Object of the Week: D is for Dragon and Devils

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Whilst the Museum is closed and our collections unable to be seen by visitors, we have created a weekly virtual museum with an Object of the Week feature from our collections.

Object of the Week: D is for Dragon and Devils

Our Museum Collections’ feature this week begins with a Call Sheet for the film The Devil’s Disciple, which was made at ABPC Studios  in Elstree in 1958.  The Call Sheet is dated 13th August 1958, at the beginning of filming, which took place between July and October. 

The film had big name stars, such as Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier.  It was based on a play written in 1897 by George Bernard Shaw and is set in the American War of Independence.  Tring was also used as a location.  

We also have a large photographic archive and this week’s selection is The Old Green Dragon pub in Leeming Road.  The pub still exists today and is popular with the locals.  During these tough times of the pandemic, the Green Dragon has been offering take-aways.  Flats were built attached to the original pub building. 

In the 1960s, the Green Dragon became the centre for jazz in Boreham Wood.  While the Red Lion catered for the Trad Jazz aficionados the Green Dragon was more towards the contemporary, ‘modern’ jazz end of the spectrum.  In early 1963 a number of local musicians formed the Woodside Musicians’ Association with the intention of getting together on Sundays to play jazz unfettered by management, percentages and fees.  George Wallace drummer from Edgware, Brian Saunders pianist and alto from Hendon, Gerald Hain pianist from Mill Hill and Reg Wood pianist from Boreham Wood were the instigators. The numbers of interested muscians grew so rapidly that by March they had formed a 17-piece big band.  The leading players were Jimmy Skidmore, one of the foremost tenor saxophonists in the UK living in Beech Drive, and his son Alan who would often play together. 

By December 1963 Tuesday was modern jazz night in Boreham Wood, and Jimmy was vice-chairman of the WMA which now had 200 members. A very successful gala evening was held and Humphrey Lyttleton, who lived in Arkley, was the special guest.  By 1965 the Green Dragon was holding dances and jazz nights on Thursdays, and the Jazz Club was still in full swing in 1968. Alan Skidmore would go on to be one of the leading saxophonists in the UK in the 70s and 80s, playing with everyone from Van Morrison, Elvin Jones, Eric Clapton, Clark Terry, Stan Tracey, Charlie Watts, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Weather Report and Dexter Gordon to John Mayall, and beyond.

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