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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
18th February 1917 Born today: Phyllis Calvert, London, actress (Man in Grey)
18th February 1901 Born today: Reginald Sheffield, London England, actor (Second Chance)
18th February 1775 Born today: Thomas Girtin, London, artist/watercolorist
Murray's Cabaret Club
This is where Christine Keeler met Stephen Ward prior to Profumo
Location: 16-18 Beak Street, Soho
Description: This former club opened in 1933, an intimate Soho basement with space for 110 guests. In the 1960's it would be at the heart of the most enduring political scandal of our time.
Admission and membership was strictly controlled and was frequented by London's gangsters (Krays), celebrities (Jean Harlow), royalty (Princess Margaret) and the rich and famous who needed somewhere private to let their hair down. Murrays choreographed floorshows with attractive young hostesses wearing elaborate and revealing costumes.
Christine Keeler was a teenage runaway when she arrived in London and found a job here. She was befriended by the resident pimp Stephen Ward and she became one of 'Ward's Girls'. She was introduced later to John Profumo, the Conservative Government War Minister and Captain Yevgeny Ivanov, a Russian Spy masquerading as a businessman. Within days Ward began orchestrating meetings between Keeler and both men and she embarked on clandestine affairs with the Spy and the War Minister - an arrangement that would prove disastrous for them all. The Profumo Scandal was unleashed.
Times changed and more explicit strip clubs and peep shows opened, and in the face of such competition the club closed in 1975.
Pops Murray the owner died in 1979 aged 81.
Today it's a pizza parlour, bur you can still see the old staff entrance sign around the back.