COVID-19 restrictions have put a huge strain on performance establishments and the Railway Inn is one of 556 venues joining together with Music Venue Trust to #saveourvenues from closure. Hear below from Lucy Knight, who runs the Railway Inn with Dan Lloyd, about what make this venue a treasure of the community and how we can help save it.
Find out more about the campaign or how to make a donation to save the Railway Inn here.
Please could you tell our visitors and residents the history of the Railway Inn and how it came to be the much loved venue it is today?
It is hard to pin down exactly when the Railway Inn was constructed but you can see it clearly labelled on a map dated 1871. Legend says that the Platform 1 venue room was originally built as a stable for livestock being transported to the nearby train station. In 1927, alterations created most of the building’s layout that is current today and by 1932 the inn was functioned as a local for railway workers and Fulflood area residents, with Platform 1 operating as a bottle store.
The 1973 Register of Licenses granted in Winchester shows the Railway Inn under licensee Reginald J Lowe and there is a note of permission for music from 7 to 10pm. This may well mark the day the pub became a music venue.
What has been your favourite event hosted at the Railway Inn?
Crikey, it’s difficult to pick one! Having been a big Starsailor fan in the 90s, it was a special treat to see James Walsh performing a number of my favourite tracks on stage.
The Skindred gig was quite special. The room was so full of people, it was difficult to move, but there was a level of camaraderie among all of the attendees, with a mutual love for the ripping beats escaping the speakers. If anyone fell down in the mosh pit, hands instantly reached in to pull them out.
Can you tell us about some of the big names that have performed at your venue?
Ed Sheeran, Frank Turner, Dua Lipa, The Sugarhill Gang, This Is The Kit, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Chesney Hawkes, Ginger Baker, Gruff Rhys, Imelda May, Robyn Hitchcock, James Walsh, Boo Hewerdine, Mark Chadwick, Andy Burrows, Laura Veirs, Kevin Eldon, John Parish, John Otway, Peter Bruntnell, Nizlopi, Wreckless Eric, Mark Morriss, Chuck Prophet, Akala, Kirk Brandon, Ed Tudor Pole, Eighties Matchbox B Line Disaster, Neville Staple Band, Emily Barker, Charlotte Hatherley, Coal Porters, Fairport Convention, Nils Frahm, The Felice Brothers, Dr. Feelgood, Skindred, The Beat, Mungo Jerry, Beth Jeans Houghton, Grace Petrie, Ghostpoet, Slow Club, Scritti Politti, Lucy Rose, Focus, Martin Harley, Martin Stephenson, Martin Simpson, Kelley Stoltz, Electric Eel Shock, Jolie Holland, Dan Baird and the Homemade Sin, John Bramwell, Joey Landreth, Rob Heron and the Teapad Orchestra, Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind, Rhino’s Revenge, The Blowmonkeys, Scarlet Soho.
Can you tell us about any other types of events that have been hosted at the Railway Inn?
During non-COVID times, we hold a weekly Open Mic Night called Roots every Monday. We hold Poetry Platform events on the first Tuesday of each month. Both Roots and Poetry Platform are available to the local community for free to give them an outlet for their crafts and to keep the creative pipeline flowing. Artists from these events may be offered support slots for larger touring bands.
We provide the space for South Coast 4 Music (SC4M) to hold their annual all day festival.
We have worked with Winnall School of Rock to provide Platform 1 to them for their end of year show.
In January 2019, we teamed up with Winchester School of Art to provide space around the premises for them to hold their end of year show.
Please could you tell us your favourite thing about working at the Railway Inn?
My favourite thing about working for the Railway Inn is making sure we continue to keep our doors open to ensure our local community can access a safe space to perform their own material, socialise with friends and family and watch locally, nationally and internationally acclaimed artists comfortably within our Platform 1 and Platform 2 venues.
Please could you tell our residents and visitors more about the #saveourvenues campaign
Music Venue Trust, the charity which protects, secures and improves the UK’s grassroots music venues, has launched #saveourvenues – a campaign to preventing the permanent closure of 556 venues at risk due to COVID-19. The campaign aims to bring together artists who want to help, with the venues they love and provide an easy way for music fans to financially support the resultant live streams.
The idea behind #saveourvenues, is to secure grassroots music venues one by one, as Frank Turner has been doing with his Independent Venue Love series of concerts.
A map of venues keen to be partnered with artists, individual fund raising pages for each venue and a list of events are all available at the saveourvenues.co.uk website.
#savethe30 is a new phase of the #saveourvenues campaign launched in November 2020. It is focused on securing the future of 30 venues who have been deemed ineligible to receive funding from the recent government backed Culture Recovery Fund. Railway Inn is one of the 30. This new ‘Traffic-Light’ campaign will highlight venues considered safe until 31 March 2021 to those considered at imminent risk of permanent closure.
MVT are now urging everyone who cares about these venues to write to their local MP, council, local charities, and anyone else they can think of to demand action to prevent them being closed for good.
A new crowdfunding initiative powered by Crowdfunder was launched on Wednesday 11th November to secure the future of these 30 GMVs. By visiting a single landing page at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/save-our-venues-red-list people can choose an individual venue to donate to. If an individual target is reached by a particular venue the surplus donations will go towards supporting other venues in crisis.
As part of these crowdfunding efforts there will also be a new range of merchandise exclusively available to support this campaign. Every item bought directly supports a venue, with MVT paying the costs of printing, packing and delivery.