The Troubadour was founded by Michael and Sheila van Bloemen in 1954 as part of the second great London coffee revolution. Raffish, continental, revolutionary, the new cafés opened in the 1950s became centres of rebellion and new music for the young and the young at heart. Earl’s Court, the wild western frontier of bohemian Chelsea, saw a particular concentration of new establishments, the most famous of which was the Troubadour. So famous, in fact, that whilst others fell by the wayside, the Troubadour settled in to become a west London institution.
Through the 50’s and 60’s this was one of THE centres of London intellectual and artistic life. It’s where Private Eye was first produced and distributed; where the early Ban the Bomb meetings were held (the precursor to CND); and where the Black Panthers met when they left Paris after the ’68 riots.The Troubadour was the first place where Bob Dylan performed in London. Paul Simon, Martin Carthy, Redd Sullivan, Charlie Watts, Sammy Davis jnr and Jimi Hendrix have all played here. Led Zeppelin used to come and jam here after their Earl’s Court gigs. Tom Robinson and Elvis Costello used to play here too.
The shops on either side of the Café became available. In the Summer of 2002 after an extensive refurbishment, the current, larger Troubadour opened.
The Club and Café continue the legacy of freedom of expression and musical and creative innovation. Books have been written in and about the Café over the past 50 years, the Club has had many now famous faces on its larger, well lit stage including Amos Lee, Adele, Jack Peñate, Laura Marling, Ed Sheeran and more, while Coffee House Poetry continues in its 19th consecutive year.