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Pete Doherty becomes regular at Rosslyn Court B&B in Cliftonville

Unless you've ventured inside, you'd be forgiven for walking straight past Rosslyn Court.

It is, after all, just one of the many unassuming B&Bs lining the streets of Cliftonville.

Rosslyn Court B&B in Sweyn Road in Cliftonville
Rosslyn Court B&B in Sweyn Road in Cliftonville

But actually, the building in Sweyn Road - taken over and renovated by couple Morag and Chris Butler in 2017 - is much more than your average seaside bed and breakfast.

A hotbed for folk and blues jamming sessions, the B&B boasts a small acoustic music club bringing in well-known and local performers, with Pete Doherty a regular.

Morag says it was a chance meeting with The Libertines' frontman, involving a hover board, at Cliftonville farmers market that led to their unlikely friendship.

She admits she "didn't know him from Adam" before he was pointed out to her.

"Someone said 'that's Pete Doherty' - he was on one of these hover board things and I said to him 'is that difficult to ride' and he said 'want a go?'.

The Libertines star with Morag Butler
The Libertines star with Morag Butler

So Morag, 62, clutching his hand, got on - and promptly fell off.

"After that we started chatting about our builders, who had quoted to do work at his place, and I said I had built a music venue and he asked if he could play there.

"I laughed and he said 'what about tonight'. I said 'I'm a bit busy tonight' so he said 'tomorrow night then'.

"So I gave him my card."

Taking him up on his offer, Morag, a retired teacher who sings folk, went to the Indie rocker's Margate hotel The Albion Rooms, which opened its bar The Waste Land last month, and rang on his doorbell.

'He's a wonderful entertainer. He's very generous and encouraging of other people' - Morag Butler

"I heard a car hooting behind me and it was him sat in his Jag," she said.

"He'd lost my card. He got out, pulled out a manual typewriter, put it on the roof, pulled out a postcard from his back pocket, put it in the typewriter and started typing my details.

"I thought 'we are doomed!'

"I asked him where we would get an audience by tomorrow and he said 'people will fly in from Japan to see me'. Well, perhaps they didn't come from Japan but they came from as far away as Glasgow and Oxford."

She says every time he's played it has been done at 24 hours notice.

Morag and Chris Butler. (19262021)
Morag and Chris Butler. (19262021)

"He's a wonderful entertainer. He's very generous and encouraging of other people," she said.

"He gets me up on stage to sing, too. He doesn't care he's got a 60-odd-year-old woman on stage with him.

"Four times he's played and he's brought Carl (Barat) once.

"They really are brilliant at what they do."

The venue has a loyal following and Morag says she likes to showcase local quality performers as well as those well-known in their field.

Pete Doherty performs with Morag Butler. (19262024)
Pete Doherty performs with Morag Butler. (19262024)

She also runs workshops, including in fiddling and clog dancing.

Events at the 35-seat venue are usually world, folk and traditional music but she is happy to accommodate other acoustic music.

The only thing she does insist on is silence.

"We've got the 'toffees of shame' - so if someone is talking while someone is performing they get offered a toffee to shut them up," she laughed.

The couple bought the run-down building in May 2017.

Pete Doherty takes to the stage at Rosslyn Court. (19262018)
Pete Doherty takes to the stage at Rosslyn Court. (19262018)

"We were going to go to New Orleans, I do folk singing so we were going to do the camper van dream, you know how it is once you reach a certain age," she said.

"But I needed a new hip - not very rock and roll, is it?"

Morag and Chris, 67, on a friend's advice, visited Thanet and fell in love with Margate.

They took on Rosslyn Court, rumoured to once have been a brothel, and have never looked back.

For more information about events at Rosslyn Court click here.

For more quirky and unusual stories, click here

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