on  these  pages..

08450 94 87 95






Formby Ice Rink


The Imperial Ballroom Nelson


The Riveride Club Wigan


USAA Airforce Base Burtonwood Warrington


Ince Public Hall Wigan


The Casino Club Leigh


The Cavern Club Liverpool


The Beachcomber Wigan


The Beachcomber Bolton


The Old Hall Hotel Wigan


The Garrick Club Leigh


The Empress Ballroom - Casino Club Wigan


The Casino Club Westhoughton


The Sportsmans Club Wigan


The Casino Club Bolton


The ABC Ritz Cinema Wigan


The Co-oporative Hall Leigh

The Palais Bolton


<The Transport Club Wigan


<The Ace Of Spades Whalley


<The Paradise Club Wigan


The Beachcomber Leigh


<King of Clubs Wigan


<Majestic Ballroom Barnoldswick


Pink Elephant Club - Colours - Wigan


Ocean Room Blackpool Tower


Room At The Top Wigan


<Farnworth Monaco Bolton


<The Matador Wigan


<Tower Ballroom Blackpool


The Court Hall Ballroom Wigan


The Plaza St Helens


<Chorley Town Hall


The Hole In The Wall Horwich


The Winter Gardens Blackpool


Navada Bolton


The Kingsway Club Southport


The Vauxhall Tavern Blackpool


The Bee Hive Horwich


Leyland Tiger


<Coming soon..





Mersey Sound:

50 Years On.

Bill Hart


Goin' Down Th'Imp.

By Steve Chappels


"A new revised book by Steve Chapples 'Goin' Down Th'Imp' is available now for all those regulars at the Imperial Ballroom, Nelson who would like to go back in time to the 50's, 60's and 70's etc.

All the top stars of the day would end up there sooner or later.. The Beatles.. The Rolling Stones.. "


Copies from..

Steve Chapples

133, Woodgrove Road, Burnley,

BB11 3EJ

Send a cheque for £12.00 

or buy it on ebay.






That never was?


Hi Bill

I was wondering if you could shed any light on the poster that we have a pic of here. Back in 1962 when my husband Phil was an apprentice electrician. He was sent to a printers to do some work there. Whilst he was there a young man was destroying some posters and before he got rid of them all my husband asked for one. The young man said that the concert had been cancelled and so the posters where no longer needed.


  I have been in touch via email with Sam Leach and he said he has no record of such an event. We were just wondering if anyone had contacted you or mentioned to you about a concert that had been cancelled for The Beatles at The Empress Ballroom, Wigan back in 1962? We would appreciate any information you can provide regarding this puzzling poster.
Kind regards

Linda & Phil Nicholson: June 2013




The Riverside Club


The Riverside Club at the demised Central Park, Wigan. Former home of Wigan RLFC. More here..

Pic courtesy of Graham Lythgoe


*ROOM at the TOP


*Pics courtesy of Wigan World



  "The RATT was in fact two rooms and previously well-known a the Tom Moss School of Dancing that's if I recall correctly. Now it was blacked-out laberinth of narrow landings of many stairs and steps up to who-knows-heaven-above. The 'two' rooms were located one above the other and switching between the two - via an even narrower set of stairs - was earliest form of people promanading I had ever seen. Squeezing slowly past heavily scented female bodies became quite a pleasure all of its very own I can tell you!



  RATT' wrestler-owner Ken 'Fluff' Baldwin's 'Pseudo Bohemian Coffee House' as it was advertised in the local press. Formerly Moss School of Dancing in Ormrods Buildings it was taken over by Ken around 1963. Then living in Standish Ken would pay his taxi driver in sixpences after closing up each night. Next up it became (Dave) Whelan's then Morrisons Supermarket.


Two Rooms

  The two rooms had band stages and the were lit only by ultra-violet tubes which were totally brand-new to me and very science-fiction, cutting-edge and incredibly facinating. The 'lights' were placed seemingly everywhere throughout each room and the action from it, on the eyes, was totally weird, but not uncomfortable and indeed it was great fun. The effects these days are now very well known to the experience clubber, but back then, they would show up any clothing which was white as a dazzling purple radiant glow. Much to the distress though, of innocent new-comers who happened to be wearing white underwear beneath thin cotton tops, but to the huge delight of the young men stood oggling there.


  Seated behind a shaky fold-up table at pavement level to the right of the stairs was man-monster who's name. Ken Baldwin was the owner and former professional wrestler - Tony Zane - who you would hope never to accidentally cross. He would snarlingly take your entrance money and sharply dab a blob of red ink(?) on the back of your hand to indicate that you'd paid-up or it would act as a 'pass-out' for later.



Hope Street Wigan.

The RATT overlooked the Market Square and Wigan Bus Station.


Demolition and road widening.. with snow.


  "Room At The Top annual reunions were popular up to the 1990's and were attended by a huge following at Norley Hall Cricket Club, Wigan."

Bill Hart: April 2010


 *"The chap who ran Room at the Top was Ken Baldwin not Les Farrimond. He was a former wrestler who fought under the name of Tony Zane and lived in Southport. After the Room closed he opened another club in Southport."

Norman Eastham: October 2010


  "Just read the entry for Julian & The Trolls, and your description of 'the Room', which brought back memories.  I don't know if my memory is failing me badly but I don't quite remember the same set-up - maybe we are thinking of different time periods.


  My memory is that we went up that first flight of stairs and to the left on the landing was a tiny booth where you got your hand stamped.  Ken's not insignificant bulk often blocked the booth however, and I remember the essential ordeal of squeezing past him (can still see his brown ribbed sweater at very close quarters).  In the room to the left - a snack bar, table football, pool table (?), and the cloakroom.  I don't remember a band stage or anyone playing in there.


  I do remember working behind the cloakroom with my friend Betty for the first of the all-nighters - an endless procession of people asking could they have their parka or their airline  (BOAC) bag back.  Betty and I looked despairingly into a tiny space heaving with.. parkas and airline bags, all looking exactly the same!  Not funny by about 5 am!  As the club closed we all moved on to Wigan Baths for the morning, and then Mesnes Park cafe for the afternoon.  This became a familiar routine in later days, with the casino all-nighters - but The Room' and Bluesville in Scholes were way ahead of the game.


  So many band memories, stimulated by your site - The Trolls of course, The Wheels, Lincoln Bond with 'Little Jimmy' Birchall as lead singer - sadly to commit suicide before the 1960's were over. Too many to mention. Congratualtions on Lanky Beat - really enjoying it."
Marilyn Taylor: November 2010


"My husband has just been looking at some pics on Wigan World, particularly one of Oggie and the Membranes in the 60`s.It brought back some good memories. I wondered if you remembered a group called Lincoln Bond, who got together in the late 1960`s made up of Paul and Ian Robinson (of Oggie & The Membranes) plus another couple of brothers from Downall Green, I think, and fronted by Jimmy Birchall. They gigged around locally and played Room at the Top a few times? I remember the Sunday afternoon sessions at RATT, which always had a unique atmosphere. I particularly remember a Sonny and Cher competition where each couple sang 'I got you Babe'. It was won by Jimmy Birchall and his girlfriend Ellie Meyester - she was Canadian and lived in Hindley Green. Sadly Jimmy took his own life after their relationship broke up, he was only in his 20`s. I was Ian Robinsons girlfriend at that time, we were all devastated.

  I remember Ken with the beard and the thick wooly jumper, but somewhere in the depths of my memory I remember a small dwarf-type bloke who  stood at the top of the stairs with Ken.. have I invented that or does anyone else remember him? I also remember all the scooters parked outside in those days of mods on scooters, weighed down with all their mirrors. I was one of a large gang of mods at that time, lots of great characters, always somewhere to go, parties, bowling, out-of-town pubs, and of course the ever growing club scene of the time.They do say that if you remember the 60`s you weren`t there, but I was there, went everywhere, saw it all and remember most of it with great fondness and nostalgia. Thanks so much for your website and the blogs, we always enjoy all the news, views and notices."
Barbara Mitchell: April 2012



The Imperial Ballroom

'Th' Imp..'


Click here for more..




"What I do remember about The Imp' was that one time The Rolling Stones were due to appear it was reported in the Nelson Leader that they were staying at our house. (My dad - Bob Caine was the Imp's Manager) They didn't, they stayed at the Station Hotel, but the whole road was full of fans camping out all night waiting for them, it was surreal!!"

Trish Caine: July 2010




Steve Chapples Book 'Goin' Down Th'Imp' showing the back cover featuring the

queues for tickets for up and coming The Rolling Stones gig.

                                        Imp' pics courtesy of S. Chapples.


"It's just a coinidence then, that a chap from Lancashire came up to me at the end of the gig in Newquay and asked me where I was from.. When I said "Nelson originally", we got into conversation, and he began telling me about playing in bands in the 60's and that he'd played a lot at The Imp'..

 His band was called
The Beatovens and apparently they still get together sometimes.. We had quite a long conversation about The  Imp and I told him that a cousin of my Dad's used to part-own it (his name was Roland Cort.. of Cort's Furniture Shops).

 When I told Mum about it the next day , she said she was under the impression that "Uncle Roland " actually owned it outright.. I'm not sure, but now I have Steve Chappel's email, I could check with him !

 Having seen your site, I'm also prompted to ask if any of your members have come across a bloke called Alan Holt.. He used to live on Every Street in Nelson and taught me my first few chords on the guitar.. (about  1958/9).

Be in touch.. eh!

All The Best
Bradders: July 2010 

                                      ED. "Dust' know Alan Holt anybody!"




                           The Imp' Ballroom                               Th' Imp': 1911-1976: R-I-P




The Palais de Dance



The Beat Boys play The Palais in 1960 to a record attendance.. 









The Winter Gardens



Pic by Ronnie Carr April 2011


"Scottish holiday wakes weeks in Backpool were famous for being - well.. err, Scottish Wakes Weeks. There were just two of them per annum back then - in the 1960's that is. My band The Shyms played a couple of times but the most memorable gig was the very first. These true events happened just like this.. every night.


  The Stage Manager:  "You'll be alright lads. I got two on each side of the stage - stood on the floor. I've got four along the front. I have one at each - on stage at each side; so non of them will get atcha!"

The Shyms reply was: "?"  - We didn't quite understand his meaning at first.

  "My men; the bouncers? They'll keep 'em away from yah'. What ever you do - don't stop: Just keep on playing!"


  We had, that same evening, been to the railway station to collect three brand-spanking-new Vox guitar amps'. Two AC 50s and Bass Cabinet. We spent more time backstage unwrapping them that we did testing them out. They all worked. But nievely, we didn't know how to set the amps' controls knobs to best effect - which is some times half of what any frequent rehearsal is all about. It was haywire. Volume and tone settings were right off the musical Richter Scale.  


  As soon as we hit the first note the huge auditorium erupted and burst into a life all of its very own. We thought at first it was welcomeing reponse to our presence here to entertain them, on their holidays in Blackpool. No way. Four or five small gangs of young men were now heading right for the stage.


 It was traditional in those days for the audience to gather as close-up to the band as possible; whether they were playing on a stage or not. Smaller venues didn't have such a luxury.


  To say they had been drinking a lot would be to underestimate these boys intentions. They were seeking confrontation and that's what they got - big style. The four bouncers in front of the stage didn't move a muscle at first - although you that could see that their natural instincts were telling them otherwise. They didn't have move. Seemingly out of nowhere several groups of around four other bouncers in each, emerged to intercept the rampaging gangs on their way to the stage.. and us!


  We came off stage, welcomely leaving the Bedlam behind. We weren't asked to go on again as we had done near enough to an hour of playing time - plenty for us. Another band were waiting in the wings to set up and to take out our place out three in the war zone - front line. We didn't hang about long enough to see what would happen next as it must have been our quickest ever 'pack-up and escape' and off to the chippy.. pronto!


  We had been frightened out there; but those brave lad's the bouncers. You just had to admire their bottle. We were never in any real danger as they contained the mobs superbly without much blood ever being spilled. They were big, strong, skillful and too well organised to get themselves hurt. As for the drunks, the bouncers were really preventing the them from damaging themselves. They just knew how to expertly deal with the baddies and eject them. It was certainly a good-bad job done tonight! That is, until the same time all over again tomorrow night..


I often wonder about these guys doing this thankless job; I know to them it was just another night at the office. But where does the meaningful job satisfaction come from?"

Bill Hart: September 2010



The Casino Club


The third part of the family of Casino Clubs in the mid 1960's. 

The Westhoughton version was little brother to big sisters Wigan and Bollton Casino's.

Pic by Ronnie Carr: April 2011



The Sportsmans Club

 The Carlton Club




Pic by Ronnie Carr: April 2011


"The Sportsmans Club was situated at the end of Tunstall Lane,Pemberton, Wigan. It was owned by Les Howard who was a cabaret singer doing the clubs. I think he went on to own the top-part of the Wigan Emp' - Casino's Palais De Dance and it was called Mr Ms.


  Going into the club via a small hallway which had the cloak-room and a kiosk is where you paid your entrance fee to these two local ravers below..



  The Club was a square room with two raised balconies one on each side with a central seating area and was quite well decorated.


  The acts were of a better quality than most as you paid to get in. The venue was somewhat a little different than most other places as there was a single game of Bingo in-between the cabaret.


 The acts where Jonny Ball and his group - whose group name I can’t remember but will find out - a solo singer or comedian then the main act was always one of the better groups of the time.

 Jonny would warm-up the audience and play a few numbers, then he would revert to compere and begin introducing the acts. The first act would play then there would be an interval where the single game of bingo would be played then the main act would come on stage and play for about an hour. After that Jonny and his band would finish the night off.


  You could get food and I bet you can guess what the main meal would be YEP!.. Chicken-in-a-Basket with chips.


  On occasions Les Howard would give a rendition and he was a good singer. I would take my then girl-friend to the club so as to impress her with the great atmosphere.


  A car park wasn't provided, so it was a mad rush for the bus when the night was over. It was a little strange as the club was on a one-way road-system so you had to dash to the other one-way side going into Wigan to get the bus. The crafty ones though, would run up the road to the bus stop and the first bus would be full of all the people going down to Wigan for the very late hot spots such as The Paradise Club in Vauxhall Road, Scholes."

Barry Tarbuck: August 2010


"Ipso Facto was a sometime resident band at The Sportsmens' on beat nights around 1967. Another resident group there was The Illusions featuring Eddie Barker and your friend and mine Ronnie Carr of The Beat Boys.They did some tremenous stuff and Ronnie actually played organ and sang - sheer class. The organ was a Hammond L100 and the sound was outstanding.
  I used to deliver cookers and fridges for Norweb, and if I was out and about in Pemberton, you could often find me on the Hammond during my lunch hour. I remember Malc' Grundy also making frequent apperances with The Illusions with his Fender Telecaster. I never heard him play better.."

Mitch Mitchinson: March 2011



ABC Ritz Cinema.. 


"Give us a lick of your lolly luv.."

A Wild Weekend In (Sixties) Wigan

By Barry Tarbuck (c) 2010

pics courtesy of Wigan World


Just across the road from The Emp’ was the ABC Ritz Cinema which had one of the biggest stages in the country so there was lots of groups and shows played there too.


 Whenever an up-and-coming group - The Beatles etc - were to play there, long queues - all the way down Station Road - could often be seen with hundreds of people trying to buy tickets for the show. At the time the security men on the doors were called 'Doormen' not bouncers but they were hard, fair men with a few broken nose’s and scars so not much ever happened in the way of trouble.


A atmospheric Ritz Cinema in its hey-day. 

The lonely figure of the doorman looks towards the camera whilst the lights from the upper widows shine with activity from what was a school of dancing. Margaret Sullavan starred in tonights showing of 'Shopworn Angel' made in 1938.


  Sunday nights in Wigan was‘pull’ night. The local men and ladies would go to The ABC Ritz Cinema to watch a film with the girl - if they were lucky - they had 'pulled' at the dances from the previous two nights out. Again, queues would reach down the length of Station Road so you had to be there early to get in. There were three levels of entrance fee which depended on the seats you wanted.


  The layout of the cinema featured a very large seating area set out in three sections. Two smaller sections were on each side of the main middle section.


  The middle was the place to be. You got the cheapest seats here as the other seats were at the back. Getting in early was the thing; to get the best seat positions to watch the young ladies - or men - coming in.


  Whilst the film was playing crowds of people would walk down the isles and round to the other side looking out and weighing-up the talent. No one really watched the film that was playing out.



  One of the men’s usual opening lines to the ladies was to ask? "Give us a lick of your lolly luv." If you got a response, then you were in with a chance of pulling. It was all good natured as there was no booze, only the occasional fight and that was probably between the ladies over a bloke."

Barry Tarbuck: August 2010


"I saw The Wombles at The ABC Ritz Cinema, Wigan and got Tobermory's autograph - beat that!."

Mick5813374: Wigan World: May 2010


  "I went to the concert and it was 1958 that Buddy Holly appeared at the ABC Ritz Wigan and - if my memory serves me right, Cliff Richard & The Drifters were on the same bill. Cliff had a pink jacket on and sang "Move It."

Fossil: Wigan World May 2010    



                           *Wigan born Mick Bolton from Mott The Hoople wrote:
 "On April 9th 1965 I attended a show at the ABC Cinema in Wigan at which there were rows and rows of empty seats. I suppose it could have held 1500 or more but on that night there were no more than 100. It was the Tamla Motown Revue - the first time that Tamla Acts had toured Britain and I'm happy to say that I was among the first to see them.


 A few months later the same line-up would have packed the place out. It was Stevie Wonder,The Supremes, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Martha & The Vandellas - all backed by the superb Earl Van Dyke Band. Georgie Fame was the guest artist. Despite the poor turnout they all sung and played their hearts out and I can still see in my mind's eye the whole cast strung out across the stage at the end of the show singing the Smokey Robinson song Mickey's Monkey.



'Just for me..'

  As there were so few people there I was able to sit anywhere I chose, so I sat alone in about the tenth row right in the centre. The rest of the audience were all scattered behind me so it felt as though all these great acts were playing just for me."
Banksy: Wigan World May 2010


 "I had tickets to see PJ Proby at the ABC Ritz Cinema. Then he split his pants and the replacement they got was someone called Tom Jones. I had never heard of him so got my money back!!"

process: Wigan World May 2010


The Rolling Stones at the ABC Ritz Cinema Wigan 

(Posted by anita maijer-schrot)

^Courtesy of banksy: Wigan World: June 2010  



The Rolling Stones (Wednesday 16 September 1964)

Cliff Richard & The Shadows

Cliff Richard & The Drifters

Ike & Tina Turner

Helen Shapiro

The Beatles

(Tuesday 13 October 1964: ('Star Scene Tour)

Buddy Holly & The Crickets (18 March 1958: Buddy Holly UK Tour )
The Kalin Twins

The McGuire Sisters

Lulu & The Luvvers
The Walker Brothers
Dave Dee, Dozy Beaky Mick & Titch
Gene Pitney
Roy Orbison
Cilla Black
The Rocking Berries
The Troggs
The Everly Brothers

Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas

Ike and Tina Turner 

Status Quo

The Fantastics

The Equals (Eddie Grant)

  The Supremes

Stevie Wonder

Smokey Robinson


Tuesday 18 March 1958: Buddy Holly at the ABC Ritz Cinema Wigan.

'Who is Des O'Conner?'

(Pic courtesy of Ronnie Carr)


T Rex

Des O'Connor

The Dallas Boys

Gene Pitney 1965 

Peter & Gordon 1965

Martha and The Vandellas

Georgie Fame

Frank Ifield

The Supremes

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

Earl Van Dyke Band

The Bachelors

Marty Wilde

Engelbert Humperdinck

 Lance Percival

Edwin Starr

King Crimson (1971 or 1972?)

Billy Fury (1963?)

Tommy Steel

Roy Orbison

Mike Harding

The Wombles

Hermans Hermits

Curved Air

Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Lonne Donnegan

The Paper Dolls

Amen Corner

Dave Berry & The Cruisers

The Billy Cotton Band Show

Bert Weedon


Three local chicks make their way down Station Road, Wigan towards The ABC Ritz.

The rear of Woolworth's on the left. Boarded-up furniture shops to the right.

 “I remember watching The Beatles. It was a show I will never forget what memories!”

Annie b: Wigan World: October 2010


  “The Ritz Wigan.. 18/6d it cost me for a Box as no other seats were available to see the Kalin Twins and a supporting group called Cliff Richard & The Drifters. That was in 1958. I also remember seeing The Rolling Stones, and the ticket cost my grandad 10 shillings. Nowadays I'd need to pay more like £100. Ah the grand old days.”

Kitekat: Wigan World: October 2010


Lunchtime in Wigan and a group of young fellas came out of pub in Millgate. One of them dressed all in black. That night we were going to the ABC Ritz to see PJ Proby. The Manager came on stage and said, "Mr Proby has been cancelled". His trousers kept splitting.  Then on the stage came the young fella in black we had seen earlier that day and that was the start of the career of Tom Jones. His backing band was The Squires."

Linma: Wigan World: October 2010




The Casino Club


*New pics courtesy of Wigan World



you include Woolworths store in the center, that would be four. Now replaced by a shopping mall, the foreground shows the former LNER Wigan Central Station - a direct line to Manchester Central Station. in the early 1960's it was latterly used a builders merchants and also to store materials for the construction of Wigan's new 'Olympic' swimming baths in Library Street. To the left is The Casino Club with the gable end facing the ABC Ritz Cinema situated almost opposite.

Bill Hart: February 2011


"I wonder if any Lanky Beat fans remember the night Little Richard came to Wigan Casino?


  Boy what a night that was! He had an eight-piece backing band called The Quotations; were they good?  - and I mean bloody good. We were told that a lot of American act's would not come over here unless they could have The Quotations to back them. They opened up the show with The James Bond Theme Tune. Then introducing Little Richard; he really got the crowd going. People were standing on chairs and tables. Anything to catch a better look. I have never seen an audiance get so excited. He was going down a bomb.


  At the end of his show he finished a song and then said 'GOOD NIGHT' and walked off stage and did not come back. The crowd was screaming for more  - and when Wiganer's shout for more they usually get it - but not that night. A voice came over the speaker's that Little Richard was tired and would not be coming back. Well, they went berserk. Anything at hand went flying at the stage. Bottles, glasses, chairs - you name it. One fellow picked a table - but was too far away from the stage for him to throw. I had never seen anything like it before or since. That was one fantastic night I will never ever forget."

Tony Bird: October 2010


 Good Golly Miss Molly!

"It's remarkable how a good rock 'roll act brings out the best in people. In his 1966 autumn tour Little Richard also played at the Bolton Casino. Maybe earlier on that same night and that's why he was so tired.


  The performance was great and he did a curtain call, but somebody out there must have felt unhappy. They shorted the speaker cable with a safety pin causing the sound system to fail. Tracing the fault in a packed club would take too long, so the PA rig of the resident group was quickly used for singer Vince Hill, who was the following act. The sabotage was found in the balcony cable and the fault rectified in the early hours. A memorable night in spite of all that!


  As Tony Bird mentions, it's The Quotations who are listed as the backing group for that tour and the short residency in Edinburgh. I have a vague memory of the Fruit Eating Bears backing some top-act around that time - not the Merseys - but can't recall who. Can anybody in Lankyland help?"

Ken Hampson: October 2010  


"Ken Hampson was right about Little Richard doing Bolton Casino before he did Wigan Casino on the same night.


  He also questioned who the were Fruit Eating Bears backing group in 1966. It was The Merseys who were formely The Merseybeats. In July of 1966 we saw them in Great Yarmouth and thought they were just fantastic. They were the first-ever group to use two drummer's and the timing between the of the pair of them was brilliant."  

Tony Bird: October 2010


Famous Acts at Wigan Casino

Bob Monkhouse

Shirley Bassey

The Zombies

The Hollies

Lulu & The Luvvers

Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders

The Rolling Stones 1963

Manfred Mann

Hermans Hermits

Tom Jones & The Squires

Freddie Starr

 R. Dean Taylor

The Ronettes

Marty Wilde

 Brian Poole & The Tremeloes

The Grumbleweeds
The Black Abbots

Josef Locke


Little Richard

Lonnie Donegan

Carl Denver

David Whitfield

Ronnie Dukes & Ricki Lee

Johnny Kidd & the Pirates

Gloria Jones 1973

Martha Reeves & The Vandellas 1978
Tony Blackburn 1979

Gene Vincent 1961

Status Quo

 Canned Heat

BBC Radio One Road Shows


Amen Corner

The Animals

The Bachelors

The Barron Knights 

 Dave Berry & The Cruisers 

Dave Clark Five ?


 Susan Maugham



Moody Blues


The Rockin' Berries

Sandie Shaw

Dusty Springfield 

Union Gap/Gary Puckett

Unit 4 plus 2

Gerry Lee Lewis


Little and Large

Nat Gonella

 Ben E king

Edwin Star 

 Jonny Jonson & The Bandwagon

The Elgins

The Tams

The Platters

Sandy Shaw

PJ Proby




The Casino Club side alleyway.

The bands vans would park at the side entrance to the left - unsighted. Easy access

through a pair of double doors up a couple of short steps and onto the huge stage area.


Empress Ballroom


Bill Blackledge Orchestra

Click here



The main place for thedance, rock and roll, bopping, twist etc wasThe Empress Ballroom (Latterly TheWiganCasino Club). The layout of the Emp’ - as it was called - was up the stairs of the Empress Building (downstairs was a large café, only open in the day time and a larger room at groundlevel that became known as The Beachcomber Club where all the young bands played). Up into the main ballroom was a large stage, large dance floor and cloakroom.The balcony was on three sides of the dance floor. The usual mirror ball was perched high above the middle of the dancefloor with the main bar at the entrance end.


  At the end of the right hand side balcony was a large door. This lead into the smaller dance floor with a small stage (This became Mr M’s lateron). The street entrance came from Millgate with the Ship Hotel on the lower corner. Now this was the place to be before the dancing as the 'Ship'had the reputation of the biggest knocking-shop in town.


  As I said above and just like in the Court Hall many of the best and biggest dances where the Eckersley’s Cotton Mill Dance as all the young ladies from the cotton mill would be on show that night dressed in the tightest and shortest (at the time) dresses. All the young men would be dressed in their best suits with ‘drain pipe trousers’ and ‘court collars’ of a different colour and usually velvet.


  Everyone needed to order and buy their tickets early and be sure of getting into the dance. But the Emp’ was more than just a dance hall. It was a place wereall the up-and-coming groups of the time would play to large audiences: The Rolling Stones, Marianne Faithful, Tom Jones & The Squires (Yep, the Tom Jones) plus P.J. Probyand many, many more.



  The Emp’ then developed into The Casino Club: The top venue in the country for the all-nighter soul sessions which made it nationally famous. Starting at 8pm and going on until 8am the next day they attracted soul and motown fans from far and wide (no beer was served at these events). In the 1970’s it turned Wigan into the unofficial Soul Capital of the UK with young people coming for the all-nighter from all over the world. With never very much trouble afterwards, because no beer had been served, the intoxication was the music itself.

Barry Tarbuck: August 2010


At The Casino in Wigan in the early 60s I saw Marty Wilde and Brian Poole & The Tremeloes. After their spots I think they went over to Bolton Palais and then back to Wigan Palais de Dance.

(Tell me more about Wigan Palais de Dance. Ed??).

 Also, Josef Locke. But he used an alias as he was having problems with the Inland Revenue.

 When The Grumbleweeds played and The Black Abbots, they had rows of chairs on the dance floor.

^Hursty: Wigan World May 2010


"When the Wigan Emp'/Casino closed for the night you could go up some stairs to the left of the stage, past a toilet and pass through a door, and up into the Palais de Dance. The Palais main entrance and box office area was off Millgate, Wigan, just past the Ship Inn.


  Normally you would  go in there after the pubs had shut, so people would usually have had quite a few (pints) by then! (It was laterly named Mr M's after Mr. Gerry Marshall the owner?) after they had obtained a Gaming Licence. You had to be 21 to get in. (Also, I met my first wife in there! She was 16! Billyshym: Ed.)

^Hursty: Wigan World May 2010.


"There was always a big name act on when The Casino Club became a Licenced Gaming Casino (before Mr M's). I saw Lonnie Donegan, Carl Denver and David Whitfield and they were all very good comedians as well as being good musicians. The best act was always Ronnie Dukes & Ricki Lee. I also saw Johnny Kidd & The Pirates at The Emp'."

^mamvee: Wigan World May 2010.


 "I saw my first concert there, very early 70's: Curved Air with the lovely Sonja Kristina. Remember it to this day, such excitement. Was this one of the last concerts there?"
Peterdylan: Wigan World May 2010


"Please put this on your website, but I'm not 100% sure this happened but hopefully someone can confirm or deny? I have a vauge memory of being asked by Gerry Marshall (owner of the Wigan Emp/Casino) to go across to the ABC Ritz Cinema (owned/run by his brother) to...?

 'Tell him that Tom Jones would like to invite Roy Orbison to come over for drink'."

^billg: Wigan World May 2010


"'Jump In The Woods' and are currently playing around Wigan and Skelmersdale.

 I have been playing in various bands in and around Wigan since the early ‘70s. 'Jump' is the current line up and we play predominantly ‘70s material (still goes down the best!). Dave the keyboard player is likewise and was a regular at the Wigan Casino’s all-nighter's. Not only were we there at the time, we continue to this day!"

Steve Corless: May 2010


"I was 17 when I started work at Wigan Emp/Casino (legally you had to be 18) I was a bottle boy; taking empties from tables and the like. This was 1964 on Friday nights. Usually there was a works dance held there. Some I rememberwere Coups, Eckersley”s, Farmers and Policemen.

  I would be at the Emp' at 6.00pm helping with the tables in the Palais de Dance - setting up the tables etc. Then I would serve at the tables. After they finished their meals, guests would go into the Emp' and we would clear the tables and pack everything away asap. Then it would be back to the Emp for more bottle carrying.
I would work Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights (We were paid our wages on Monday night).


  Memory fades, but I think the Emp' had to close at 11.00pm. Then we would be helping out behind the bars clearing up bottles/glasses. We'd walk home as there were no buses after11.00pm. Generally, I went in Saturday or Sunday mornings re-stocking the bars ready for another good night.


  My memory of the entertainment - especially Saturday nights is Bill Blackledge & his Orchestra and what I call proper variety show was put on - a juggler, a duo, maybe a magician, a comedian and a then top-of-the-bill.


  I was lucky enough after a while to be on the stage-door posted near the gent’s toilet, trying to stop the fans going into the dressing rooms: Nothing but great memories.


  The bouncers/doormen were Big George & Brian Smith. I can't remember others lads names but I will always remember Harry Duvall (Mixed-race-lad, ex-boxer). I think this was his professional boxing name? We became good mates during this time and the bonus for me was that he would drop me off at home after we had visited the Palais de Dance for some grub - chicken in the basket and couple pints. I wish I knew were he is now and what he's doing?I hope some of this brings back some memories for you and many others."

Bill Garner May 2010


"I remember one Monday night seeing Leapy Lee who had a hit record titled 'Little Arrows', he was utter rubbish. Folk were actually throwing things on stage to get him off. My favourite act seen at the Wigan Casino were The Elgins, saw them twice and superb both times."

^rio caroni: Wigan World May 2010


 "After David Whitfield had finished his spot at the Wigan Emp'/Casino, he wanted to eat.
I took him into the Palais de Dance upstairs. We sat whilst he had his chicken-in-the-basket. The amazing thing was people were queing for his autograph and in between bites he was signing and chatting to them.
No hustle or bustle but very orderly.


  He was a gentleman and insisted that I sit with him. I'm not sure now if any photos were taken. Maybe someone reading this might recall this and comment?"

^Marieg: Wigan World May 2010


The Bee Hive



"Does anyone remember Horwich Bee Hive?


 "It was a pub on the roundabout near to were the Reebok Stadium is now. They had a function room around the back with groups playing there three or four times a week back in 1962 to1969.  A small room with a stage at one end and a bar in the other corner no dance floor as they had no license for dancing. In-between sets there was a sitdown disco - how strange was that?  I remember the place getting packed with a good atmosphere. How the boy's met the girl's I don’t know with everybody sitting down. It was a good place to play was The Bee Hive!"

Roy Davies: September 2010 - The Blue Diamonds



The Garrick Club


By Bill Hart


Pics By Ronnie Carr: The Beat Boys


"I made several trips to Leigh's Garrick Night Club. It was around 1968-69 when the local pop scene was changing rapidly. Cabaret was the new thing and instead of Twist & Shout (or should that be twist & scream?) we now had to sit quietly and listen-up politely then applaude at the right and proper time. 


  Not many of the 'old' rock bands were gonna hack this new fangled syle of entertainment. Acts were booked on six-nights-a-week basis and wereas you might get away with top volume in the dance halls - here - it was certain to be your death knell.


  Brian Poole (without the Tremelos) was the first big name I saw there. With a hapless (club?) backing and Poole's clear lack of stage craft and confidence he cut short his 30 min set complaining of a sudden and mysterious bug that was zapping his voice! At this point -I'll say no more!




 Next up were The Fortunes. Absolute class! Their live harmonies and superb musicianship were a cut above anything I had ever seen live before. The song 'It's For You', which was performed in it's entirity without backing instruments and all five voices, has burned itself into my brain ever since. Then - the drummer had the cheek and audacity to do an amazing drum solo: I went home swearing to leave the band I played with and burn my Ludwig Drum kit the following day - but I didn't! 

Bill Hart: July 2010



The Old Hall Hotel

Lower Ince Wigan



There wern't many pubs doing Beat Groups in the early 1960's but The Old Hall was a true exception. They would offer the better bands a residency. 


  Sometimes playing up to five nights a week, it was here I saw The Vaquerosfor the first time. They played 'Michelle' by The Beatles. Their version of this masterpiece of a pop-song was astonishing: I'll never forget it? Many other bands followed the residency trend for some years after, well into the late sixties.

Bill Hart: July 2010



The Monaco Ballroom

Hindley Wigan


Pic by Derek Bell


  "I too met by hubby there.
In 1969 we didnt have a care.
Mondays and Saturdays we used to go.
The bus we caught too and fro.
l loved the dancing around my bag.

Boys at the bar having a fag.
Waiting at the old bus-stop to go home.
A quick kiss and never a moan.

Happy days."



"Yes - I went there (the Monaco) a few times but I was really really shy. A boy came up to me and said, "will you dance with him over there? I was so shy I couldn't even look and I just said 'Oh No'. After 40 years I still wonder who 'him-over-here' was!" 

^Brenda M:  


  "Yes, I went (to the Monaco) every week. Met my husband there and we are still together after 41 years. It's a lot to answer for has the Monaco! Loved every minute of it though."



"I went to the Monaco when I was about 14 with my friend. I used to tell my dad that I was going to the Beachcomber in Wigan but I never even went near there.

I wish I had a pound every time we had to run for the last bus home. I would be a millionaire by now.

We would drink Double Diamond Keg Beer and thought we were grown up. We watched some really good bands there. So you see it's not just today's youth who do things they shouldn't.

Thinking back, I do think my dad did know where I was but he never said 

anything because I didn't get into any trouble or anything like that."

^busy Bee:  


"Are you a Monaconite?"


  "If you didn't dance to the Geoff Greenough Dance Band then you are not a true Monaconite! If you did not visit The Rex Coffee Bar then you know nothing of the history of Hindley!

If you needed a police escort? Well, that was in a different time zone altogether. 1950 to 1965 was the hey day!

We went home on the last bus which was around 11.00pm and if you missed it then you walked and God help you when you got home!"



  "The Magoos played there in the late 60s also I think Harlem Johns Reshuffle. Used to love the soul music. I Met my 1st husband there when I was 14, happily married until is death 34years later. Brilliant memories of the Monaco.



The Magoos and Harlem John's Reshuffle were great bands.  There were some others too, but can't remember their names.
Jess Greenhough & his Band we tolerated.. and even joined in with the March of the Mods.. a bit cheesy even then.
On a less happy note, I do rememeber plenty 'feightin', especially at the bus stop for the Number 1 to Ashton and Haydock.

I blame the Yickers and Brynners..!
When I think back, I reckon a big percentage of people were under-age, but they never bothered anybody and anyway, as I mentioned on another thread, the ale was poison so nobody drank it."



  "As I recall, I don't think anyone was 18 then because by then we had moved on to Wigan Casino. I Remember having my first drink at the Monaco. A 'Pony' some sort of red wine drink in a little bottle. I Have never touched wine ever since."



  "A lot of the girls would be ill from drinking stuff like Pony, Cherry B etc..
I never tried them (I usually stick to bitter), but I doubt if they were out like proper wine!
We were about 14 when we first went to the
Monaco, then we graduated to the Wigan Casino and then to
Blackpool Mecca by the time we were 16. 

In those days you had to pay for the coach to Blackpool, before they started the free one’s from the Wigan Market Square when everybody cottoned on to the Mecca."



 "Regarding the Monaco era, we all used to meet in The Robert Peel Pub which is now called The Wigan before going into the Monaco.

At the half-time 'interval' -when Jess Greenhough & his Band were playing their spot -we nipped out across the road and into The Balmoral Pub directly opposite.

I was brought up in the next pub along from the Balmoral which was The Dog and Partridge, the Almonds Beer Pub where I first met Bobby Taylor of The Long & The Short all those years ago."

David Darbyshire
 "Yes, memories of the Monaco - Jess Greenough house band and other regular bands. The Magoos, The Answers, Pendulum, Harlem Johns Reshuffle, Windy City Agreement, New Generation - later to be The Southerland Brothers & Quiver - The Shyms, The Crestas, The Cymerons - so many! Who remembers Oggie & the Membranes? OMG!"
  "Yes, I went to the Monoc'  most Saturday's and Monday's.The Jess Greenough band were great. I saw the Swinging Blue Jeans there too.I also remember seeing the Student Prince there when it was a picture house."
^Vera Howarth:
 "I went for the first time about 1967/8. We used to go to the school youth club at Cardinal Newman on Monday night, then one lad had this idea of going 't' manoc'. We thought they wouldnt let us in, I think you had to be 14 if I'm not mistaken.. 14 where has time gone eh?"
^Kenny: July 2010
  "Both me and my hubby went regularly to the Monaco. My hubby used to come straight from Tech in Bolton and we would meet there, then walk back home to Ince. We are still married 41yrs this year. Good marriages came out of the Monaco. We remember Mike Hurst and the Trekkers.
^Babyboomer: July 2010





 The Casino Ballroom Leigh.



Originally named The Theatre Royal in it's hey-day The Casino was

owned by by Mr & Mrs Brierley."



Produced by UKFM Films, I researched much of the material for The Leigh Casino DVD. I’m proud that at least I did something about the memory of a building that should never been demolished.



 The council failed to realised just what the public were angry about; but to no avail – it was too late. However, now the history of the building is now preserved.


  This DVD together with The Beat Boys DVD have now been put in the Wigan & Leigh Metropolitan Borough archives for future generations to see. That is something I am very proud of.



  I had a good partner helping me Chris Miller who is into films etc he is a Leigh lad and proud of it. Believe it or believe it not, in the early days when it was called the Theatre Royal. They put a circus in there with elephants performing on the stage - great memories.”



Ronnie Carr: August 2010


"I saw Wee Willy Harris there; he was terrific."

^mamvee: July 2010







 "I Used to go to Leigh Co-Op Hall in the early 60's. Groups playing there included, The Undertakers, Earl Preston & The T.T's, Faron's Flamingoes, The Big Three and Rev' Black & The Rockin' Vicars. There were many more but they are the only ones I can remember.
  I've still got a programme from 'Bicky' (Bikershaw) Pop Festival too."

^Bluesman: June 2010


^ Contributions from Wigan World: 2010










Wall posters advertise the New Court Ballroom and Cinema's 1964 attractions.


The Shyms play The New Court Hall, King Street, Wigan.

'Pic in reverse?'


"The Court Hall was in King Street, Wigan. If you walked down King Street it was near the bottom-end on the left-hand side. Today it is one of the Australian Themed Pubs – re-named ‘The Walk About’.


  My mother Helen Tarbuck worked there in the cloakroom at the Court Hall for many years. If my memory serves me well then it had a dance hall upstairs and a small dance hall downstairs called the Crawford Rooms.


  Dances where held in The Crawford Rooms where bopping and rock and roll was the in-thing; today you would call it a disco. This is where the young people trying to attract the opposite sex would go on week nights and Sunday nights as the big works dances where held on a Friday or Saturday nights in the upstairs Court Hall Ballroom. The company dances held were the likes of H J Heinz and the factory dances were Eckersley’s Cotton Mills; dances for special occasions. Police dances were also held here and to say the least, they were always a bit noisy.


  Dances around Christmas time were the place to meet the fair young ladies. They were dressed in their skin-tight dresses that would show a flash of thigh or a quick glance of cleavage (quite tame by today's standards). This got the young males talking about who was showing-off the most.


  If you were a decent dancer you could go and ask the ladies for a dance and they would often oblige as they would have been watching you to see if you were good dancer too. We would wait near the edge of the dance floor trying tocatch the eye of one of the fancied ladies. At the end of the night everybody would watch who-was-going-home-with-who and there would be lots of talk between us about it?


  At the time the Teddy Boy image was the in-thing so the young males would wear tight pants and have a large Elvis quiff’s in their hair. Beer was often available but most of the men did not have a lot of money so they kept their drinking down to the minimum just in case one of the ladies should ask for a drink.


  There was a revolving mirror ball in the middle of the ballroom and with all the smoking the young men did, at the time, it would give them the suarve-macho-image they craved. Just like a scene from a Humphrey Bogart film.

Barry Tarbuck: August 2010


"Yes, this how Wiganer's spent their New Years Eve in 1966?"


The New Court Hall Ballroom in King Street, Wigan.

Below: On stage: The Shyms.


'Look at all those chicks'.


 Bill Hart - Alan Bentham - Dennis Berry - Malc' Green - Alan Turner.


  "The pic below has baffled me for years.. why? It could only have been taken from the upper balcony seating area looking downwards towards the stage area; fine: But? Thats me (BillyShym Ed.) sitting behind a left-handed drumkit on the near right of the stage; I am a right handed drummer. The top of my floor Tom-Tom is clearly visible on my left. (above, looking at the stage I am sitting on the far left). 


  So, the picture above has been processed in reverse! The Court Hall balcony was always to left of the stage and this shows a view from the right... confused? Me too.."

Bill Hart: August 2010








"I know they were from Manchester, but saw I 'Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders' at the Pinkie (Oink.. Pink Elephant Club) when they had the 'Bunny Girls' there. Mike Hurst & The Trekkers  were regulars there too.  Double Diamond Keg Bitter was the drink, and Bi** - sorry William Leyland - used to pick us up in his Ford Transit Van from Woolworths opposite Lewis's Cafe (Keith's Cafe) on Market Street, Hindley on Saturday nights and take us up there."

^Hursty: Wigan World: May 2010


"My wife and I used to frequent the Pink Elephant Club. Bill, oops sorry, William Leyland owned and operated that club. I think one of the bands that played there was the Harlem Reshuffle?"

Anon: 2010


"Gawd I'd fogotten about the Pink Elephant Club. I used to frequent there in the early 60's when I was just a 'wee girl'. Missed the last bus many a times and been in deep you know what with me dad!!!!"

^holly: Wigan World May 2010


"Another of William Leyland's L. E Agency. bodged-up sheds.. The 'Elephant' was housed in the most ugly of black-'painted' wooden shacks you'll ever see. I don't think I ever saw it in daylight - perhaps it was as well!


  Aspull Village is on a hill with the east-side facing Winter Hill, Rivington Pike and the huge TV transmitter. No shelter from the elements here! How it managed stand upright for so long and not totally implode is still a minor miracle and will forever remain a legendary fabled mystery to all who knew and sailed in it. In short it was a bloody eyesore and I'm certain it was never missed when it eventually was demised.

(Ed: Did the Elephant end up in tears or what? Please let me me know how the ending of this 'We-Were-World-Famous-In-Wigan-Club and its final demise and how it came about?). 


  William had a large mural painted on the back wall opposite the stage. He assured everybody who came into the club that the Pink Elephants when seen in the special lighting he'd installed actually appeared to 'move', but only if you watched closely enough! I did watch pretty closely and predictably they never ever moved a fraction of an inch. Of course it was the room which moved, especially when a gale was blowing outside... and you might have had too many pints of William's expensive version of 'Double Diamond' Keg Bitter!"

Bill Hart: August 2010



The Beachcomber Club




 "I forgot to tell you that there was a Beachcomber Club in Leigh as well as Bolton, both owned by the same owner Norman Clements. The Who appeared there also Van Morrison's band Them, plus lots of top bands of the day. This is a paper clip of when The Beat Boys were on tour with Screamin Jay Hawkins and we were playing there in 1965.


  A press cutting from the Leigh Journal 1965 regarding a decibel test for the music volume at the club. The band that night was ’Them’ featuring Van Morrison. Also the opening announcement when the club opened in 1965."



Ronnie Carr: August 2010


"I too used to go to The Beachcomber Club in Leigh in the late sixties early seventies, by which time it had become a youth club called 'The Way In' - or it had on Friday nights at least. I'm told The Four Tops had once appeared there in the sixties. Think it's true!

Dave Peters: September 2010




 Base Air Depot 1 - BAD 1

Burtonwood Warrington


Not a lot of due credit ever much went the way of USAAF Base 590 Burtonwood in Warrington ever since it de-camped on British soil in 1942.


  'Over-paid, over-sexed and over-here' were the famous derogartory but envious remarks of many a working class male of this phase of the US occupational era. The Lanky females, and the G I brides however, had quite another 'mantra' to quote about all this, but we won't go there. 


 US forces closed down the facility in 1959 only toreturn and re-open  Burtonwood in 1966 when France withdrew its military support for NATO.

From then on the base often held their own versions of 'Social's' for the R and R of it's residents, which in addition to regular visits to local dance halls

and clubs, filled many vital requirements in a displaced young man's health-driven needs.


  With the advent of Mersey Sound and it being geographically placed on their own doorstep - so to speak - it's easy to imagine the understated importance and the undeniable role which can be attributed to this place.


  At this particular time, the world famous and unprecidented ground-breaking musical and social phenomenon had occured and this place was part of it. Lanky Bands too played their significant part in all this, and so too in return, did the Amercan personnel of the camp, with the exchanges of musical cultures betwixed and between the local residents and the bases' American occupants. The vital importance of this place in the latter end of Mersey Sound history is undeniable, but I have have yet to find a book on this subject and to read-up about it all.. perhaps someone would like to give it a go and write one very soon.. before it's all too late and its memories are lost forever..


  Arriving at the USAA Base on a brilliant summers evening The Shyms happilly unloaded the band's gear and made our innocent, naive, way - slap-bang - into a completely foreign-alien-culture of which we were all completely unprepared. 


 Close-cut and clean-cut were these military guys. Drinking American Budweiser straight from the bottle and never batting an eye-lid towards our rock 'n roller's presence on their little bit of sweet America in 'our' little piece of Lankyland. Trouble was brewing however. Slowly, astonished eyes began to trail our first arrival on United States Home Territory. Discomforted chair shifting was happening in all quarters around the male dominated Mess room. A small rickity stage stood directly opposite the bar where only 'lager' beer in slim clear bottles were served. More shifting looks. Some left the room.


We stood around looking for someone in charge. A face appeared. "This way," he said. I followed. A room as austere as the Mess, but much smaller, 

contained a man wearing an impressive military uniform depite the short-sleeved shirt. My helpful guide was abruptly dismissed with a "Yes Sir, Capt'n."

I faced him head on. He made me stand despite the single unfilled chair.

  "Here is your schedule for the night," he rasped, on handing over a hand written script. I scan read the written numbers and words.


Start 20: Hundred hours.

21:15-21:30. 22:30-22:45. 00:00-00:15.

Finish 01: Hundred.


 "Okay now. Look here son," he said. "Somebody back there with you guys is wearing a vest in the Mess Hall. That attire is male underwear in the States. I guess you guys don't know that. What you call a Tee-shirt, my men call a vest. My men are outraged. He'll have wear something over it! Understand? Or I'll have to pull you guys out! And, they don't ever applause too much out there either. Also, with you guys winding-up my men here tonight, I don't much think you're gonna make many friends out there."


Indeed, one of ours was wearing a white Tee. It was Colin Bond, a big friend and occasional roady of ours. He was the un-beknowing, demonised culprit..   

  "Okay," I volunteered. "I'll get him covered up."

I turned my attention back to the list of times.

  "What," I said respectfully smiling back. Three fifteen-minute spots?"

  "No," he replied. "No. Not spots! These are fifteen minute - breaks!"

Bill Hart: August 2010




"The Pact did those bases and the first for us was at Burton on Trent.


  It was in the middle of nowhere and it was after 9pm when we got there. Waiting at the gate was the Sergeant at Arms. He was massive 6ft 14in at least. He said to us. "Where have you been?" We told him where we came from and that we couldn't find the Base. He said, "Well at least your're here now. Anything you need - I am your man."


  We set up in the bar room in the corner. No stage and we did the first spot. We were having a drink when the same Sergeant came across and said, "Man you play a great sound on those drums how about a drum solo?

  "I said I don't do a drum solo."

Then he said. "Is this mic' switched on?"

I said, "yes."

Then he boomed down the mic.. "Is there anyone in this room who would like to hear a drum solo?"

They all reponded back with a very loud, "yes."

So he came back to me and picked me up and carried me to my drums and said now we will have a drum solo.


  So I had done my best and got the biggest roar and cheers of my life. After that everyone came over patting me on the back saying, "Man that the drum solo was great! Have a drink on me.." We finished-up with table full of drinks.


  There were plenty of girls in there too. They had coach to take anyone from Derby City centre to the Base. The local girls knew where the coach stopped and were allowed to get on the coach and come back to the Base.


  We did Friday night and saturday night and they're special nights that I will never forget. The Sergeant came up trumps with American beer and American cigarettes which I sold at work on Monday morning for a nice profit.
  Two weeks later we where booked for the Base at Burtonwood near Warrington and who should be waiting at the gate,? Yes.. the same Sergeant at Arms. He said, "Man you won't like it here. They are all as miserable as sin. That's differance between the two camps. It was unbelieveable. It was like playing in a morgue. So I dont have fond memories for that night except for the Sergeant A.A. coming up trumps again with the goodies.

Tony Bird: August 2010


"I used to love going to the Base to play Ten Pin Bowling. You had to change your English pounds for USA Dollers to pay to play and to buy drinks and snacks.


  "I was in my late teens - early twenties. No young lady I ever took there had ever heard of it or seen the like. It did my street cred no end of good. I even blindfolded a girl from Marsh Green at Burtonwood Service Station on the M62 once, and convinced her we had gone to the USA. I only took her blindfold off on dropping her off in Comet Road. I've never seen or heard from her since. She probably thinks she was abducted by a space ship."

^hughes the booze: Wigan World: September 2010 



"A mate of mine - we were together in the same group - told me that he had played there once in the Mess. They took their girlfriends along with them and on a break a Yank got talking to one of the girls and asked her where she came from. She told him she lived in Worsley Hall to which the Yank jumped up and shouted 'Hey guys. This lady lives in a Hall. My mate didn't enlighten them.."

bassman: Wigan World: September 2010 



The Beachcomber



"How about this for a show.. I can remember going to the Beachcomber in Wigan to see Tom Jones & The Squires, The Moody Blues with Denny Laine, The Electones and The Wigan Peers - all on the same bill.. Bill  -groan! Cost, 5 shillings.. that's five shillings! (£0.25p) A GREAT SHOW!
 The time in between bands was about twenty minutes! - and all four groups were excellent.
'No time for sound-checks in my day lad'."

Mitch: August 2010


The Beachcomer



"I'm pretty sure some of the Wigan Peers ended up as Wigans Ovation. They were tremendous.
 It's amazing how I 'can't' remember our wedding anniversary but, at the Bolton Beachcomer Gig I can remember Denny Laine playing a Rickenbaker twelve-string and being blown away seeing The Electonesfor the first time. The Wigan Peers using an 'Ocarina' for The Troggs song 'Wild Thing' and nailing it.. and that was 45 years ago!


Ipso Facto played the Bolton Beachcomer once with The Answers. I saw The Warriors in 1965 there with Jon Anderson from 'Yes' as one of their two singers. They were great and it was a super venue, very 'Cavern' like. Thanks again for all the time you take with the site, its growing fast.."
Mitch: August 2010
News at Ten



The Plaza

St Helens




Pic by: Bernard Lally: October 2010



Ocean Room

Blackpool Tower


The Ocean Room Stage


"The most important part of the show - The audience!"

The Ocean Room - Blackpool Tower -1967.


The Shyms in The Ocean Room

Blackpool Tower:






The Cavern Club




Me, Bill Hart - next to Denny Laine at The Cavern Club in Feb 2009.

Bill Heckle the Manager of Cavern City Tours holds Cavern-owned and signed 

Sir Paul McCartney Hofner Violin Bass.

(Sorry readers.. I can't help showing this pic off!).






The Vauxhaul Tavern




 The first time The Blue Diamonds played there, it was something of an eye opener. The place got full early on in the night - no late clubs back then. Everybody seemed quite friendly, paying no attention to the band setting up on stage.


  The owner came over to us and said just do your two sets, don’t worry, but we thought! 'What's he talking about? As soon as we started to play the place resembled a wild-west cowboy bar and World-War-Three rolled into one! As we finished our set the rumpus stopped. It was like they were fighting to the music?


 We was told later that this was the normal night. Playing there the second time the same thing happened again. Wonderfull showbiz.

Roy Davies: September 2010




If you have any tales, pics or fond memories about any

of these venues then send them in to..



08450 94 87





Casino Club



"I worked as a spark in 1966-68 at The Bolton Casino which was part of the Howcroft Brewery Group of Blackpool, Burnley, Wigan and Westhoughton Casino's, but Bolton was where Atherton Howcroft – think of Lord Alan Sugar but worse - spent most of his evenings. He personally controlled the cabaret bookings and promoting local bands was not high on his agenda.


   Only one night a week, Monday, was allocated for bands and dancing to a the beat and these would be booked by the club manager. The BelfastWheels were regulars but I think they were based in Blackpool at that time so probably qualify as temporary Lanky Bands'.


   Monday night was one of my night's off and already the wrong side of being 25 with a family life so hanging around backstage was not recommended.


  The bands would often leave their cards or photo's pinned on a large notice board alongside the lighting console. That board would be a priceless snapshot of the music scene if we had it now.


  Mostly I worked cabaret nights and some of the bands, like Gerry, were local but were not playing for dancing. The Beat goes on.."

Ken Hampson: October 2010



Leyland Tiger


"Another forgotten venue that was very popular in the late 1962 to 1968 was the Leyland Tiger, it being nearer to Bamber Bridge than Leyland. Although a pub, the landlord had the place done out like a cabaret club with a fair size stage with curtains, full theatre lighting plus a compare. The Blue Diamonds played there every other Wednesday for well over twelve months also doing some weekend nights. We were usually on with a solo singer and a comedian. It was a good night and it was always full.


I wonder if any other bands remember the Tiger?"

Roy Davies: September 2010



Hole In The Gound



"Playing there just the once with The Shyms, the HITG was located in row of small shop on the Bolton Old Road side of the village. An innocuous looking frontage housed a basement and two floors - one ground and one upper. We set-up in the basement and as we did another band was setting up on the ground floor.


Johnny Dee & The Detours came from Horwich and played there regularly.

The entrance was a door at pavement level leading to into a bare room then stairs to below.

This is the best view of it that Lanky Beat has obtained so far..


  This was on Sunday afternoon and The Beatles had just released their wonderful new track 'Ticket To Ride'. Wandering curiously back upstairs, we could hear two guitar's dueting the Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt classic theme tune 'The Beverley Hillbillies' - of the comedy TV classic sit-com fame. The original theme song was performed with an acoustic guitar and banjo, but these two guys were playing it note perfect on electric guitars.


  A trade mark towel and a stock well-built guy with a mop-top of pure blond hair turned to look our way as we appeared from below and peeked into the unlit corner being busily occupied by non-other than our favourite local rock 'n roll inspiration's - The Beat Boys. 


Ronnie Carr casually nodded our way and quickly returned his attention to his bass guitar sliding his towel up and down his fret board as part of his usual customary preparations to play. Meanwhile, Kenny Fillingham and Malc' Grundy carried on casually performing the amazing impromptu duet in their now familiar, friendly and rivalrous way.


Not part of The Beat Boys usual repertoire.. this was just a cool warm-up exercise for this immensely talented pair. These guys had set the bar at a great height some five years since we had first seen them play back in Wigan's West Ward Labour Club. Now the buggers were setting the bar even higher..





The Kingsway Club





June 2010


Thursday 9 September 2010 


World famous names entertained here.

 In the 1960's The Beatles played here three times before becoming Fab. 


  Recently the derelict building was allegedly deemed unsafe structurally and a property developer was seeking planning permission to replace it with apartments and small retail units. The top floor housed the pop 'n crisp’svenue where the visiting groups would play to an under 18's audience whilst the two floors below held popular cabaret shows.



  Sunday 26 September 2010


  I went just the once in 1968 and saw an American stand-up comedian who hadn't been advertised to be on that night. Giving a slick impromptu performance and mainly telling well-timed gag's about golf - the British Open Championship at Royal Birkdale was on that very weekend - he brought the house down - it was Lee Trevino. 

Bill Hart: September 2010



The Riverside Club

Wigan RLFC Social Club



By Barry Tarbuck


'The name Riverside Club was not the clubs original name, it was called the 'Rugby Club' and that was how it was known in Wigan.


It was situated at the bottom of the street in Central Park Rugby Ground where Riley's Snooker and Pool Bar is now.


 At the entrance of the club was a kiosk which was manned by Marjory who you paid your entrance fee to, but if Marjory didn't like the look of your face then no way would you get in. She would look you up and down to see how you were dressed and if you had denims on it was about turn if you did then you would climb the stairs to the top door which opened into the club room.

It was a square room with toilets in the top corner opposite the entrance door the bar was about three yards from the toilets and half-way down the room. At the bottom was the stage where all the acts played.


  I remember comedian Bernard Manning on stage and his first comment was to a young women sat on one of the front tables. (Don't forget; short skirts and long legs were the fashion).


  He asked "Madam have you just been in hospital?"

Her answer was, "No, why do you ask?"

  "Well Madam from where I'm standing it seems a funny place to keep an hedgehog?"

Lots of laughter; embarrassing for the lady. 


  Another quip of his was when a young lady was going to the toilets. He would ask her when she finally came out?

  "Could you hear us in there?"

she answered, "no."

His reply was, "Well we could all hear you."


  There was also a small dance floor that was only to be used when the main act had finished so it was the time to get in-touch with the young ladies as there was only a short time before closing time.


  It was the same old traditional lay-out lots of round tables with four chairs to each one. A central isle - so that you could get to the bar - and two walkways - one each side.


  The craic used to be that you would go to the Club after the pubs closed so there was always a lot of people waiting to get in. Three or four take-no-prisoners-bouncers worked as security -two in the room and two on the doors. They oversaw all the evenings procedings.


  The entertainment was not always the best, but some were quite good considering they would have gotton the place full in the first place - even if the act was third rate. As a last gasp chance we would endevour to get in touch with a young lady for the night and try to take her home.

It wasn't so easy though. To get in touch with the ladies when the acts were on you could not move around a jockey for position and if the Club packed-out it was full-on dancing at the close up to the end about 2am.


  Christmas was always a bit of a bash so you would have to get tickets as soon as they came out or you could buy the staff a few drinks and ask them to save you a couple.


  When the club was closing it was then a mad rush to the Indian or Chinese eatery, so you could still get drink until the early hours if you wished.'







 "A roller skating rink with dancing hot spot-not far from Bolton town centre. It was a popular attaction for many however, it burned down in mysterious circumstances in the 1980's. A family run business. it was the owner Mr. Walsh who set fire to the Nav'. It's a sad story; he did not do it for the money!"



  The Bay City Rollers played there in the 1970's. A band called Oscar had a singer who would dress as the Hunchback of Notredame. The Glitter Band, Emperor Rosco the BBC DJ, Mud, Sweet Sensation and Liverpool Express all played here.."

Mark Foley: September 2010


"Also.. Paper Lace. Copper Kettle.Rainbow Cottage. Ben E King. Detroit Emeralds. Edison Lighthouse.. and to my shame Barry Blue."

Harry Charlton: September 2010




Ince Public Hall


By Barry Tarbuck


IPH: 2010


"Ince Public Hall was a bit of a specialised venue as it was only small compared to all the other places, but it did have a claim to fame. The dance floor was one of the best in the country as it was a sprung one - means set on springs like they use to have in the old cars.  When danced on your feet did not get tired. It was also just out of the way as it was in Lower Ince in Ince Green Lane, Wigan, so lots of weddings were held there and Wigan Corporation events too as it was owned by the 'Corpy'.


The Shyms play IPH Circa 1963.

That's me - Bill Hart; on the left- sat in the middle of a bunch of flowers.

Notice too the 'disco's strip-lighting!






Do you know more?

Then get in touch now!

08450 94 87 95



"Were 'you' there at any of the above concerts?

If so..

then tell us about it!"

Get in touch with your stories right now!"

08450 94 87 95





^Wigan World  



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