The Eel Pie Island Museum
We are sitting on a wealth of fantastic musical history with a ready market of people wanting to see it. It’s time to give people a reason other than rugby to come to Twickenham!
In the 50’s and 60’s the infamous ‘Eelpiland’ club, set in an old hotel on Eel Pie Island, played host to many superstars such as The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart & Eric Clapton as they started their careers back in their youth. It was one of the key venues in the British RnB explosion & a place close to the hearts of thousands of fans who frequented the place.
In 2015, with the help of local sponsors & volunteers, we ran a 5 month ‘pop-up’ museum all about this famous island, where we welcomed over 1200 unanimously positive visitors!
Among the items on display were photographs, memorabilia & video telling the story of Eel Pie Island. The Rolling Stones even signed & dedicated a custom photo montage for us.
We now want to get to the next stage & put down permanent roots. We have earned much support from the local council & community; Everyone agrees this museum should be an established part of Twickenham, but we need to raise more funding to help this happen. www.eelpiemuseum.co.uk
What we’ll deliver:
- Establish and manage a permanent museum site and gift shop
- Promote the museum to a worldwide tourist market
- Encourage community & local business involevment
- Establish educational links with local schools
Why it’s a great idea:
Our borough is steeped in history and stately homes but at present we only have a small display board dedicated to one of the most exciting aspects of our heritage – Eel Pie Island. The board attracts much attention and almost daily tourists amble across the bridge to the Island looking for a taste of the musical heritage, but the hotel is long gone and there is nothing left to see. We want visitors to come to Twickenham for a musical journey, visit the museum & spend time in our town center. We have already proved that we can increase tourist traffic to Twickenham which will also create opportunities for new ventures; people who want to set up a record shop, a vintage clothing store and boat trips around the Island, all of which would have appeal to people visiting the museum. We ran a successful pop-up for 5 months last year, attracting over 1200 visitors & want to build upon what we have already achieved.
Steps to get it done:
- Work with the local council to secure a site for the museum.
- Draw upon the curating, management and retail experience of founder Michele Whitby to make it a success
- Use a team of dedicated, enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers
- Build upon our existing displays & content & seek to acquire memorabilia from key musicians
- Learn about & employ proper conservation processes for our archive.
Some words from Music Heritage UK founder, James Ketchell, following his visit to our pop-up museum
‘Michele Whitby’s work (for no financial reward) is remarkable and the exhibit showcases brilliantly the musical history of the island and what made it such a special place. It would be a huge shame for the work of Michele and the other volunteers to go to waste, while there remains a huge opportunity for the area to become London’s prime music heritage tourism destination.’
Some comments from our pop-up museum;
‘It was great to see such a unique & well thought out selection of memorabilia from one of my hangouts in the 60’s. Great memories, hope the exhibition finds a permanent home’
‘Twickenham has to find a proper home for this history & this great display – it’s far too important to be packed away & there is plenty more still to be told too.’
Our honorary patrons include inventor Trevor Baylis and musicians Don Craine, Ali Mackenzie, Peter French & Derek Griffiths.