he Troubadour was founded by Michael and Sheila van Bloemen in 1954 as part of the second great London coffee revolution. The first, in the late 17th and throughout the 18th century, saw the foundation of London’s first coffee houses. Thriving centres of metropolitan gossip, commerce and finance these coffee houses are perhaps best remembered for Dr. Johnson, who used to frequent them, and for Mr. Edward Lloyd, on whose premises the London insurance market was founded.
The latest revolution has seen a number of American “chains” “roll out” their “cookie cutter” operations to every London street corner. But after their 19th century decline it was the 1950’s which saw the revival of London coffee houses as centres of culture and civilization. Raffish, continental, revolutionary, these new cafés became centres of rebellion and new music for the young and the young at heart. Earl’s Court, the wild western frontier of bohemian Chelsea, saw a particular concentration of new establishments, the most famous of which was the Troubadour.