The Fox & Goose Hotel, Hanger Lane, London W5

One of the reasons I’ve been meaning to visit ‘The Fox & Goose’ is because ‘The Who’ performed there in 1963 as ‘The Detours’.

They made their one and only appearance there on Friday 11th January. I came across the website shown below, which revealed that there was a Jazz Club there in the 1950’s.

Roger Trobridge had visited the hotel and he kindly gave me permission to include the following:

‘I visited ‘The Fox & Goose’ pub on Hanger Lane, Ealing, London, on Wednesday 19th August 2015 with Colin Kingwell to talk to the current manager, Julian Peters.

Julian wanted to know more about the pub’s musical history. He was aware that ‘The Who’ played there when they were known as ‘The Detours’. We talked about the Ealing Jazz Club, which was held there on Friday nights in the 1950’s.

Steve Lane, cornet, ran the club with his New Orleans Jazz band, ‘The Southern Stompers’. Colin played trombone and the banjo player was his friend Cyril Davies.

During the evening, Cyril Davies switched to a 12-string guitar and played acoustic Blues in a small group with Bob Watson. This was the start of the British Blues boom ten years later.

The pub has changed a lot since the Jazz Club days. It was a skittle alley before it became the club room and now it houses the new kitchen and a conference room.

We gave them some photos and newspaper cuttings about the Jazz Club’s acoustic Blues sessions, which are now on the pub’s history wall.’

I met up with Sammy recently and I was pleased to see that the framed newspaper cuttings are still there and they show the likes of Steve Lane, Cyril Davies, Colin Kingwell, Ian Macdonald, Dave Hill, Stan Darlington and Dave Golding etc. One caption reads:

‘During the interval in the Trad Jazz band’s performance, ‘The Bob Watson Skiffle Group’ played a mixture of Blues and Folk songs. Cyril Davies, Bob Watson, Jim Forey played guitar and Mike Collins played washboard.

Also displayed on the wall were some details of the hotel’s history, which revealed that the freehold was purchased in October 1790 for £846 by John Thompson and some old local maps.

The field adjoining the building was sold in 1918 for £750. The tenant was listed in September 1929 as Augustus Richard Nice and he was still there ten years later.

An advert appeared in the ‘Wants’ section of Kinematograph Weekly in 1915, which read:

‘Wanted at Once – 30 Second-hand pegamoid Tip-up Seats. Must be cheap – Nice, Fox & Goose, Hanger Hill, Ealing.’

The Ealing Gazette & West Middlesex Observer filed the following article on 24th November 1917: ‘The famous path that once ran across the “Fox & Goose” field is at last closed legally several weeks after it has been closed practically.

The official notices that indicated the path to be closed, when all signs of it had disappeared, have been taken down.

The alternate road has been well prepared but owing to heavy traffic and wet weather it is always covered in slimy mud.

There are occasions, too, when that path is impassable, for it is easily blocked by the huge motor lorries that unload near-by, and at times the trail of smoke across it is capable of holding up an army…’

An article regarding the skittle club appeared in the local press in November 1917. It reported that 126 entries had been received for the handicap tournament, which was open to all amateur players.

G. Cromer of the ‘Fox & Goose’ was proclaimed the winner. He served as a corporal in the 13th Middlesex Regiment and had only recently returned home after two years and two months in France but was unfit for further service. H. W. Jacob of Brook Green finished in second place.

The proceeds of £7 10s were added to the fund that was being raised to help members of ‘His Majesty’s Forces’.

It was reported in October 1932 that a hall, known as ‘Priory Hall’, had been opened: ‘This charming newly-appointed up-to-date hall can now be let for Dinners, Dances, Whist Drives, Concerts etc.’

Apart from having a pint of London Pride, I must also mention the ‘Smoked Chicken & Mrs Owton’s Bacon Club Sandwich’.

Steve Russell

(Thanks once again to Roger and also to Colin Woodley for sending me the various newspaper articles)