Collection of the week: Murray's Cabaret Club
In 1913, Jack May, a Canadian entrepreneur and impresario, opened a new supper club in London's Beak Street. He called it Murray's and gave his venue the slogan, Forget your worries and come to Murray's. Hugely popular with smart society during the war years and 1920s, the club continued to flourish in the 1940s, eventually becoming Murray's Cabaret Club, renowned for its jazz performances but especially its extravagant dance shows featuring girls in fantastical, risqué costumes. By the 1960s, the club's clientele included a ripe mix, ranging from ne'er do wells to royalty in the form of Princess Margaret and the Duke of Edinburgh. The Duke's 'Thursday Club' friends (as seen recently in the Netflix series, The Crown) frequented Murray's, where they were guaranteed a glamorous evening of fine dining, good wine and beautiful women. The club's most notorious alumni were two of its hostesses; Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice Davies, were both key figures in the decade's most salacious political scandal, the Profumo Affair.

Murray's oozed decadence and thrummed with good time atmosphere. The Krays, Peter Sellers and Jane Birkin were among its guests, who would sit at tables lit with lamps, while the tiny stage area filled with stunning girls in exquisite hand-stitched bejeweled costumes on themes as varied as the circus or cocktails. Each costume was designed and perfected in watercolor and gouache by a number of designers including Ronald Cobb, before a team of seamstresses in Surrey painstakingly made up each intricate outfit.

We are delighted to be representing the Murray's Cabaret Club Collection of costume designs, which are available for all areas of licensing including publishing, stationery, apparel and giftware. Click here to see a selection of burlesque beauties.

Furthermore, an exhibition of original designs for Murray's by Ronald Cobb and others will open at the Century Club on Shaftesbury Avenue from 23rd March. A collaboration between our contributor & owner of the collection Charlie Jeffreys, the Museum of Soho and V&A curator Ben Levy, tickets can be booked here. And there's more on the history of Murray's here:

Mary Evans Picture Library Ltd.  59 Tranquil Vale  Blackheath  London  SE3 0BS. United Kingdom.
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