On February 25th, 1967, shortly after Jimi Hendrix met drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding to formed the Jimi Hendrix Experience (October 1966), he played a gig in Chelmsford. This was possibly one of the most exciting gigs that has ever taken place in Chelmsford.
At the Chelmsford Museum you can hear some accounts of the night – it was a packed house. The video below shows a few minutes from that night – the crowds can be seen, and everyone appears to be having a rocking time!
This 4 minute video shows some of the footage from that concert – Jimi Hendrix Experience playing Stone Free.
Photos from the Video
The Chelmsford Corn Exchange
Chelmsford always had a busy corn market. Up until around 1857 corn was traded inside the Shire Hall on Tindal Square, however, in 1855 The Chelmsford Corn Exchange Company was formed and they needed their own building to expand trade. It was designed by the architect Frederick Chancellor, who was also Chelmsford’s mayor. The Chancellor Hall (now Evoke Nightclub) was named after him.
“The new Exchange measured 100 feet by 45 feet, and the roof of the main hall reached an apex 40 feet above the floor. The hall was curved at one end for a platform and had a gallery at the opposite end to facilitate public entertainments”. – http://seax.essexcc.gov.uk/Result_Details.aspx?DocID=67725
The Chelmsford Corn Exchange stood on Tindal Square but it was demolished in 1969 to make way for a new town centre. The Chelmsford Corn Exchange Company had already gone into liquidation – hosting gigs was not enough to keep the business alive. It was a very popular Saturday night venue in Chelmsford. The Who, The Yardbirds, Geno Washington, Goldie and the Gingerbreads and Bo Diddley also played there.
“The place was always packed, standing room only as there were no chairs. When I think about it we were fortunate to have seen all those artists live on stage. Would they come now?” Sue – a regular at the Corn Exchange.
After the gig Hendrix and the band popped in to the Spotted Dog on Tindal Street for a few refreshing beers. Chelmsford was not even a city then – maybe it can be this great again one day! Chelmsford does have one music venue on Tindal Square still – The Loop does regular acoustic, blues and rock sessions. There are a few other music venues in Chelmsford too, although none currently match the heights of the old Corn Exchange.
- Jimi Hendrix Chelmsford Corn Exchange – Chelmsford Rocks website
- Old Photos of Chelmsford / Essex on Flickr – Essex Postcards
- CHELMSFORD CORN EXCHANGE COMPANY LTD. – Essex Record Office