Is it curtains for the Portsmouth night spot that refuses to die?

A room of faded memories, the Clifton Room at Kimbell's.
A room of faded memories, the Clifton Room at Kimbell's.
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It’s Portsmouth’s forgotten ballroom.

Many thought when Southsea’s Savoy Buildings was wiped out by fire in 2011, that was the last of the old dance halls gone.

Kimbell's ballroom and bar, Southsea.  Picture:  Nigel Grundy

Kimbell's ballroom and bar, Southsea. Picture: Nigel Grundy

But lurking above a casino in Osborne Road, Southsea, are rooms which hold happy memories for generations of city people.

As the picture at the top of the page shows, Kimbell’s ballroom still exists. Its primary-coloured paintwork might be cracked and peeling, but you can almost feel the vibes from the thousands of functions and gigs held there from the 1950s.

Now the future of this hidden piece of city history is in doubt.

As reported in The News, the Grosvenor Casino beneath those redundant ballroom and functions room looks poised to shut on August 9, with the loss of 50 jobs.

The main function room at Kimbell's in its heyday

The main function room at Kimbell's in its heyday

That will throw into doubt the future of the building and the concealed treasure on the first and second floors.

The venue has had a variety of names after Kimbell’s – titles which will stir memories for thousands: the Birdcage, Playboy Club, Pleasurama’s Tiberius.

In the 1950s Kimbells featured mainly local dance bands, but by the ’60s it was drawing the likes of Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, Manfred Mann, Graham Bond, Alex Harvey, Chris Farlowe, John Mayall and John Lee Hooker.

The Yardbirds with Eric Clapton followed along with Rod Stewart, the Moody Blues and Led Zeppelin.

Merlins night club at Kimbells

Merlins night club at Kimbells

Some of the venues which existed inside Kimbell's

Some of the venues which existed inside Kimbell's

A smattering of the big names who appeared at Kimbell's

A smattering of the big names who appeared at Kimbell's

Opening night of Kimbell's old time dancing club in Southsea on October 9, 1951

Opening night of Kimbell's old time dancing club in Southsea on October 9, 1951