Morag renovating the studio with the help of Jack and Mia, two of our grandchildren.
We acquired Rosslyn Court in May 2017. At the time of purchase, it was a house in multiple occupation. We are told it had had a fascinating previous history, starting out as a grand private house in the later Victorian era, then being converted into a hotel with a licensed bar in the post-war boom, falling upon hard times around the turn of this century when it was apparently a house of ill-repute for a period before becoming an HMO.
The house was structurally OK but needed complete renovation. It’s in a conservation area, so we needed to work closely with the council, but they approved all our ideas and within a year it had been stripped out, reconfigured, replumbed, rewired and redecorated so that in addition to being our home, it was ready to re-emerge as a B&B and a music venue.
We took our first B&B bookings in August 2018 and have since had dozens of delightful guests - mainly via Booking.com although we also take bookings privately. In October 2018 we had also completed our studio and were wired for sound and lighting, so we put in a license application to the Council and starting hosting concerts.
Our opening concert was given by the Lunatraktors, an amazing local duo who perform a fantastic variation on the folk theme with body percussion, tap dance, overtone singing and physical theatre to rediscover folk music as a queer space of personal and political transformation. They have performed here twice more since then and Claire has run a singing workshops while Carli curated an art exhibition for the Power of Women week.
The very next day, Morag ran into Pete Doherty down at the local Farmers’ Market and amazingly he offered to do a gig for us the following night. You may wonder how we got an audience at such a short notice, but in fact Peter only needed to mention it on his Twitter feed and we were booked out, with some people travelling the length of the country to see him. He performed with some members of his current group Puta Madre and they were brilliant. Peter has been a regular visitor since and has performed for us four times more.
Next up were the Kellet Gut Shantymen who have also become regular guests. Taking from their performance go to the RNLI and we have had several other charity concerts here with beneficiaries including Crisis, Oasis and GRASS.
In 2019 we attracted an amazing collection of artists. In addition to repeat performances by all those mentioned above we have had several nationally known figures. We were honoured to host a fantastic evening with Martin Carthy with floor spots from Morag, Lunatraktors and JAKL. We have also welcomed Jez Hellard, Tim Eady, Frank McLaughlin and Stewart Hardy, and finally Hector Gilchrist and Sue Graves.
Other artists who have played here in our fist nine months include Sally Ironmonger and Brian Carter, Gaddzukes, Nunhead Folk Circle, Helen North, Brown Boots, Lizzie and Hamish Bell and Hook, Line and Sinker.
In 2020 the Covid crisis hit. Hospitality and live music venue have been badly affected, but with help from Thanet Council, the Music Venues Trust and a group of loyal and hardworking supporters, we have weathered the storm to date. Details of how we have managed to keep the venue running can be found on Morag's 2020 Blog page and details of all the live streams we have recorded together with the links to watch them on YouTube can be found on our Past Livestreams page.