Memories of Murray’s to go under the hammer at Fernhurst


MEMORIES of Murray’s Cabaret Club – one of the country’s first topless venues, best remembered for its links with Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies –are to go under the hammer at Fernhurst auctioneer John Nicholson.

They include two stage costumes designed by Ronald Cobb, as well as his original drawings, photos, posters and cuttings. One of the costumes was worn by actress Patsy Snell, well-known for her roles in the Carry On films, Up Pompeii and Follow that Camel.

John Nicholson explained: “These two costumes were Elsie’s Burchmore’s favourites and she kept a tight hold of them throughout. She got the idea for the beading and intricate design from a pair of curtains in Café de Paris, in Paris, and painstakingly traced the design at the time in the café.”

The items are the last vestiges from the club which stood on Beak Street, Soho, and are offered for sale by the family of Elsie Burchmore, from Churt, a wardrobe mistress who created the elaborate costumes in collaboration with stage costume designer Cobb.

The items have been carefully preserved since the club’s closure in 1975 when Elsie bought the entire costume collection from the liquidators, as well as drawings, photographs and cuttings. In spite of putting up almost the entire collection for auction in 1984, she sentimentally held on to her two favourite costumes and accompanying club paraphernalia, which are to be included at John Nicholson’s sale. Murray’s customers ranged from gangsters and celebrities to politicians and royalty who needed somewhere private to let their hair down. Among them were The Kray twins, Jean Harlow and Princess Margaret.

The auction takes place on October 11.