Photographic celebration of Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club swings into Barbican

Photographs of legendary British and American jazz singers and musicians are featured in a new exhibition at Barbican Music Library, which charts the first ‘golden’ decade of Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London.

‘Ronnie Scott’s 1959-1969: Photographs by Freddy Warren’ includes a selection of photographs that capture the atmosphere and movement of jazz at the Soho-based club, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.

Freddy Warren photographed – both, in performance and off-stage - Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Count Basie, Tubby Hayes, Ella Fitzgerald, Zoot Sims, Cleo Laine, Tony Bennett, and many others.

Warren was the club’s in-house photographer from the opening night in 1959 at the original venue in Gerrard Street and documented the construction of the current site in Frith Street in the mid-1960s and the arrival of the big American stars of the day.

The free exhibition at the City of London Corporation’s library also includes rare vintage prints, some which were salvaged from the walls when the club was renovated in 2006; Freddy Warren’s original contact sheets; and previously unseen prints produced exclusively from the original negatives for this exhibition.

The National Jazz Archive in Loughton, Essex, has kindly loaned a selection of items from the period.

Simon Whittle, co-author and nephew of Freddy Warren, said:

“My uncle loved working at Ronnie Scott’s for so many years and enjoyed rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in the business.

“If people enjoy viewing his photographs and go away with a sense of how magic was created in the club on those dark and smoky nights, I am sure that Freddy, if he were here today, would have been delighted.”

Graham Packham, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, said:

“Brought together in this new exhibition, Freddy Warren’s photographs will present a wonderfully evocative and affectionate portrait of the club and the performers who graced its stage.

“Jazz has always been a hugely popular musical genre, so my colleagues at the library are expecting the exhibition to be a firm favourite with jazz lovers and music historians, as well as its regulars who may be struck by how Freddy’s images convey so much joy, passion, and skill.”

‘Ronnie Scott’s 1959 - 1969: Photographs by Freddy Warren’ opens at Barbican Music Library on 12 October and runs until 4 January. Free admission.

The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages Barbican Music Library, is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £100m every year.

In partnership with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra, and Museum of London, the City Corporation is leading the development of Culture Mile between Farringdon and Moorgate, a multi-million-pound initiative to create a new cultural and creative destination for London. As part of this, the City Corporation is providing a £197m investment in the new Museum of London, which will open in West Smithfield in 2024, and £4.9m to support the development of the proposed Centre for Music.


Notes for Editors:

Simon Whittle, nephew of Freddy Warren, and Charlotte Jones, librarian at Barbican Music Library are available for media interviews. Please contact Andrew Buckingham for more details and images from the exhibition.

The exhibition at Barbican Music Library coincides with the publication of ‘Ronnie Scott’s 1959-1969. Photographs by Freddy Warren’ co-authored by Simon Whittle, Freddy’s nephew and archivist, and published by Reel Art Press.

Media enquiries (interviews and high res images):

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

Tel: 020 7332 1452 / Mobile: 07795 333 060


About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. 

About Barbican Music Library:

Barbican Music Library, which is owned and managed by the City of London Corporation, is a vibrant public library in the heart of the Barbican Centre with books, spoken word recordings, DVDs, CDs and scores available for loan to all visitors. The Library has particular strengths in music (including listening facilities and practice pianos), arts, children's and financial sections, as well as Internet access and self-service photocopying. Membership is available to those who live, work or study in the City of London, and regular visitors to the Barbican.

Barbican Music Library is on Level 2, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS. It is within walking distance of a number of London Underground stations, the closest being Barbican, St Paul’s and Moorgate. The nearest train stations are Liverpool Street and Farringdon. Bus route 153 runs directly past the Barbican. Free bicycle spaces and paid car parking spaces are available.

Opening times are: Monday and Wednesday 9.30am–5.30pm, Tuesday and Thursday 9.30am–7.30pm, Friday 9.30am–2pm, and Saturday 9.30am–4pm.

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