Many went to the Dungeon while it was open and have fond, happy memories of the place: they can remember the atmosphere, the ambience, the loud music and dancing along to it, the stone floor, the dark walls at times dripping with condensation. They can recall the bands and artistes who performed there and all have various stories to tell.

However, when you ask people to describe the layout and décor of the club, many struggle. It’s as if there was such an overload of the senses, some of the detail has become blurry, lost in the mists of time, producing a variety of recollections.

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Site of the Dungeon Club

As you walked up (or down) Stanford Street and got nearer to the Club, the volume of the sound emanating from inside grew louder and louder. Then a turn, up the steps, past whoever was on the door, under the Ultra-violet light, which was used to see the pass-out stamped on the back of your hand when you came back later, usually from one of the local pubs.

Entrance

Peter Wilson – “Who remembers those ultra-violet lights at the entrance to enable Les and Terry to see your pass-out? Made you look like you had dandruff.”

Paul Thorpe – “I did have dandruff … had my own hair back then …”

Mick Hatcher – “Used to wear it like a badge of honour to my fellow apprentices the next day.”

Paul Thorpe – “Mick , the dandruff??”

Peter-John Kenney – “If the pass out was still wet you could ‘pass it on’ to a mate so they didn’t have to pay to get in … Something I never did … HONEST!!”

Benita Hall – “I remember those at the White Hart. Not just at the entrance either … You had to think carefully about what you were wearing before going there!”

John Batchelor – “You’re right, Benita. You’ve really jogged my memory. The UV lights at the White Hart were unbelievable.”

Peter Wilson – “It was called Room at the Top (the White Hart).”

Penny Lambert – “I remember them all round the edge of the room.”

Gill Kerry – “Yes, it was def a badge of honour.”

Peter Wilson – “Yes, it was great to see what the girls were wearing.”

Ann Barry – “I remember The Lion Discotheque in Skegness was entirely lit this way. Think it’s an Argos now.”

Chris Tassi – “I remember going to the Lion with you Ann … I also recall that white underwear was often highlighted through your clothes in the ultra violet light, which could be very embarrassing!!!”

Ann Barry – “Not as embarrassing as it would be these days I think! We were very chaste.”

Irene Morley – “The ultra-violet lights weren’t great when you had a dental crown, it looked a funny colour!!”

Jan Kononowicz – “Nobody’s mentioned the front doors. If memory is working, I thought they were a dirty green. Half door was open so you had to go in sideways.”

<<<>>>

First Impressions

You showed your membership card and paid the relevant entrance fee at the pay desk and then you were there, into this new world of discovery.

Upstairs view 1
Upstairs view 1

Mick Hatcher – “I’ve been trying to remember the layout of the Dungeon upstairs as you walked in. To the right was the big square stage where you sat and had your pasty and coke, to the right and behind you was the booths and the windows and in front of you was the coke counter but I can’t seem to remember where the top of the stairs to go down were, it is 50 years ago can anyone enlighten me?”

Jeanette Hutchinson – “Through the doors, straight on, turn to the left down the stone stairs … looking back I cannot remember a fire exit down there just it being black and white.”

John Murphy – “I thought the stairs down were more or less facing the entrance.”

Stephen Jeffery – “They were the main stairs between the two pillars.”

Jeanette Hutchinson – “Yes John as in a U-turn but walls on either side.”

Josephine Pate – “Opposite the entrance door turn left onto the landing at top of stairs but then left again to go down. They actually went towards the street. Hope that really makes sense!”

Ann Carlton – “The pay desk on the right as you walk in. Straight on stone stairs to the left. Lady’s toilets straight on to the right.”

Stuart Morris – “As you went in at the top of the steps, from Stanford Street, you paid Mick Parker, usually, or his partner, Les, on the right, then either went straight on, about 20 yards, then turned left, then left again down the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, you turned left again onto the dance floor. Or, after paying, you could turn right to the cloak room and coffee bar and seats.”

Mick Hatcher – “I remember a chap called George in a suit, dickie bow and a cigar taking the money.”

Josephine Pate – “My mate Sue had a photo of George but sorry to say it’s been missing for the last few years. Opposite the entrance was the ladies.”

Stuart Morris – “Sorry. Got the personnel wrong. Ken was Mick Parker’s partner not Les. Les was on the door with Terry Flynn. I think both of those men took it in turns to take door money.”

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Mick Hatcher – “As I remember, walking from the entrance, in front is the top of the stairs, the juke box and the bar, to the right the stage and the tele upon the wall. Now I need some help from you ladies on here, where was the door to the ladies loo and I can’t remember the cloakroom as we lads used to wear our leather and suede coats downstairs because it was more cool.”

Kath Shaw – “Remember the Ladies being almost opposite where Mick stood near the door.”

Josephine Pate – “The ladies door was opposite the entrance near the top of the stairs. I remember the jukebox at wall after you turned right into the upstairs room and then carried on to the opening in the far wall for the cloakroom. There was a raised dancefloor in the middle of the room. Pies and cokes sold by George far end to the left. No bar.”

Mick Hatcher – “When I said bar, Josephine, I was referring to the coke and pasty counter, thank you for your info.”

Josephine Pate – “Jukebox was on your left at wall – my description was not too clear. I remember sitting on the edge of the raised dancefloor in front of the jukebox.”

Lorna Hickton – “The cloakroom was to your right as you came in the door at the far end, where the door was that led down to the stage, staff only. When I say cloakroom it was where all of the coats were hung up run by me and Mrs Parker. Also the dressing room for the acts was in the cloakroom. George was normally on the door not the pie and coke counter, that was June’s domain. He helped out if June wasn’t there.”

Josephine Pate – “Maybe I only remember George at the counter because we had a photo of him there, the one that went missing a few years ago! I do remember him on the door too. Great how the memory gets jogged by everybody else’s. Thanks Lorna!”

Kath Shaw – “Also remember a photo booth.”

Mick Hatcher – “Cannot remember that Kath, where was it, and l bet it was used so you could fill your membership form in and give it straight in with your photo. I remember having to walk down to Midland Station to use the photo booth so I could give my membership form in on a Sunday afternoon.”

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Mick Hatcher – “Just done a quick couple of sketches of the floor plans of the upstairs and downstairs of the Dungeon, how I remember it; please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong or add bits I can’t remember.”

Upstairs Plan
Upstairs Plan

Paul Thorpe – “Great stuff Mick, that’s pretty much how I remember it, although I thought the Jukebox was next to the stage, but not certain as I never had any spare cash to put in it!! Oh yes mate, you need to put ‘the barrel’ in the sketch … lol. All these memories … & I can’t recall what I did yesterday!!”

Angela Richards – “Same here too lol.”

John Batchelor – “Spot on Paul. I can remember ’65 like it was yesterday, but, I forget what I’ve gone into another room for. Hey ho!!”

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Seating

Mick Hatcher – “Another quick sketch of the upstairs stage, windows, booths and the pay kiosk as I remember it.”

Upstairs view 2
Upstairs view 2

Peter Wilson – “Who remembers the booths upstairs in the coffee bar at the Dungeon?”

Ann Barry – “I remember them, I pretty much remember the whole layout. Downstairs was for dancing and watching bands, upstairs was where you could actually talk to people.”

Malcolm Fox – “My memory must be awful – can’t remember the booths at all. But I can remember a pin ball machine or have I really lost it?”

Irene Morley – “Nor can I remember the booths! All I can remember upstairs were the jukebox, a counter selling coke and pasties and a cloakroom.”

Barbara Saunders – “The booths were covered at the top with arches for the entrances (looked like the windows you drew at the back of them in your sketch). When you came up the steps you turned to the right to get in to the top floor of the dungeon and toilets were on the left.”

Josephine Pate –“I remember the booths but they were added or made bigger or something when they took out the raised dance floor/stage I think.”

Tim Northern – “Booths with table on middle.”

Ann Carver – “I and my friends had a pasty in the alcoves.”

Mick Hatcher – “I can’t remember if the booths over by the windows had tables or not.”

Paul Thorpe – “Can’t recall tables in the booths, but could be wrong …”

Maurice Moore – “I think there were tables in the booths.”

Jeanette Hutchinson – “I can’t remember tables in the booths, I do remember using them a lot.”

Penny Lambert – “I don’t remember tables in the booths, but then I only remember snogging there!! I think!”

Paul Thorpe – “Now I remember you … lol.”

Maurice Moore – “Didn’t the alcove/booths run on a second side? The one at the top of your picture.”

Mick Hatcher – “I remember them as two separate ones Maurice but I could be wrong.”

Carol Heithus – “There was no tables in the booths, used them to chat with mates.”

Barbara Saunders – “Definitely no tables in the booths. I remember sitting in the booths one sunny Sunday afternoon, feeling all bronzed (as I had tanned my legs with gravy browning). One of the people we were talking to spilled their drink and it went all over my legs and the gravy browning ran leaving my legs all striped. I washed it off and spent the rest of the session with two little white legs on show. Happy times.”

Dorothy Porter – “My husband’s brothers built the booths as well as the stage.”

<<<>>>

Dancefloor

Barry Cooper – “Was there a small dance floor upstairs?”

Maurice Moore – “Yes Barry there was a raised dance floor in the middle of the room. Occasionally people danced on it, but I think most of the time people just sat on it.”

Paul Thorpe – “Big square stage upstairs that nobody ever appeared on? But good to sit on, pasties & coke luverlly???”

Mick Hatcher – “Does anyone remember if the stage upstairs was ever used.”

Veda Bromwich – “I remember Lulu singing upstairs.”

Paul Thorpe – “We used to sit/lay on the upstairs stage during all-nighters.”

Craig Strong – “Never aware of any artist performing upstairs at all, I can’t recall tables in the booths either … might be wrong though! I do know that lots of us used the stage to sleep on during all-nighters.”

Maurice Moore – “I don’t remember the stage being used for an artist. People did dance on it.”

Craig Strong – “I remember Mick Parker walking past the square stage one nighter and shouting ‘morning campers’!”

Mick Hatcher – “I asked him if he remembered shouting morning campers to everyone laying around at 4 in the morning on the stage upstairs at an all-nighter, and he couldn’t.”

Craig Strong – “He must be the only one that can’t!”

<<<>>>

Coffee Bar

‘PS Don’t miss Batman!!!’

Mick Parker, Pauline Peck, Dot Porter in the coffee bar
Mick Parker, Pauline Peck, Dot Porter in the coffee bar

Terry Swift –“Yes I remember the coffee bar upstairs.”

From the coffee bar you could buy bottles of coke, which were cooled in a red machine. I seemed to think a bottle was put in to get a bottle out. Also coffee, probably very milky, served in a glass cup and saucer.

Ann Barry – “And the pies?”

Terry Swift – “Sorry Ann can’t remember about the pies, tell me about it. I take it that I must have liked them.”

Ann Barry – “Terry Swift I think I looked like I needed feeding up in those days.”

Terry Swift – “So it was you who liked the pies Ann not me.”

Paul Thorpe – “Pies & Coke, the Bung diet …”

Mick Hatcher – “Can anyone remember buying a pasty or a coke from the elderly lady at the bar upstairs on a Sunday afternoon and sitting on the big square stage or alcoves to eat and drink?”

Craig Strong – “I remember buying a bottle of coke there, and I’m sure there was a TV screen opposite, where me and my mates watched Batman! It was also the area where people ‘crashed’ when they were knackered during the all-nighters!”

Linda Thompson – “The pasties were the best I have ever tasted. I’m sure I remember the World Cup being shown on the TV. I can remember people watching Batman too, Craig.”

Tim Northern – “The whole place had a pie aroma.”

Craig Strong – “I don’t remember that!”

Tim Northern – “Upstairs. Downstairs. Just damp lol.”

Chris Fensom – “TV on Sunday afternoon as well.”

Ann & Tiggs stand by the jukebox
Ann Barry & Tiggs Keywood-Wainwright stand by the jukebox in the Dungeon, about 1966

Ann Barry – “Have you seen my photo by the jukebox? The TV is on in the background, Reginald Bosanquet reading the news.”

Sue Hey – “I can remember watching the World Cup too.”

Ann Barry – “Back to the Dungeon. As we are standing here with backs to the Jukebox, we would have been facing the booths, coffee bar behind us to the left, cloakroom to the left, way in and steps to the basement to our far right.”

<<<>>>

Cloakroom

The cloakroom
The cloakroom

Lorna Hickton – “The door in the picture led to the cloakroom and the stairs down to the stage.”

Maurice Moore – “Which way did the stairs go?”

Kath Shaw – “Cloakroom, far end of upstairs stage (was also a dressing room).”

Ann Barry – “That’s right, I think so too … to the left of where Mick has put a door. Great plan Mick Hatcher, all we needed was someone like you with artistic talent.”

Angela Richards – “There was a second set of stairs that came up to the back of the ‘coke’ counter. To walk up. Looking at the downstairs stage they are to the left against the wall.”

Craig Strong – “Not aware of them at all …”

Ann Barry – “Nor me. Were they for staff only?”

Amy Spence – “They led up to the cloakroom and groups changing room.”

Sheila Skinner – “Oh right.”

Kate Holmes, 1964
Kate Holmes, 1964 by the cloakroom

Ann Carlton – “Jenny Slack and I worked in the cloakroom cus the dressing room was in there.”

Angela Richards – “Still a fire exit. Lol.”

Sheila Skinner – “Or were they a Fire Escape??! Frightening to think there wasn’t one!”

<<<>>>

Jukebox

Mick Hatcher – “I never took much notice of the juke box upstairs and don’t recall any of my friends using it, can anyone remember what sort of music was on it, I don’t imagine it was anything like what was played downstairs?”

Trev Poole – “Hi Mick, like you never used it, and can’t remember what records was on the play list.”

Mick Hatcher – “Couldn’t see the point of it Trev as you could hear the music from downstairs at the top of Stanford Street.”

Josephine Pate – “I remember ‘My Generation’ playing on it.”

Mario Joseph – “’Wade in the Water’ seemed to be playing on it every time I went.”

Maurice Moore – “The two tracks I remember played regularly on the juke box were ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ by Jimmy Smith and ‘Soulful Dress’ by Sugar Pie DeSanto.”

Steve Worthington – “Seem to remember ‘Green Onions’ by Booker T and the MGs playing on it?”

Lorna Hickton – “We had a fellow who used to come in normally before we opened and then change the records to the popular music at that time, then the records he took out of the jukebox, he would sell them to us if we wanted any; the only trouble was the middle of the record was missing which we had to improvise to play them.”

Steve Leadbeater – “Booker T & the MGs were on it.”

Ann Barry – “I clearly found it very useful for leaning on.’”

Kate Holmes – “Opening night I played ‘House of the Rising Sun’.”

Ann Barry – “Just tried enhancing the original of this photo to see if I could read any of the record choices. But no joy … anyone got an idea if it could be done?”

Mick Hatcher – “You’ve even got the tele on your pic Ann.”

Ann Barry – “Yes, with Reginald Bosanquet reading the news!”

Steve Worthington – “England 2 Portugal 1 World Cup semi-final. Only girls downstairs that night!”

Steve Worthington – “’The Kids Are Alright’ and ‘Substitute’

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Plans and Illustrations by Mick Hatcher

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2 thoughts on “In The Club 1 – Upstairs

  1. There were definitely tables in at least some of the cubicles upstairs and no one has mentioned the second part of the downstairs dance area where the caribbean members used to gather (remember Junior and Charlie Brown)

    Like

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