Room at the Top



Green Lane, Redruth


After the close of the Truro venue Dave took Room At The Top to Redruth. A venue was found in the form of the old Radical Club. The building had been erected in 1886 and housed some of the towns more radical Liberals. At the time it had been operating as The Key Club, run by the team behind the Barn Club in Penzance.

Again the venue had no drinks license and didn't serve alcohol, so patrons had to make their way to the local ale houses for stronger refreshments. The venue opened its doors in October 1968. While Truro was solely a disco the Redruth club became a live music venue. Records were being spun by Dave and Steve Foster, followed by Johnny Bigg (of Little Johnny & The Giants). Downstairs was a coffee bar, while upstairs there were soft drinks served through a hatch. The first band to play was most likely Underground Sound in early December 1968.

As the 60s were coming to an end peoples tastes were starting to change, with people tiring of the overblown excesses of psychedelia and heavy rock, and started to move back to folk and rock folk sounds. Room At The Top reflected these trends. While it still put on rock bands (such as Juicy Lucy, Orange Bicycle and Sir Doulgas Quintet), it was fast become one of the premier folk clubs in the South West.

Jucy Lucy live on stage (Thanks to Mike Harwood)

This move into folk was somewhat due to the trouble the venue encountered. Being located next to a local council estate it occasionally attracted a small group set to cause trouble. This resulted in several incidents outside the club, with patrons being attacked as they left (including a knife being pulled on David). The culprits were reported to the police and those who had been attacked were asked to come forward to the police station. In the end the police were turning people away so many came forward!

David decided that there must be a safer way to make a living and closed the disco. He took a trip to London with £300 and purchased some clothes, which he would sell from downstairs under the name Togs. Upstairs continued as a venue, but now the focus was very much on folk, and Room at the Top was relaunched a as a folk club.

This was helped in part by Henry Bartlett who had excellent connections on the folk circuit and booked bands for Dave. Henry was also part of The Famous Jug Band, alongside Clive Palmer, Pete Berryman and Jill Johnson. The FJB would for a while become something of a house band at the venue, regularly performing to packed houses. During the summer months the house band was Strange Fruit, featuring Keith Warmington and Pete Keeley.

The venue hosted a very impressive roll call of artists including, Ralph McTell, Michael Chapman, Amazing Blondel, Al Stewart, Strawbs, Long John Baldry, Tir-Na-Og, Dr Strangely Strange, John Martyn, Bridget St John, Forest, Strange Fruit, Keith Christmas, Noel Murphy & Davey Johnson (Draught Porridge).

Thanks to Graham Hicks for the above scans

Noel Murphy & Draught Poridge Live at Room Of The Top, 1970


Bridget St John - Like Never Before (Live at RATT, 8th July 1971)

It also hosted local acts such as John The Fish and Bristol folkies Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra, who recorded their Piggery Jokery LP live at the club.

Steve Wells remebers his time at RATT;

"I spent many a night at Room at the top in Redruth, attending Redruth Grammar School between 1967-74 we were known as the hair-bare bunch and we used to freak out on the dance-floor much to the amusement of Johnnie Big! How many times did I approach a member of the opposite sex and say to her 'Fancy a freak'!. I saw James Martyn, Ralph McTell and Al Stewart (he arrived in a Lamborghini!)"

Dave had again built up a hugely popular and respected venue that would close in its prime in the early 70s. This time he chose not to carry on the Room at The Top name and embarked on a successful career in photography. He would also take Togs to ininitially Redruth High St, before relocating to Helston and running the store until around 2007. Sadly Henry Bartlett passed away in 2001.

The venue ran as the Bellevue Club until the 90s. The building has now been converted into flats.

Here's some vintage recordings, all recorded live at Room At The Top;


Tir Na Nog - Time Is Like A Promise


Strange Fruit - The Cuckoo


Hamlim (Dave Evans, Adrienne Webber & Pete Airey) - Now Is The Time


Hamlim (Dave Evans, Adrienne Webber & Pete Airey) - Lovin Hannah


Pete Keeley (Strange Fruit) - The Ghost


Click here for the Truro Room at the Top

Thanks to queenincornwall for date information & Mike Bray & Graham Hicks for images



Did you visit this venue? If so please get in touch!