Howff is a Scots word meaning enclosed space, a favourite haunt or a shelter. A very appropriate name for a folk club started in a basement! There was a chemist shop above and the basement was used as an air-raid shelter in the Second World War. The gathering for The Dunfermline Howff Folksong Club started here on 16th October 1961 led by John Beck and John Watt (1933-2011). The club met here until 1969 when they needed more space.
Performers included Jimmy MacBeath, The Humblebums, Josh MacRae and Jeannie Robertson. Other significant performers like Barbara Dickson and the Stewarts also played and you can hear some on the Spotify playlist below.
There’s a YouTube with John Watt and Davey Stewart from 2010, singing the classic ‘Kelty Clippie’ below.