7 Jul 2020
Sulgrave Boys Club
The very beginnings of what was to become The Who by way of The High Numbers and The Detours was a short-lived group known as the Sulgrave Rebels.
Way back in the late-1950s a young Shepherd’s Bush lad by the name of Roger Daltrey formed a skiffle group of that name with his school mates from Acton County Grammar – Roger on guitar, along with Reg Bowen, Alan Pittaway and Derek ‘Del’ Shannon with Mike McAvoy on tea chest bass. They called themselves the Sulgrave Rebels because Daltrey and Bowen were both members of the Sulgrave Boys Club situated at 287 Goldhawk Road. Other members of the youth club were a young Irish teenager called Jack Lyons who lived on the Kelmscott Gardens estate and 13-year old Pete Townshend from Chiswick.
Despite having never appeared in public, in the summer of 1958 the Sulgrave Rebels entered a talent competition which was held at Wormholt Park school, Shepherd’s Bush. They performed two numbers made famous by Lonnie Donegan, ‘Ham And Eggs’ and ‘Grand Coulee Dam’. Against heavy opposition from other groups (with electric guitars!) the Sulgrave Rebels won, were awarded record tokens and their photograph appeared in the Acton Gazette & Post. This was to be their first – and last – gig ever.
The Sulgrave Rebels: l to r: Alan Pittaway, Reg Bowen, Roger Daltrey, Mike McAvoy and Derek ‘Del’ Shannon. Photo © Alan Pittaway
Irish Jack recently sent Roger a YouTube video of a visit by the Duke of Edinburgh to Sulgrave Boys Club in 1961. Sadly, neither Roger, Jack, Reg nor Pete are in it but it gives a good idea of what the club was like nearly sixty years ago. And what is so amazing is that Sulgrave Boys Club, which was founded in 1926, is still going strong today and at that same address in Goldhawk Road. It’s now known as the Sulgrave Youth Club. More details can be found here.
Time for another gig by the Sulgrave Rebels?