.

  37. Charlie Monck Reply

    October 6, 2019 at 11:03 am

    I attended The Gin Mill sporadically between January to June 1971. (I had been sent to ‘Applegarth’ – mentioned earlier – to do my A-levels). I remember seeing Rare Bird (absolutely superb!), Andy Roberts’ Everyone, Jungle Pilot (a load of ‘Melody Maker’ journalists), and probably, for me, the most memorable night, Skid Row.

    Others may remember that the stage was basically a big lump of chipboard supported on beer crates, and I had got there early for Skid Row, and ended up sat on the floor with my belly against the edge of the stage and my legs under it, with the master, Gary Moore, right in front of and above me! I had a sore neck at the end of that night, and not much hearing left either!

    The Gin Mill was my first “regular” gig. And if Pete Newberry or anyone else involved with the organising of it is still around, I thank them from the bottom of my heart for changing my life forever.

  38. Roy Gover Reply

    December 24, 2019 at 10:01 am

    The Gin Mill seemed to be a showcase for Blue Horizon records with regular appearances by Fleetwood Mac Mk1, Chicken Shack, Jellybread and the legendary Duster Bennett.

    Blue Horizon supremo Mike Vernon also recorded authentic roots bluesmen and they made the obligatory Gin Mill performance: Arthur Big Boy Crudup – grumpy and a prodigious boozer, Bobby Parker, prematurely overhyped as the next Hendrix, Champion Jack Dupree backed by most of Fleetwood Mac.

    There seemed to be three phases of the club; early bookings by obscure blues boom bands like Doc K’s, Shakey Vick and John Dummer.

    Second phase, pub rock royalty Fleetwood Mac, Jethro Tull, Free, Savoy Brown, etc.

    Third phase diversifying, not altogether successfully into other genres, Genesis – local but frankly not very good at that time, the Wild Angels – old time rock ‘n’ roll; party time for a generation for whom partying was uncool – and the Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra, 1930s jazz; Sunny Side Of The Street? Not for this audience.

    Caravan, I recall, were outstanding though. Strangely by coincidence, Caravan did a warm up gig for their 50th anniversary tour at nearby St John’s church Farncombe in 2019.

    It was rammed and they are still outstanding.

    The live recording of Duster Bennett, again including F Mac, in April 1970 was the Apogee of the club. My recollection of it’s closure was nothing to do with either conflagrations or inadequate fire escapes but a desire by the key players simply to get Proper Jobs.

    Would love to reconnect with Pete Newberry and share photos and memories

  39. Nick Branston Reply

    March 27, 2020 at 12:32 am

    Amazing to read through these comments.

    I also attended The Gin Mill on numerous nights.

    John (Tony) Dummer is still alive and well – living in France. No one has mentioned The Groundhogs so far either.
    I remember a young Gary Moore playing with Skid Row too and Free and . . . ?

    I now live in Suffolk and the last time I saw Pete Newberry was in Bury St Edmunds circa 1984. He was working in Cambridge (Fulbourn hospital?) Has anyone heard any more of him or from him? Would love to know.

    • Alessandro Borri Reply

      May 4, 2020 at 1:57 pm

      I would like to ask Nick Branston if he remembers more of when he saw Free in concert? I know Free played Godalming and the Angel Hotel three times in 1969 (July 7, August 28 and September 28).

      Any additional information about Free gigs is welcome (such as new entries or anything else he saved of those days).

      • Andy Thomas Reply

        March 1, 2021 at 11:35 pm

        I knew Free when they first formed. Simon Kirke was a lodger at a friend’s house in Twickenham.

        Free rehearsed at St Mary’s Church Hall by the river, a few times.

        I was also at one of their very first gigs which was at The Crown Pub on Richmond Road. They played in the annexe to an audience of about 80 people. They played as if they were opening at the Fillmore!

        After the gig we were sitting around having a beer before loading and Andy went to get the money. He came back with a big smile on his face and £22 in his hand. They’d cracked it!

    • Shirley StClair (nee Berry) Reply

      June 21, 2020 at 2:58 am

      I saw Pete in 2010 at Scratcher’s [Three Lions pub in Farncombe]. He is still alive and kicking. Was seen by a member of Gin Mill reporting on Facebook not long ago. He still looks the same but older, as we all do.

      • Sean Finlay Reply

        January 17, 2021 at 9:37 pm

        I had been studying at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh. When I left I used to go to the Gin Mill with my friend Jane Blake from Unstead Wood.

        I saw Jethro Tull and Fleetwood Mac.

    • David Ambrose Reply

      September 7, 2020 at 9:29 pm

      I agree. It’s amazing to read all these comments and be reminded of so much I’d half-forgotten. We were regulars at The Gin Mill from late 1968 (I think) through 1969, getting the bus over to Godalming from Bramley, and then walking home, last bus long gone, happy and high on the music.

      As well as all those mentioned (Fleetwood Mac, Chicken Shack, Duster Bennett, Jethro Tull, etcetera). I remember several nights featuring the incredibly versatile guitarist John Etheridge, before he became better known as a jazz player and his collaborations with Stephane Grappelli, playing fast and furious in an inventive blues/rock style very much his own. But I can’t remember anything about who was in his band – our attention was all on Johnny Etheridge and his fingers.

      Anyone else remember?

  40. Soren Beengaard Nielsen Reply

    April 6, 2020 at 3:43 am

    I shared accommodation with Pete Newberry at Fulbourn Hospital for some time and enjoyed his drumming and musical knowledge.

    Unfortunately, I have lost contact with Pete. I know he went back to live in Godalming, Sandrock House in Knoll Road. I know this as my wife and I visited Pete there around 20 years ago. We corresponded a few years afterwards, birthday and Christmas cards, but the contact fizzled out.

    I know Pete went to New Orleans and holidayed in the States. He was involved with a blues band “Lux de Lux” producing a CD of a live recording at the Three Lions [pub?]. Of which he gifted me a copy.

    I would very much like to hear from him again to know that he’s okay, especially in these times. So if anyone knows of his more recent whereabouts please respond. I would love to know if he remembers the Dane with whom he used to share lodgings and represent trade unionwise, despite the fact I was not in his union!

    I would like to hear from him again.

  41. Chez Cherry Reply

    July 2, 2020 at 2:46 am

    Seems like everyone here was at a Blodwyn Pig gig. I was there and don’t remember it being that crowded. Loved the Gin Mill.

  42. Colin Vane Reply

    November 9, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    Only just found this thread. It must have been around 1968-9 that I was a regular. I clearly remember Fleetwood Mac turning up late and not making themselves very popular.

    The mind could be playing tricks but I think it was the following week when Duster Bennett played. Backing up Buster was a superb guitarist playing an ES335. He apparently wasn’t a regular blues guitarist but you’d never have known! Sorry; I can’t remember his name.
    At the end of the night, Mike Vernon came up on stage and announced that the atmosphere was so great that he was going to record Duster’s next album live at the Angel. Sadly I never made it to that gig.

    The Gin Mill was always rammed apart from a space around a character commonly known as “Pete the Leap”, whose energetic dancing always created some room.

    So many great bands; such great times!

    I never saw Free there, but did see them in a pub in Worplesdon (the White Lion?). Absolutely blown away by an unassuming kid called Paul Kossoff.

    • Alessandro Borri Reply

      February 22, 2023 at 2:10 pm

      Thanks for your memories! Did you remember the band Free playing in Worpledson at the White Lyon pub? Perhaps was during 1968 or 1969?

      Any kind of memory would be really appreciated eg which day? which songs were played? how many people were there? and so on…

  43. Colin Lucas Reply

    December 30, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    I met my wife to be for the first time at the Gin Mill in 1969/70, she must have been impressed by me sitting on top of a dumpy bin at the end of the night clutching a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale.

    The plastic lid gave way but I never spilt a drop, it just took me a long time to get out.

    Angela married me four years later and we enjoyed 45 years of wedded bliss until she sadly passed away this year.

    It introduced us to the talent of Peter Green and onto Fleetwood Mac et al.

    Great memories of fantastic nights no ID needed. I’m 67 now so too old to be embarrassed by admitting to the bin thing.

  44. Tim Wheatley Reply

    February 13, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    The notorious Market mentioned in the ad at the start of this thread was a blues band I played in with Chris Brayne the drummer later known as Wheelbarrow.

    We were local musos just starting out and Pete Newberry gave us the chance to play alongside Chicken Shack on September 29, 1968 which was a great thrill for us.

    Later on I played with a prog band Gracious! and we played at the Gin Mill after the blues boom had faded.

    Since 1986, I have played in Cryin’ Out Loud which included Wheelbarrow until his untimely death in 1996.

    I was, pre-pandemic, still seeing Pete Newberry regularly when we played at Scratchers (Three Lions) in Farncombe.

    He’s very modest about the Gin Mill but I have reminded him how important he is in my musical history.

  45. Michael Ashworth Reply

    March 19, 2021 at 5:45 pm

    As Tim Wheatley says above, Pete Newberry can be found in Godalming. Before all the current nonsense he was a regular at the Three Lions, often there for live music nights. My guess is that he’ll be back there once (and if) it re-opens.

    Pete was a great help when my brother and I did some keen but naive band promoting in the early 70s at The Civic Hall and the University in Guildford. Pete knew most of the London talent agencies and how to get get a reasonable price. He was a positive part of my formative years too.

    I recall seeing Chicken Shack, Duster Bennett and Christine Perfect and her band.

  46. Simon Hayes Reply

    November 7, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    Used to go from time to time when I could get a lift, usually with friend Tony Waterhouse. We used to park in Mint Street. During intervals we used to go to the Rose and Crown for a drink to avoid the queues in the Angel itself.

    The Gin Mill bar was the first place I saw both Newcastle Brown and Southern Comfort for sale – both at a huge price compared to other drinks. I remember JJ Burnel, who was in my class at school, driving right into the Angel courtyard on his Harley.

    I took my now wife to the Little Thatch for dinner in June 1971. It was the first time that I had taken a girl to a “proper” restaurant. Can’t remember what we had to eat, but it was washed down with a bottle of Mateus Rose as the height of sophistication.

    It was a nice place with friendly staff/owners and good food. From an incomplete set of diaries, bands I saw at the Gin Mill included:
    Duster Bennett 7/6/1970
    Peter Green 12/7/1970
    Keef Hartley 19/7/1970
    Blitzkrieg, Duster Bennett 26/7/1970
    Van der Graaf Generator 13/9/1970
    Supertramp 18/10/1970
    Groundhogs 25/10/1970
    Genesis 20/12/1970
    Nemesis, Tear Gas (later SAHB) 28/2/1971

    Blitzkrieg were an excellent local band who I saw at a number of venues. I think they were managed by Pete Newberry. Would love to know if there are any recordings of their music!

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *