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Tales from the Colony Room: Soho’s Lost Bohemia

By Darren Coffield

The authorised history of London's most notorious drinking club

Art | SALE
114% funded
282 supporters

Publication date: Spring 2020

book cover
You made Tales from the Colony Room: Soho’s Lost Bohemia a reality. It's available in all good book stores now.
$40  + shipping
178 pledges


A first-edition hardback version of the book
Buy now
$75  + shipping
7 pledges

Two Books

Two Hardback books, shipped together
Buy now

Sold out!

$45  + shipping
54 pledges

Signed edition

A first-edition, signed, hardback version of the book
$90  + shipping
15 pledges

Book bundle

Two first-edition, signed, hardback versions of the book.
$120  + shipping
7 pledges

Michael Heath cartoon of the Colony Room Club

Signed, limited-edition print of Michael Heath’s famous cartoon from 1993. Edition of 25 hand, signed by the artist. Plus a signed, hardcover version of the book
$225  + shipping

Colony Room Club 50th anniversary exhibition catalogue

Colony Room Club 50th anniversary exhibition catalogue (1998) and invitation card signed by Michael Wojas. Plus a limited-edition, hardcover version of the book. Only one available
$225  + shipping
6 pledges

Portrait of Joe Strummer of The Clash in the Colony Room Club

Silkscreen print by Clancy Gebler Davies. 89cm long x 57 cm high. 10 available. Comes with a signed, hardback edition of the book
$525  + shipping

Original banquette material from the Colony

As sat on by the tender cheeks of Francis Bacon, Kate Moss, Tilda Swinton etc. Comes in a presention box with a certificate of authenticity and a signed, hardcover version of the book. Six available
$1,500  + shipping
1 pledge

25 Signed Hardback Books

25 Signed Hardback Books
$2,700  + shipping
1 pledge

Original artwork

A first-edition, signed copy of the book plus the original portrait (ink drawing) of the second club proprietor and barman Ian Board, by Coffield
$2,700  + shipping

Portrait of John Deakin (after Lucian Freud)

Brush and ink on paper, by Darren Coffield. One available, plus a signed, hardback edition of the book
$3,750  + shipping
1 pledge

Lost Bohemia special

A first-edition, signed copy of the book plus original preparatory ink drawings of Francis Bacon, Ian Board and Muriel Belcher by Coffield, plus your name printed in the front of the Colony Room book as a patron and supporter. Only four pledges available.
$7,500  + shipping


Help make this book happen: in return, you will be personally thanked at the front of the book and will received a dedicated, hardback edition.

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WARNING: This book contains strong language, sex, violence and extreme wit.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the closure of London’s infamous arts establishment, the Colony Room Club in Soho, former member Darren Coffield has written the authorised history of this notorious drinking club. It’s a hair-raising romp through the underbelly of the postwar arts scene. During its 60 year history more romances, more deaths, more horrors and more sex scandals took place in the Colony than anywhere else. And if they didn’t actually happen there, they were definitely planned there.

In a regimented and sexually repressed postwar London, the Colony attracted professional drinkers to a man, woman or something in-between, since sexual non-conformity always played its part in the mix. The Colony was heroically bohemian and was created by two dominant personalities – that of its owner, Muriel Belcher, and the artist Francis Bacon. Muriel was a combination of muse, mentor, critic and guru to those who gathered around her. The Colony brought together the confluences of talents that would help define postwar London and will be forever associated with the artistic circle of Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud.

These ghastly English laws, you can’t have a drink, can’t do anything. Do you think they’ll ever change them?...I can take you up that awful Colony Room if you like. Francis Bacon

This is an oral biography, consisting of previously unpublished and long-lost interviews with the characters who were central to the scene, giving the reader a flavour of what it was like to frequent The Club.

With a glass in hand you’ll move through the decades listening to personal reminiscences, opinions and vitriol, from the authentic voices of those who were actually there. On your voyage through Soho’s lost bohemia, you’ll be served a drink by James Bond, sip champagne with Francis Bacon, queue for the loo with Christine Keeler, go racing with Jeffrey Bernard, get laid with Lucian Freud, kill time with Doctor Who, pick a fight with Frank Norman and pass out with Peter Langan. All with a stellar supporting cast including: Peter O’Toole, George Melly, Suggs, Lisa Stansfield, Dylan Thomas, Jay Landesman, Sarah Lucas, Damien Hirst and many, many more.

To book your place on this extraordinary and scandalous romp through the postwar Soho scene, make sure you pledge and pre-order your copy. 



Quick select rewards

  • Darren Coffield avatar

    Darren Coffield


    Darren Coffield was born in London in 1969. He studied at Goldsmiths College, Camberwell School of Art and the Slade School of Art in London where he received his Bachelor of Fine Art in 1993. He has exhibited widely in the company of many leading artists including Damien Hirst, Howard Hodgkin, Patrick Caulfield and Gilbert and George at venues ranging from the Courtauld Institute, Somerset House to Voloshin Museum, Crimea. His work can be found in collections around the world. In 2003 his controversial portrait of Ivan Massow, former chairman of the ICA in full fox hunting costume, was exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Portraits of George Galloway and Molly Parkin (NPG, 2010) followed, and most recently a depiction of former Miners Union leader Arthur Scargill made entirely from coal dust.

    In the early nineties Coffield worked with Joshua Compston on the formation of Factual Nonsense - the centre of the emerging Young British Artists scene. A new book by Coffield about this period in British Art, Factual Nonsense: The Art and Death of Joshua Compston, was published by Troubador.

    Coffield lives and works in London.

  • Darren Coffield has written 3 private updates. You can pledge to get access to them all.


    SAVE THE DATE: 22nd April 2020, 6-9pm



    Featuring: Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, John Deakin, Nina Hamnett, Isabel Rawsthorne, Daniel Farson, Harry Diamond, F N Souza, Sally Duxbury, Elinor Bellingham-Smith, Trog, George Melly, William Redgrave, Denis Wirth-Miller and many, many more...

    Dellasposa Gallery,

    2 Bathurst…

    30th October 2019 Tales from the Colony Room: Soho's Lost Bohemia

    The title of the book has changed to : Tales from the Colony Room: Soho's Lost Bohemia

    The design for the cover is being finalised next week. The book will be going to print soon.


    LAST ORDERS: This is the final chance to have your friend or loved one's name printed for posterity as a patron in the Tales from the Colony Room book. But hurry you only have until 20 October to take up the offer.

    5th March 2019 PROGRESS REPORT

    Richard Collins, editor of Christopher Howse's Soho in the Eighties, has been hired to cast his critical eye over my manuscript for Tales from the Colony...

    "It doesn’t need me to say it, but this is an outstanding compilation, a true social and artistic memoir of the richest kind, with moments of great sadness and absolute horror offset by those of extreme hilarity. Nostalgie de la boue indeed…

    17th January 2019 Progress report

    Happy New Year!

    The manuscript for Tales from the Colony was handed to the publisher before Christmas and I have spent the last two days looking at hundreds of photos of the club and its many members.  I will be finalising the illustrations and sorting out the permissions for the book over the next couple of weeks.

    Thank you once again for subscribing to the book.

    Kind regards,


    9th November 2018 Manuscript submitted

    Hi - Just finished the manuscript for the Colony book last night and emailed it off to the publisher.

    As soon as we have finalised the manuscript I will let you know the publication date.

    I am now making small caricature illustrations of the people featured in the book.

     Kind regards






    25th October 2018 101% funded. Thank You!

    A huge thank you to everyone who has pledged for Tales from The Colony. I am just completing the manuscript now and it will be sent off to the publishers in the next couple of weeks. I will keep you all updated concerning the book's progress and the various Colony events I have in the pipeline.

    Best wishes

    Darren Coffield

    5th September 2018 Last leg

    Tales from the Colony is now 93% funded.

    Thank you so much for your support!

    If you know someone who might want to pledge and have their name published in the book as a patron there is still time.

    Unfortunately once the book is 100% funded we cannot add anymore names as  the book will be being published and distributed to retailers.

    Kind regards,





    9th July 2018 Tales from The Colony talk at Sohemian Society

    Darren Coffield will be discussing, Tales from the Colony Room Club, from 7pm this Thursday at the Sohemian Society.

    Venue: Sohemian Society, 1st floor, The Wheatsheaf, London W1T

    3rd July 2018 The third milestone

    Tales from the Colony is now two thirds funded.

    A huge thank you to everyone who has pledged their support.

    Please continue to spread the word as it will be impossible to publish the book without your invaluable help. 

    You are quite literally making history happen!

    Best wishes,

    Darren Coffield

    19th May 2018 Over the hill?

    We have now passed the 50% mark. A huge thank you to everyone who has supported this unique and historic book. However we still need to raise another 46% to reach the target and publish the book. So please spread the word and forward the link to friends and family who I am sure will find the book of interest :

    The book makes an ideal gift or present…

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  • samantha taylor
    samantha taylor asked:

    Hi What's the authentication for the colony room carpet? Where's it been for the last 10 yrs?

    Darren Coffield
    Darren Coffield replied:

    It's an offcut of the club carpet. given to a member of the club's committee by Michale Wojas. It has been in a storage lock up for the last ten years and only recently came to light as they were clearing out the unit.

    Tim Harper
    Tim Harper asked:

    Darren, Please can you explain the difference between the two books and book bundle pledges. Are they all first editions or does the pledge dictate a different copy? Many thanks Tim

    Unbound replied:

    Hi Tim, Thanks for your question! The 'Two Books' level includes two unsigned hardbacks, and the 'Book Bundle' level includes two signed hardbacks. Both would have combines shipping to one address. I hope this helps! Unbound Support