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Les Enfants Terribles
93 Dean Street, London W1  
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These photos come from Charles who somehow got them from Christian.
They are from his wedding in 1977 and feature Charles himself and Jacques Chidoub!

These photos all come from Gary

Gary, Lucio, Doreen

George Portelli, Lucio, Gary

Gary ,Lucio and a friend who managed a club on the north side of Oxford Street; forget the name and a few other people. He was on holiday from America and we just bumped into him by chance. I was on holiday in Teneriffe and didn't know Lucio was there. I was on the beach one day with friends and i heard this voice 10 yards away - it was Lucio and his family. Later on we bumped into the man in the pic with Lucio


George, Gary and others

Pit Stop flier

And once more we must thank Charles for finding this
Jon Friend  Adrian: you introduced me to the Fleet St branch in about 1968/9 when we met for lunch. I still remember that I ordered les rognons.


Adrian Stern  Only just seen this comment Jon. I don't think I'm getting all the notifications! Can't see a problem though.
I'll believe your memory is better than mine - wasn't the food pretty good? I know the waitresses were of course!


This turned up on Facebook. Though people would like to see it. From 1960 apparently.
Thanks once again to Charles for finding this flier on eBay

Take a ride round London in the late 50s
An amazing set of film clips.
Thanks to Jon for unearthing them.
NB: There is NO sound unfortunately
Adrian Stern  Take a look at this amazing bit of footage


Jon sent me this email:

This article could have been written just for you

And the email contained a word file being an extract from this blog entry

Vive les minets - French Dandyism in the 1960s POSTED BY ERIC BRIGHTWELL, OCTOBER 8, 2014 08:00PM
As a fan of fashion, youth subculture, and the 1960s, at some point I was bound to be made aware of the French minet subculture. Obviously, since I'm writing about it, that momentous occasion has arrived at some point in my past. I can't remember when or where it occurred (the internet is a safe bet) but in the intervening years I've found very little about this stylish group. Compounding my frustration is the fact that what little that I have uncovered about minets is almost always written or recorded in French -- a language of which a month of skipping class at College les pins Castries did little to improve my command. The French Wikipedia (Wikipédia) is humorously blunt in its entry: un jeune homme vêtu à la mode, équivalent masculin de la minette. Last and least -- most of what has been written about minets in English is by writers discussing within the larger context of mod subculture -- a style tribe about which far too much is artlessly written and rehashed.

With that in mind, however, kindly allow me briefly add to the conversational clutter concerning mod, as its evolution is tied closely to that of the minet. Although today mod is often characterized as a mid-60s, working class subculture fueled by the holy trinity of amphetamines, scooters and soul music, it first appeared in the late 1950s when a largely middle class group of mostly Jewish teenagers with families in the clothing business and for whom the chosen drug was apparently coffee. Modernists, as they then to themselves referred, championed modern jazz over trad jazz (which was championed by the Acker Bilk-listening, bowler-hatted, beer-swilling, baggy sweater-and-duffle coated trads). Sharing their love of modern jazz were the beatniks, but their beardy, black, cultivated scruffiness was rejected in favor of the natty continental style associated with untouchable icons of French cool like Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon.
The caffeinated coffee bar scene had sprung up in the London's Soho area and attracted skiffle fans, rock 'n' rollers, beatniks, trads, mods, and more. There were venues like Les Enfants Terrible, Le Macabre, Le Kilt, and La Poubelle which catered to a caffeinated clientele of French au pairs, expats, children of diplomats, students, tourists, and the Francophile Modernists, who adopted the custom of smoking Gauloises, the French cut hair style and Shetland wool cardigans paired with brushed or quilted bluejeans, white socks, and loafers (either tasseled or penny -- with a genuine American cent piece, of course). The English exposed the French, in turn, to a better class of pop music.

The site is well worth a visit if only for the complete article and video clips
Adrian Stern  This may interest you all
Thank you Jon!


The opening of Le Kilt in 1963 with some celebrities.
Thanks to Charles for finding it.
Between 24th December 1968 and 1st January 1969, some 50 friends from Le Kilt, Les Enfants Terribles, Le Bataclan etc came and went over 8 nights to a party at 9 Ladbroke Square, Notting Hill and hosted by John Kenny, Pierre Richard and Pierre Oberson.
The few photos John has sent me can be seen here.
If anyone has any more memories to contribute please share.
Adrian Stern  I've just posted some photos from 1967 you may like


Adrian Stern  Sorry. Had to correct the dates. One year out


I've had some interesting correspondence with John K
And here it is:

Hi Adrian,
What a great website, have just spent a memorable trip down memory lane. As an obvious lover of Soho, I would recommend you read a book by Suggs (Madness) titled Suggs and the City, My journey Through disappearing London, if you have not already read it that is. Chapter 1 - Soho-itis.
While it is mainly set in the fifties (refers to Daniel Farsons book - Soho in the fifties) it gives you a great sense of the Soho we used to know and love. Also has a photo of Soho in the 60's showing a street with the Blue Moon strip club.
The Blue Moon club from research was on Frith Street (14) and the same photo can be found on the Blue Moon website. Thanks again. Any idea how much the entrance charges were to get into the clubs.?
Keep up the good work and now I have found it, will be a regular visitor.

I wasn't sure what he meant so I replied:

Do you mean the strip clubs, sex clubs or discos?
Did you know they rented out rooms in the house above the Blue Moon?
I knew quite a few (waiters) who lodged there. Knew some of the strippers too as they'd come out to the discos for a drink after work.

Once this was clarified as being the discos I asked João as I thought he might know and he did:

Hello Adrian
In Martin's time ladies got in free during the week thanks to their membership card. Otherwise it cost £2 to get in. Men with membership paid 5 shillings or £1 if not members.
At the weekend ladies paid too. I think £1 pound.
£1 was a lot of money as a bank clerk earned £5/£6 pounds a week...
I was in charge of the brush to draw a letter on the back of people's hands with some invisible ink only seen under ultraviolet light.. That was strong security...

Adrian Stern  Does anyone know/remember any other prices?


Thanks this time to Paolo Onofri for this amazing photo from 1964.
This is his description:

An old picture of us in London's East End coming back from the Tower of London.
Spring 1964 with friends visiting from Italy inside the car.
Three of us were the owners:
Francesco on the left-hand door,
Me standing holding the right-hand door,
Luciano shooting the picture.

We had bought that car for £90 a few days earlier. A great bargain and great fun (two more seats in the back, with window wipers)
What a glorious time we had with only one minor problem. Those £90 were the last money we had.

Adrian Stern  An amazing picture from 1964!


Paolo Onofri  My London,My Clubs, My memories, My friends, My life.
Thank you Adrian.


Sheila Rowhan  Wow!!! What a beaut of a car ...£90 well spent Paolo.


Jon F  wow! a drophead coupe convertible apotheose!!


This appeared on Facebook today. thought you might like it.
Adrian Stern  Have a look at this! Footage from Le Macarbre


Thanks again to Charles for finding this flier on eBay
Adrian Stern  We now, thanks to Charles, have a possibly 1969 flier


Sheila Rowhan  Bravo Charles!!!


Bruno sent me a photo of this sugar sachet from 1966.
I will admit I'd forgotten there were sugar sachets, let alone imprinted with the name.
Thank you so much Bruno for this and for your story.
Adrian Stern  New relic discovered


Alison Moyet  My father was a waiter - coffee maker here in the late 50’s


Roy Deverell  Roy

Really? What was his name? I occasionally worked there at the same time


Adrian Stern  Please Alison post more of your father's story
You from Billericay?


Jon asked about coffee prices at LET and I didn't really remember. So we asked Franco Davanzo and got this reply:

In 1966 the price for a coffee either espresso or white was 1/3, the same as for a Coke or a Fanta, for a short period of time Lucio decided to be extravagant and offered not only Coke and Fanta Orange but also the more adventurous Fanta Lemon however that didn't last as it wasn't very popular.
Hot chocolate was 1/6 and the rolls filled with gouda cheese or Danish Salami were 1/9.
Of course all of the prices were SERVICE NOT INCLUDED as the waiter was paid a meagre 10 bob and the tips boosted his or her wages, the pay for the "coffee boy" was 30 bob, no tips for him or her.
In 1968 the prices went up and all of the drinks got to 1/6 and the rolls 2 shillings.
The 2/6 or half crown was charged on Sunday afternoon because of the "Sunday Club" when the dancing downstairs was open.
We had to pretend that the Discotheque was open on Sunday only for the members of the "Sunday Club" as it would have been illegal to open to the general public on a Sunday afternoon.

Adrian Stern  So the final word(?) on prices


Jon F  those were the day! I could eat what I wanted and not worried about cholesterol


Adrian Stern  You don't have to worry about cholesterol now. I'm sending you some information.


Lauryn de Leeuw  when I was an au pair in London, I used to go to Les Enfants on my time off- And I loved that place, meeting very cool people.


Eric has sent me a photo of his membership card from 1967.
I have never seen such a card before and have absolutely no memory of there even being membership cards.
Do any of you others remember them? Remember having one?
I've asked him what was on the other side - maybe that will jog my memory.
Mind you I really don't remember psychedelic anything nor the named cocktail parties!
Adrian Stern  Anyone remember a membership card?


remember? remember?
So at last two pictures from our reunion on 1st and 2nd October 2016.
We met at the Pillars of Hercules - because of its location, not the selection of beers nor service
Adrian Stern  Finally a couple of pictures of our mini-reunion


charles  Beautiful fotos of our reunion 01.10.16 in our beloved Greek Street/Soho with my dear LE KILT friends, i will allways cherish the moments spent with you all, Sheila, Jackie, Barbara, Lise Lott, Agneta, Didier, Theo and of course Adrian


Jon F  Blessed are the ties that bind.


Kala SMITH  Anybody knows the family Garraci or Gallaci???the daughters Barbara and Judith???
I desperately need to get hold of one of the girls


Lorraine Michelle  You could google their brother, Alan Passes, the writer. Perhaps you can contact him through his agent.


Lorraine Michelle  Barbara and Judith are the daughters of Betty, the owner of Les Enfants.


KALA SMITH  Thank You lLorraine for the info.


I was just sent this amazing picture by Julien Demeuzois. I have no idea where he found it but it's great isn't it?
It shows Michele the photographer on the far left, another guy whose name escapes me for the moment but looks so familiar - and then Lucio - this is the first picture of Lucio.
A great find - thank you again Julien!
Adrian Stern  I am so pleased to have received this picture - the first of Lucio!


Adrian Stern  I got some more information from Julien this morning:
The license plate is belgian because the man who created this car, I believe the model is called "Sonora", was a belgian sports car fan and designer called Jacques d'Heur. The photos is said to be from 1965/66 but as the mdel was not released until 1966 perhaps the later date.


charles  fantastique Adrian !!


Eric   It looks like 1967 when I spent daily stay at LET. Very happy to see a full picture of my favourite place.


CHARLES  just had a good look again at the Foto i remember now one of them,, the second from the left,, Jean Claude says his Name is Tony


Sheila Rowhan  Fantastic photo Adrian - very good memories comes to mind seeing this photo of LET. <3


Roy Deverell  Lucio! Instantly recognisable even without seeing his face, especially in profile - I can hear his voice. He was a waiter when I worked there (1960-62). Downstairs at the end of the evening he would usually count up his tips, frequently accompanied by an exasperated stream of anglo-Italian expletives, 'F –k - g Madonna!' etc. However, those inadequate piles of sixpences must have been quite useful in helping him eventually acquire Les Enfants. He would sometimes drive me home to Brixton after a late night. It's amazing how few photos were taken at the time, which makes it all the more special when ones like this occasionally surface. Thank you, Adrian.


John K  Does anybody know the owner of the Mercedes car behind with initials JR(1111). The number plate is still going today but on a 2017 BMW. If anyone wants to buy the number plate JR11 then it's for sale online at £60k.


remember? I've just finished reading an interesting book about Soho which contained the following references to Les Enfants:

Chapter 13 "Making Music"
pp 307
Victor Caplin's aunt, Betty Passes, who ran Les Enfants Terribles coffee bar in Dean Street, was a pioneer of the disco. "She introduced dancing to records in the afternoons and evening in about 1957. She had the basement painted black, and put in a bar - just soft drinks. Behind the bar was a record player. You paid a shilling upstairs for a token that would get you into the basement and buy your first Coke or whatever."

Chapter 18 "The Criminal Element"
Another story I was told about the Krays was by Victor Caplin about his aunt Betty, who ran Les Enfants Terribles. "Her manager's dad ran a boxing gym in the West End and was a 'mate' of the Krays. At the time the twins were operating a protection racket in Soho, but never approached Betty as her manager's dad had put a word in for her as she was doing all right by her son."

Appendix "The Interviewees"
Victor Caplin was born in Rhyl, Wales, in 1946, and moved to Southend, where his familyhad a clothing shop, soon after. From a young age he was a frequent visitor to Soho, Where his aunt ran Les Enfants Terribles.

This is a link to the book on Amazon: Pip Granger Up West Corgi 2009 isbn 9780552153751
Adrian  This has given me a new line of inquiry into LET history - in addition to Marcia's aunt Ginny!


Lorraine Michelle  "Passes" was Betty's married name (when married to her first husband). He owned a clothing store called Bon Marche which had branches in Regent Street and Turnpike Lane. Hope that helps!


Roy Deverell  The manager at this time was Terry Mann who became my very close friend. His father was Johnny Mann, a professional mid or welterweight boxer and could have been a champion but he was schizophrenic and sometimes failed to show up for bouts. Terry's brother was also schizophrenic and would come to Les Enfants sometimes and, on occasion, could be observed talking to the wall. Terry was 10 years older than me but we had a lot in common - both of our families were from the East End where he knew my uncle who had run a boxing gym and we both shared a similar sense of humour. We would often spend the entire evening at Les Enfants laughing so much that my sides would ache the next day. I used to work there some evenings during the week and most weekends. In common with most of the people on this site, my Les Enfants days were some of the happiest I ever had and definitely give me the strongest sense of nostalgia.


Jon F  Talking of boxer injuries, I was reading recently about Freddie Mills tragic end. I had forgotten what a big name he was back then. He suffered badly from blinding headaches from being knocked about. He was known to disappear regularly and take naps in his care till his head cleared in the back of his club in Falconberg Mews.While he was indebted to the Krays , they had no intention of "killing the golden goose" but no doubt did put the frighteners on which led to the open verdict as to his "suicide: in the car rifle at his side, We shall never know.


Pasquale Marioni  Thanks Adrian, looks like a "must read"



Mike Savva, Victoria Mills and Andy

I got a contact item from Mike Savva and have been exchanging emails with him since. I think he's mistaken about where he was but I've been wrong before. What do you think?
J'ai reçu un message de contact de Mike Savva et nous avons échangé des courriels depuis. Je crois qu'il se trompe de club mais je ne suis pas étranger aux erreurs. Que dîtes vous?
Ho ricevuto un messaggio di un certo Mike Savva e poi abbiamo avuto un cambio di emails. Credo che si sbaglia di club ma posso avere torto, non é vero? Que pensate voi?

Hi Everyone, Savva here.
I used to be a regular in Les Enfants from about 1968 to about 1972. With a crowd, mostly Greeks, which included the two Andys, Big Al, Nick and Mick the DJ there for a number of years, the brothers Chris, Kyriakos, Adam etc, and many other. The girls, Sharon, Avril, Beverly, Pat, Michelle, Jo, and others.
Anyone remember me report back and maybe we can exchange some memories.
Good luck to the guys who set this up.

From: Adrian Stern
Sent: 12 August 2015 18:53
To: Mike Savva
Subject: RE: Les Enfants
Hello Savva
Nice to hear from you but I really wonder if you've got the right place.
Although I can't claim to have known everyone who ever went to Les Enfants Terribles in those years I really do not recall any of the names, nor crowds of Greeks or Cypriots - though there were always some.
And there was never to my recollection a DJ called Mick. Georgina was in charge of the records for many years and allowed Paul to stand-in and eventually take over.
I even ran the place for a while in 1970.
93 Dean Street W1?
Contact items come only to me so no-one else has seen this yet. If you're sure you haven't made a mistake I'll post it in the Guest Book where everyone can see it.
Kind regards


Mike Savva and unknown girl

From: Mike Savva
Sent: den 14 augusti 2015 11:35
To: 'Adrian Stern'
Subject: RE: Les Enfants
Hi Adrian,
Please see attached 3 photos.
The first shows me with Victoria Mills and Andy (Rubber) in the back, the second me again with a girl (forgotten her name) and the third with Beverley Green and Nicos Nicolaou.
Mike Savva

From: Adrian Stern
Sent: 14 August 2015 17:45
To: 'Mike Savva'
Subject: RE: Les Enfants
Sorry to keep questioning you but I doubt very much Doreen was ever in the club at night. Not once she had the kids. She’d come around fairly often in the afternoons when she’d been to her mother’s. Maybe it was a girl he was shagging? But a gun? Don’t believe it for a second – unless one of the mercenaries was telling stories and had let him hold one for a minute.
I don’t recognize anyone’s face nor name – nor the backgrounds to the pictures. One thing’s for sure though – they weren’t taken at Les Enfants Terribles! Downstairs always looked like a cellar. The ceiling and walls were brick and the plain wooden benches fixed to the walls never had cushions – ever. The second picture could almost have been taken at the Kilt except the coach stood on the floor so the wheel could never have been in that position. The Scotch also had a coach – but it too stood on the floor – though on the other hand it was yellow. But this is not Les Enfants Terribles.
If you really think you’re correct I’ll publish the pictures and your story and we’ll see what reactions we get – but I’m pretty sure you’re mistaken.


Mike Savva with Beverley Green and Nicos Nicolaou

From: Mike Savva
Sent: den 17 augusti 2015 08:12
To: 'Adrian Stern'
Subject: RE: Les Enfants
Hi Adrian,
We even had a reunion of Les Enfants Terribles at a mates house in Hadley Wood in 1998 where all the gang (except those who were no longer with us or abroad) came.
Anyway, please publish and see what transpires – nothing lost.
Many thanks for your time
Best wishes,
Mike Savva

Adrian  Well folks who will be the first to solve the mystery and put us out of our misery?


Sheila  Sorry Adrian, cannot help you here, maybe Jean-Claude will be able to solve the mystery. I certainly do not remember Les Enfants looking anything like this!


Lorraine  Absolute nonsense! Firstly, I was very friendly with Doreen for many years and I am sure she would have told me about the incident - had it happened. Secondly, none of those photographs were taken in Les Enfants.


Jean Doré  This doesn't sound right I was a regular at LET and remember JC and Lucio and Pino later on, this was a French and Italian hang, there was a Cypriot called Costa who was an agent chasing down Greek sympathizers, the bar was a connect to the Sicilian Mafia and a job shop for Congo Mercs, the Disco was for stupid students and dirty girls with kilts on with STDs, ... *** ..., two English girls would come down ... *** ... most nights and if they didn't ... *** ... we'd take them to my pad in Kensington. ... *** ... Fun place but it was my hang for business and later I went on to run La Poubelle with Paul. Sorry but all the comments are from the unknowing punters.


Roy Deverell  Gross!!


Jean Dore  Roy Deverell....Gross, life was what it was, that was the real LET not some stupid nice memory for posterity. Obviously you were never there or had no idea what was going on.....I had the best time in my life there... ... *** ...


Adrian   I remember you well Jean - still the fantasist. You know I was there and what you say is another unverifiable load of claptrap. Which Paul do you claim ra La Poubelle by the way?


Adrian   I remember you well Jean - still the fantasist. You know I was there and what you say is another unverifiable load of claptrap. Which Paul do you claim ra La Poubelle by the way?


Paolo  A dirty mind can be contagious, so a clean one, BUT there is a limit, otherwise Bye Bye Charlie.


Vas Adamou  Hi. My name is Vas Adamou. I was the fourth brother to Chris Adam and Kyriacos Mike Savva was talking about. We were the Greek contingent. I definitely recognise Mike and Nicos in the photo he posted and the girl Beverley looks familiar too. The name Andy (rubber) rings a bell too. Others in our group were Sue Carson a girl called Pauline (can’t remember her surname) April Elster, a black guy called Elmon. I’ll try and think of others. I will post a photo of myself to see if anyone recognises me.


Finally we've unearthed a picture of the outside of Les Enfants
Thanks to Charles once more for this photo - a still from a film he found at the BFI callsed "Sunshine in Soho watch film
Well worth a look.
Adrian  I think you'll want to see this!


Charles  well done adrian, fantastic photo...at last i can see how "LES ENFANTS" looked like in those days .. unfortunately i can not see the film in germany.:::.you are welcome adrian i am very happy for you and the old ""abitues" of les entants that i did find this film.


Roy Deverell  Yes, well done! Ah, it all comes flooding back. Unfortunately, I can't access the BFI film archive either, here in France


Adrian  Unfortunately the BFI has been fiendlishly clever and the film is streamed in small, downloaded packets that can only be played via their player. The film IS available from several pirate sites - do a search on the title. My ISP has blocked all of these as there is a High Court injunction stopping them from accessing them. If this happens to you all you have to do is change DSN server address to for example Google - ask me if you need more help


Roy Deverell  Thanks, Adrian. Will do.


Pasquale Marioni  My father Francesco Marioni was chef at the Prego in Old Compton Street during the early 60s, i used to have my dinner there most evenings, deep fried scampi and spaghetti alla bolognese etc... what a fantastic film record and LET looking almost brand spanking new.those french youngsters look a bit ancient though...lovely lovely film


Adrian  I must have met your father at some time Pasquale as I'm sure we used to eat at the Prego - I'd forgotten it. What was his name?


Pasquale Marioni  His first name was Francesco but was always known as either Nevio or Mariono


Sheila  Has anyone got a magic wand so that we can have our Les Enfants back? This photo fills me up with nostalgia!


Le Kilt
This is an email I got from Paul - so very nice:

Bonjour Adrian, Je te présente mes meilleurs voeux de bonheur et de prospérité pour l’année nouvelle. Que tous tes voeux puissent se réaliser. Afin de bien commencer l’an nouveau, j’ai le grand plaisir de t’envoyer ci-inclus une carte d’invitation gratuite d’une boîte de nuit branchée londonienne, à offrir à la créature féminine de ton choix. Le restaurant gastronomique, avec son excellente cuisine française, est à recommander vivement. La grande spécialité de la maison, sont les saucisses artisanales à la façon du chef, servies avec leur salade de pommes de terre aux fines herbes. A noter aussi que les couverts de table et la vaisselle sont d’une originalité tout à fait exceptionnelle. Keep the memory going ! Salut, Paul

Adrian  The latest change is that I'm adding the possibility of commenting on my "blog" items. Hope you like it.


Pasquale Marioni  nice one Adrian, look forward to using it


remember? remember?
Thanks to Charles I will soon be the proud owner of this invitation that is said to be from 1968. I even think I remember it. Note it only offers entrance at the members' price - whatever that may have been. Were there members? Wasn't Mario (Fascino) the artist? And printed by Dick?
Adrian Stern  Apologies to whoever you are. Someone tried to add a comment to this on the 17th but managed to get themselves blocked. I'm going to remove the code that does that as it's definitely not uselful.
Anyhow - here's what was written:
His name was actually Guiliano, not Mario. Yes, he was the artist. It is signed to the right I notice, 'Gino'.'


remember? remember?
And who can resist this invitation?
anyone for tennis?
Another old habitué has turned up with a photo I find quite unique. This is what he wrote:

J'ai une photo de 1968 á l'extérieur des Enfants ou on mimait une partie de ping pong, plus une copie d'une invitation. Je reconnais beaucoup de personnes sur le blog, malheureusement je n'ai pas beaucoup de souvenir des prénoms. Qui était au bar a l'époque? Un français du sud ( a cause de son accent).



old atmosphere
This is an interesting blog I came across that mentions Les Enfants Terribles and I think typifies the kind of visitors who came to the club in the early years.

Here's a link to the complete blog: Recollection: A New Year party to remember

For two years in a row my little French group also went to London at Christmas time. I ‘d stay with my English family for Christmas then would join my French friends for several days around New Year in a bed and breakfast close to theirs.

There were anywhere from 8 to 12 of us. We would go to record stores and listen to jazz for hours, and then would purchase some records to bring back to Paris. It was a lot cheaper to buy the Blue Note record label in London. I still have many 45 rpm records. In France, Maxim Saury signed a couple of them on the back cover, but it can hardly be seen now.

We went several times to listen to jazz at the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. It was in a basement in Soho – I think it opened in late 1959 in Gerrard Street.

I liked to be with my group of friends to go to Soho as it was a bit seedy then (and a bit naughty too.) I did not want to meet some rough “Teddy Boys” if alone on the street.

There were many jazz/coffee clubs in Soho at the time, some with even French names and French owned like La Poubelle, La Bastille, etc. One place was called Les Enfants Terribles, another Heaven and Hell and another Le Macabre – the tables were shaped like coffins and the gothic décor included bones, cobwebs and skeletons – they also recited beat poetry there. We would go to little Italian upstairs restaurants for a cheap meal.

just a hole in the ground This picture might stimulate some memories - perhaps not necessarily the best. I can assure you all it is a picture from Les Enfants Terribles although taken much later during the Black Gardenia period. They used a lot of paint and glitter but don't seem to have bothered with this aspect. Note the missing ring!
jon F  how many toilet were there then was it just 1?


Adrian Stern  You've forgotten Jon! One WC for the men on the right and the mirror for the ladies on the left. Just one each, No hot water. No towels. Not even a mirror I don't think


really? And this picture is "stolen" from Google maps - suppose they'll forgive me!
just a hole in the ground I just came across this picture in the Westminster archives. It's really of No 92 Dean Street but does show the Les Enfants Terribles building on the corner of Dean Street and Diadem Court.

Funnily enough I found Paul's restaurant - next door to Bar Italia of all places - I'd remembered it as being on the south side of Old Compton Street. Alzheimers anyone? Typically it had just finally closed down and the premises sold - I'd missed re-meeting Paul by a week or so. Another Soho institution bites the dust.

I came across this reference to Les Enfants Terribles in an excerpt from an "underground" book. I mean a book I'm not sure actually exists. This is the url: let's see what is is

It all started when Lady Cordelia Crab-Walker, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Education, phoned me one morning and said: "Stefan darling, I need your help, - 0, yes, it's immensely important - as soon as you can, there's a good boy - no, no, not in my ofice, the thing is top secret - of course, you silly - no, not that sort of 'top secret' - do you know that little place in Soho called 'Les Enfants Terribles'? It's either Dean Street or Wardour Street, never remember which - of course you do - will you invite me there for a cup of coffee at six o'clock? - that will be lovely -you are a poppet - what? - no, I didn't say 'a poppet'. of course not, it must have been somebody on the line."

We were both five minutes late and. arriving from two opposite directions, met at exactly the same moment at the entrance to 'Les Enfants Terribles'. There were no more than three or four little tables in the cafe, but there was also a staircase leading down to the basement fiom which some psychedelic music was percolating upwards towards us. We stood at the top of the staircase, when the man behind the little coffee counter shook his dead disapprovingly.

"No?" I asked.

"No," he said.

"He doesn't want us to go down to the basement,'' I explained to Cordelia.

"Why?" she asked.

"Apartheid." I said.

"What!" she exclaimed.

"Well," I said. "Age apartheid. The generation gap. He's terrified we might meet our own children there. Or grand-children."

"So what if we do? I would like to. After all. I am the Ministry of Education. Good Lord!"

All the same, we didn't dive into the cellar, we sat politely in the comer by the window and ordered one cappuccino and one espresso.

"Well . . ." she looked straight into my eyes. Her eyes were wide open. They were green. With sparks of gold.

"Well." she said, "I want you to start something . . ."

just a hole in the ground I was in London last week and visited the scene of the crime. Not a pretty sight is it? Just a hole in the ground now with no trace of the joy and despair, laughter and tears that once inhabited those old bricks and mortar that were the old Soho. I suppose change is inevitable but it's a mystery to me that none of the buildings now demolished was listed. Or is it a question of greasing the right palms? I just sent this question to Westminster council but I doubt they'll bother to reply. Remember they demolished the building that used to house the Kilt - by Adam I think - to build a new Barclays Bank office.

I tried to find Paul's restaurant but couldn't - suppose that's gone too now. The only place that seems fairly untouched is Bar Italia - tried to get some history but the barista has only worked there since the 90's - wonder how to get in touch with the retired owner?

I haven't done much to the site although I always mean to - does no-one have any photos? Please? Or any more names - there must be hundreds more!

Adrian  Now you can add comments to this blog too!


Sheila  The best club ever!!! :)


Judy Marchesi  Anybody remember Franco Marchesi and Lorenzo Epifani...Franco sange at Les Enfants in the late fifties./


the building as the "Black Gardenia" Les Enfants Terribles is a 1929 novel by Jean Cocteau, published by Editions Bernard Grasset. It concerns two siblings, Elisabeth and Paul, who isolate themselves from the world as they grow up; this isolation is shattered by the stresses of their adolescence. It was first translated into English by Samuel Putnam in 1930 and published by Brewer & Warren Inc. A later English translation was made by Rosamond Lehmann in 1955, and published by New Directions in the U.S., and Mclelland & Stewart in Canada in 1966, with the title translated as The Holy Terrors. The book is illustrated by the author's own drawings. It was made into a film of the same name, a collaboration between Cocteau and director Jean-Pierre Melville in 1950, and inspired the opera of the same name by Philip Glass. But more importantly Les Enfants Terribles was a coffee bar in Soho, 93 Dean Street, London W1. Opened some time at the end of the 1950's and closed at the end of 1972 when Lucio sold up and moved to Teneriffe.
Merco  En 1957 quand je n'avais plus d'argent j'y allais le soir y faire la plonge des tasses en échange d'un billet avec laquel je m'offrais un gros plat de spaghettis chez Faema un snack voisin. Un bon souvenir de mes 17 ans.


the building as the "Push Bar" The history of this unique café is not at all clear at the moment but as far as I can ascertain Lucio Davanzo bought (the head-lease? or the sub-lease? ) to the premises including the rooms let out on three floors above that were accessed from 9 Diadem Court and the coffe bar and discothèque from Ginny Glicksman around 1961. Previously the place had been run by Gigi (and his wife Carol?).

The coffee bar served espresso, capuccino, chocolate and tea from the Gaggia machine and originally the only soft drink was Coca Cola. At lunch times crescent rolls were on sale with ham, cheese or salami - the bar staff prepared the rolls and Camisa often forgot(?) to remove the skin from the salami which depending on who was making the rolls may or may not have been served. After some years Orange and eventually Lemon Fanta arrived. The premises were never licensed.

The discothèque was open every day from 8 pm(?) till midnight(?) as well as, in the 60's at least, Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 3 to 6 pm. The primary disc jockey was Georgina who somehow alternated with Paul but I don't remember the system - however she had an infallible system for selecting records (45's of course). She created the first play-list by sorting the records into a pile in the correct sequence which meant a number of fast records followed by a number of slows - to which the lights were modestly dimmed of course. It was also the DJ's job to sell the bottles of coke (complete with one or two straws!) which were often warm as they were sold direct from the crate as the Coke cooler in the space behind the DJ was far too small and anyway not often refilled.

Peter  yes i remember she played Ray Charles [what i say] for a fast jive , then a slow smooch i liked both loved to jive and loved to smooch , fell in love so many many times ahhhhh! Irene Tessa Sophia, Madelaine


the building many years later As often as he could, Aldo stood in the cloakroom which was incredibly expensive at 6d per item and which became really unbelievably full in the winter months! The keeper of the cloaks also had the job of cleaning the toilets and making sure there was paper - towels or soap were never seen! I don't think I'll ever forget the smell of the toilet cleanser - no idea what they used but it sure was strong!

The first waitress I remember I think was Arlette, followed by Mayté and then Marianne. This may be way out because there was an Annick there somewhere. Davide worked with Arlette and I think even went out with her. Alain Féruch worked there too long before working at the Kilt. Jean-Claude was a waiter for quite a while before he too went to the Kilt and I'm really hard put to remember many more. Did Jean-Louis ever work there? Jean-Michel I know lived upstairs for a while; I think he may have worked there too. There were so many and I'm pretty sure I'd recognise most if not all of them if I were to see them again, or just hear a voice!

the building waiting to be demolished According to Phillip, who I think in this case has a better memory than me, we were first taken to Les Enfants by Graham Wines - how he knew of it I don't know. That would have been to a Saturday or Sunday matinée I expect - and quite possibly after we'd already been to La Poubelle (Mark II) in Carlisle St (later Der Fledermaus) some time previously. Incidently Graham's sister-in-law was Sue who was my source of information for Keele later on. We? That was Phillip and me, Jonathan H, Howard S and David L and sometimes Graeme A too. We'd been to all sorts of dance places around town - I remember the Country Club on Havistock Hill best and some place in East Finchley, but Les Enfants beat them all - I think it was the intimate atmosphere compared with the rather indifferent feeling one got in the bigger dance palais. And yet the décor at Les Enfants was non-existant - or bohemian? Benches screwed to the window wall upstairs with small tables and smaller stools, a candle in a bottle and an ashtray on each table - everyone smoked of course. The walls unadorned apart from the nicotine stains. And downstairs - a cellar. Bare brick walls, more benches just wooden and screwed in place - a larger room, a smaller room, toilets and cloakroom in what looked like a disused sewer - probably just an old coal hole though.

Marianne introduced me to Patricia who she thought needed looking after. Maria and Anna claimed to be Russian because of the reputation Swedish girls had at the time. Whenever there were all-nighters, Bastille Day and New Year's mostly, we really did dance all night. So obviously teenagers. Jean-Pierre and his buddies turned up most vacations as did Pierre from Belgium who drove a Simca.

Enzo the medical student who'd often fill his forearms with cloakroom pins to impress the girls, Michele in a dinner suit and shoulder weighed down by the power-pack to his flash-gun always taking photos everywhere - we really need his archive now. Fascino. What did he do? Where did he work? Marcus from Ghana known as Herbie. An architect. Phillipe with his lap-dog and gay ways, broken English and loved by all.

Guest Post by Mel Wright – January 2010
“It’s progress isn’t it?” the massive Nigerian security guard said, hovering over me in a kindly way on the corner of Dean Street and Diadem Court, Soho. “But my history is at stake,” I protested, pointing to the boarded up building behind him.

Les Enfants Terribles
Crossrail, the multi billion pound transport project are constructing a new high-capacity, high frequency London railway – east to west. But it comes with another cost – the demolition of some old Soho buildings including music venues. Already gone, The Astoria in Charing Cross Road and a block in north Soho will also soon vanish to make way for the shiny new Tottenham Court Road Station. The casualties will include number 93 Dean Street which in the Sixties housed a basement club called Les Enfants Terribles, a French student hang out- all Pepsi Cola and Johnny Hallyday. In 1967 I drummed there with Shakey Vick’s Big City Blues Band two nights a week. The French invented Disco and this club was buzzing with dancers chasing all the new stylish Mod moves to Green Onions, Mr Pitiful and The Midnight Hour. We would haul our equipment through the back door in Diadem Court and down into the basement dive to play the blues of Little Walter, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Robert Johnson et al. They loved it – things were changing – it was ’67 and a more free floating vibe was around – blues was back in. Alexis Korner and John Mayall were hip.

Shakey on Harmonica, Rod Price on guitar
“Shakey” they’d cry out above our raw down home sounds. But Shakey was more concerned about when we could nip out to the nearby Intrepid Fox for a pint! (the pub is also about to be demolished). At Les Enfants’ we all learnt to speak a bit of French. Our guitarist Rod Price even more so as he got very chatty with some au pairs who became regulars to our little weekly caper. Rather uncharacteristically Shakey saw this West End gig as an opportunity for the band to become more professional. He proclaimed that we smarten up and not sit on our speakers when we were playing. For a while we all took things rather seriously, after all he was the boss. But it didn’t last, thank goodness. Les Enfants’ did lead us to getting a residency at The Marquee in Wardour Street. So we felt that we were on our way, of sorts.

Leaning back now against the wall in Diadem Court eyeing the doomed building these hazy memories came flooding back. “Any chance of me popping down in the club before it goes, just to take a few photos?” I asked my friendly security guard. “Oh no, can’t do that, there’s cameras see. It’s all locked up. They’ve got squatters in the pub next door.” I looked up and sure enough above the boards I saw signs of life at the window. People grittily hanging on to accommodation in central London. I wondered about phoning Shakey to see if he fancied joining me in a squat at the old club but I reckoned he’d say that he’d prefer joining them at the pub .

one of the locals one of the locals How many drinks were imbibed here? Who wasn't a regular? Or did more go to the competition...

Franco remembered:
The espresso was 1s 3d, frothy coffee or flat coffee 1s 6d and of course TIP NOT INCLUDED ! The "speciality" was the JB (Jean Bernard) cream at the bottom of the small cup and espresso on top. The cream came from the top of the milk bottles; Lucio would never have bought the cream. The waiter was paid 10s the rest had to be made up with tips. The Coffee Boy, as he was called, was paid £1 10s per session (10am to 6pm or 6pm to 12), this was later increased to £2.
The rent for a room at 9 Diadem Court was £7 a week, each room had a coin operated gas meter outside the door, electricity was included in the rent, but electric fires were not allowed.

another local This was definitely Jon's favourite. Landlord was Bob.

Jon asks:
Do you remember two English brothers; rather public school. Their mother was a lush at the Nelly Dean pub? One of them wanted a scar - Bonny & Clyde was a big film that year. He read that if one applied glue to the face and squeezed a scar line would appear, easy. He ended up with half of his face blistered and scabbed. Ah well folly of youth!

Je viens de penser à la copine de Marianne, Joëlle, dont je me souviens des petits détails car elle était très originelle – des cheveux en brosse, des bottes en caoutchouc parce qu’elle n’avait pas de quoi en acheter en cuir – et la bague à la merde qu’elle avait mise sur un doigt et n’arrivait plus à enlever et comment je l’ai emmenée à l’urgence où ils n’arrivaient pas à la découper car elle était fondue en bronze du canon ! Un génie s’est souvenu d’une méthode avec du fil de coton lié autour du doigt pour comprimer l’inflammation – et voilà !

not the same is it? It doesn't look at all seedy anymore - but it once did...

Franco remembered:
A couple of doors along towards Oxford Street there was a "porno" shop. Jimmy, the owner, was a keen boxer and he transformed the cellar of his shop into a gym with punch bag, skipping rops etc.
One morning he came into Les Enfants and said: "Tonight I gotta have a fight in Mare Street, Hackney. Will you and Lucio come and support me?"
"Yeah, OK" I said and after having a word with Lucio we decided we'd go.
Once there we felt a bit intimidated as we realised we were the only two in the crowd cheering for Jimmy! The others, a couple of hundred cockneys, supported the other chap. While waiting in the ring for his opponent Jimmy started dancing and shadow boxing and looked very professional, the picture of a prize fighter.
As the fight started Jimmy began his dancing around but the other fellow stood almost still and after about 20 seconds of staring at Jimmy bouncing around the ring his opponent threw a punch, just one punch straight from the shoulder, one single punch and Jimmy was out for the count, gone, kaput, flat on his back.
The spectators erupted and started shouting the winner's name and Lucio and I made a discreet exit.
The next morning Jimmy came to Les Enfants wearing dark glasses and without even saying good morning he shouted "Did you see that, I nearly had 'im, he just took me by surprise, I would've had 'im!"
I said "Jimmy. He only landed one punch and you didn't even strech out an arm!
And from that day on he was known as "I Nearly Had 'im", no one called him Jimmy anymore.