For events, our new regular venue is iconic The Water Rats, 328 Gray’s Inn Road, King’s Cross, London, WC1X 8BZ (between the junctions with Britannia Street and Swinton Street).
The current site of The Water Rats has had an impressive legacy as a music venue; also as a location of historical importance and interest.
It was previously known as “The Pindar of Wakefield”, originally built in 1517, on the opposite side of the road, it shared its name with the Pinder of Wakefield [sic.] -a person whose job it was to impound stray animals. George Green, the first landlord, was alleged to be connected to Robin Hood. It also shared its name with the historical Pindar’s Fort, believed to be beneath Mount Pleasant Post Office.
Having been badly damaged in a thunderstorm in 1793, it was rebuilt at its current address in 1878, across the road from the original site. This building was once patronised by both Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx (who apparently boarded in one of the rooms above); both figures whose ideologies were hugely influential in world affairs throughout the 20th Century, and still resonate now.
Until the 1980s, it housed a regular “Old Time Music Hall”, and hosted parties during the “Blitz” to raise morale. In December 1962, Bob Dylan made his debut UK performance at the venue. Twenty years later in October 1982, The Pogues (then known as the Pogue Mahones) had their first performance here.
In 1986, the premises were bought by “The Grand Order of Water Rats”, a showbiz charity organisation, who have had within their ranks legends such as Charles Chaplin, Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, Norman Wisdom and Paul Daniels. Current membership includes Lionel Blair, Frank Bruno MBE, Barry Cryer OBE, Sir Bruce Forsyth CBE, Princes Philip and Charles, Engelbert Humperdinck, Neil Innes, Ian Lavender, Neil Morrissey, Brian May CBE, Nicholas Parsons OBE, LLD, Rick Wakeman, Roy Wood and Mike Yarwood OBE. Thus, the venue’s name was changed to “The Water Rats”.
Other musical acts which have added to the venue’s rich historical tapestry include the London debuts of both “Oasis” in January 1994, and “The Beta Band” in July 1997; added to these, Katy Perry, The Courteeners and Ra Ra Riot also appeared here prior to their international success.
In a time of great uncertainty for London’s cultural night life, happily the venue re-opened under new management in October 2015.
The Galley Club is very proud to play its part in the future of The Water Rats.
Please check where the event you plan to attend is due to be held.
Tube and rail stations: King’s Cross St Pancras (Circle, Piccadilly, Hammersmith & City, Northern, Metropolitan and Victoria Underground Lines) within a 10-minute walk.
Buses: numbers 10, 17, 30, 45, 46, 59, 63, 73, 91, 205, 214, 259, 390, 476, N63, N73, N91, N205 all stop within a 5-minute range of the venue.
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