IT was 50 years ago that a former schoolhouse became a master class for jazz.

The Concorde Club started life in 1957 in a room at the side of the old Bassett Hotel in Burgess.

But in 1970 the club took the major step of moving up the road to Stoneham Lane, Eastleigh.

It is believed to be the longest running jazz club under one ownership in the world.

Although it has never forgotten its jazz roots today it embraces all genres of entertainment, continuing to attract top stars from both sides of the Atlantic.

This year the club, founded by Cole Mathieson, is celebrating a string of major milestones, summed up on the cover of its latest programme which proclaims 63 years of entertainment, 50 years at Stoneham Lane and 20 years of the Ellington Lodge Hotel which was built in the club's grounds.

Cole has often said that the Concorde is a club that the members made and he has always been grateful for their input.

When the club moved to Stoneham Lane he was faced with the huge challenge of transforming an old schoolhouse, tucked up a country lane, into a jazz club.

Cole said they would not have done it without the help of scores of members who gave up their spare time to decorate the building and clear the jungle like grounds.

The Concorde has attracted jazz stars from both sides of the pond including Nat Gonella, Joe Harriott, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Teddy Wilson, Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen, Acker Bilk and Humphrey Lyttleton.

Jazz giant, the late Ronnie Scott played the Concorde many times between 1959 and 1989 before opening his own legendary club in Gerard Street, London.

Many musicians who have cut their musical teeth at The Concorde have gone on to be household names like Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Sir Elton John, Alan Price, Georgie Fame and Manfred Mann.

From its jazz roots the club has branched out to become one of the south's major entertainment venues with a star studded cast of names taking centre stage including The Osmonds, The Three Degrees and American crooners Jack Jones and Buddy Greco.

The brainchild of Jamie Mathieson, the award winning PhoneyFest has become the annual stage for the United Kingdom's major tribute acts.

On July 29, 1970 there was a giant jam session to mark the passing of The Concorde at the Bassett.

Famous bandleader Alex Welsh was one of the opening acts on August 18, 1970 as the Concorde took off from its new home.

In that opening year there were some star studded headliners who became household names like jazz trombonist and vocalist George Chisholm, Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets, Terry Lightfoot and Chris Barber Jazz Bands and Brian Auger Oblivion Express.

Fifty years on and The Concorde is set to celebrate its Stoneham Lane golden anniversary with a summer ball with a Caribbean twist on August 1 in the main club, marquee and gardens. The glittering line up of entertainment includes a steel band, Legend with its tribute to Bob Marley, Rule the World as Take That, the Powerhouse Gospel Choir and King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys.

And The Concorde is also celebrating the 20 th anniversary of the Ellington Lodge Hotel. Music lovers who check into the hotel can eat and sleep jazz.

For the rooms of the 35 bedroom hotel are named after jazz greats.

Named after jazz icon Duke Ellington, the names reflect how the club has become an international jazz mecca.

Bedroom door plaques bear names like Ronnie Scott, Kenny Baker, Nat Gonella and Sasha Distell.

When The Concorde switched to Stoneham Lane more than 50 years ago it was seen as very much a move to the country and there were initial fears that it was too remote.

Today that is clearly not the case. A new community, including more than 1,000 homes, has been created on the club's doorstep.

The newcomers will not have to go far to enjoy a feast of entertainment and in its 50 th anniversary year the Stoneham Club has a mouth watering menu including rock' n roll legend Marty Wilde, who will be headlining on May 6 and whose career began in 1957 – the year that The Concorde made its debut.

Tickets are available for the summer ball on August 1, celebrating 50 years at Stoneham Lane and for this and information on other Concorde events ring 02380613989 or visit