Dobell's to 're-open'

Dobell's jazz record shop, stopping point for Muddy Waters, BB King, Roy Eldridge, Ben Webster, Red Allen and others, is to be recreated in an exhibition at Chelsea College of Art & Design this spring

DobellsThe British Record Shop Archive and Chelsea College of Art & Design are planning an exhibition celebrating the world-famous London jazz record shop Dobell's, which closed its doors in 1992.

The exhibition will feature the original shop fittings in situ, which have been housed in the basement of the Museum of London since Dobell's closed 20 years ago. The exhibition will also feature images from jazz photographer Val Wilmer, as well as from former staff and customers, along with other memorabilia from the Museum of London.

Dobell's was set up in 1946 by Doug Dobell from his father's bookshop in Charing Cross Rd, London. It became one of the premier independent jazz record shops of the time, and one of the few record shops outside the USA to stock blues, jazz and Latin music.

Music collectors would be likely to meet their heroes while browsing for their latest record, as blues guitarist Jon T-Bone Taylor recalls: "I met B.B. King there. Les Fancourt offered BB a cup of tea and apologised that it'd be powdered milk only."

The Dobell's exhibition is 10 April-18 May 2013 at CHELSEA space, 16 John Islip St, London SW1P 4JU (

In order to help meet costs, co-curator Leon Parker has started an online "kickstarter" campaign. You can help support the exhibition by donating on the BRSA's fundraising page, and find out more about the BRSA on their website. Leon Parker can be contacted directly on 020 7639 2803.

Sally Evans-Darby

Photo: Dobell's original shop in Charing Cross Road

Your Comments:

Posted by Peter Moody., 20 April 2013, 20:25 (1 of 2)

I do hope they have got Les Fancourt on-board for this. It will make it more authentic.
Posted by Baz Jones, 6 November 2014, 22:45 (2 of 2)

Received Jazz Journal for many years when younger and enjoyed every page, especially the articles about visiting American bands and artistes at American Airforce bases long before the Musicians Union allowed them to play to we general public. When they did the first one I saw was the Stan Kenton band on tour - loud and fantastic to my young ears, later Gerry Mulligan at the Festival Hall and had a seat on the stage. He was so close I could have reached out and put a finger on his Baritone Sax - didn't though as I wanted to stay for the entire concert! Glad Dobell's Record Shop is to be featured. While doing National Service and then at college in London from 1956 - 60, I spent many happy hours there. While not meeting such luminaries as B.B.King, I did meet up with Benny Hill and the recently late lamented Acker Bilk. Happy Days.
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