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5. The Nest Club

In the 1930s there were six or seven mostly unlicensed jazz clubs in different basements along Kingly Street. These included the Nest, which was situated at number 23, between 1934 and 1939, and hosted some of the jazz greats of the era. The clubs became known as ‘basement bottle parties’ due to the practice of selling bottles of spirits from local shops as a way of getting around the licensing laws.

Like many other clubs in the area, records suggest that the Nest closed during World War II, and re-opened in 1944 as the Florida Club.

Audio © The British Library
This audio is taken from the Oral History of Jazz in Britain at the British Library. This life story recording was conducted by oral history interviewer Val Wilmer with Leslie Thompson in 1987 and is © British Library, catalogue reference B2445-B2447 C1. The full life story interview can be accessed at the British Library in London. For more information about The Oral History of Jazz in Britain at the British Library visit www.bl.uk/sounds

Spotify playlist of the type of music that would have been played in The Nest. These tracks were recorded in Jig’s Club, mentioned by Leslie Thompson in the above recording.

Right: Photograph of Leslie Thompson, 1931. Courtesy Jeff Green.

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