Portsmouth Music Scene

The Portsmouth Music Scene
The Forgotten Ballroom


In Osborne Road Southsea, is a building that has had many lives. Presently it is a Casino, previously it was a Playboy Club, but older readers may recall it as Kimbells Ballroom.
Above today's casiono are several unused floors that are almost untouched sing the 1970's. On the first floor is a long dance floor with a number of smaller rooms and bars.
On the second floor the original dance floor, which measures larger that a tennis court. On the top floor many smaller rooms used for casion staff training.

On the 1st floor

This is the long dance floor, with smaller bars and 'snug' areas connected. Note the masking tape star on the floor, probably from one of the final functions.

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On the second floor

Known at the Clifton Room, this was where the many private functions and dinner dances were held.

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The stage has a centre section standing 7 or 8 feet high, that had a grand piano on it!

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Monogrammed carpet! JM, was Johnny Miller, a previous occupier.
Mr Miller was known to have owned a number of other drinking and eating businesses in the area in the 1970's/1980's.

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Strangely, small urinals were built over old full length original urinals, that can still be seen through the access hole!

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On the top floor,...One reminder of a previous tenent,..... Tiberius

The Tiberius sign was removed leaving a shadowy image on the name on the wall over the County Club plaque.

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My thanks to Trevor Muston for the use of his excellent photographs.


And a final word from Pete Cross.
Superb memories and I often wondered what happened to the old place upstairs- the Ballroom was one of "the " places to hold Dinner Dances. In its last days was run by the very forceful Miss Martin (ex Copper I believe- Inspector?)) A Margaret Rutherford type woman who stood no nonsence - God help anybody if they sprayed Fun string on her carpets. Her staff were mainly elderly ladies .
I recall doing Tea Dances with sheer fear - The audience would come in and put French Chalk on the Dance floor (when Miss M wasn`t looking) and she would pop on stage to give me instructions what to do - I remember doing a strict tempo then she said "play a progressive " - obviously not Hendrix - I had no idea what to do (where`s Kingsley when you needed him)
The downstairs bar had myself and Frantic Fran doing various nights- I can`t recall the name of the Manageress but her boyfriend at the time? John was the Manager - he later died.
Johny Miller`s name always brings back memories of the lush red surroundings he had in all of his venues - Jolly Sailor, The Pickwick pub on Milton Road near the turning to Fratton Park - the name escapes me - he also took over The Wedgeroom Rooms for a while - I understand he moved to Spain (true or nor I don`t know).
As I say wonderful pictures and they certainly bring back some nice memories - though humping the gear up the back stairs was a bugger

OK, one more last word from Nigel Grundy,
the lady Pete describes as, ĎA Margaret Rutherford type woman who stood no nonsence - God help anybody if they sprayed Fun string on her carpets.í was probably Nora Scott-Bell, she was often behind the downstairs bar and kept order like a Sargent Major, we had many laughs with her.
But now I remembered that it was a Miss Worth who owned Kimbellís, not Ms Martin. There was a Worth Hotel on the seafront in the Ď60ís, I donít know if there was any connection between the two.

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Two photographs taken at Kimbells by Nigel Grundy in 1968, but who was the band?

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