Another article and replying letters taken from the Nottingham Evening Post. Article published on Monday March 27th 2000.
Bygones with Patrick Smith
Crazy days down in the Dungeon …
Bygones collector Patrick Smith, of Long Eaton, has written with a plea – to give a mention to the Dungeon Club which thrived in Stanford Street in the late 1960s. Patrick writes:
I am a Meadows boy, born in Blackstone Street. I used to work at the Dungeon with my mate Derek Porter. The owner was Mick Parker.
There was an upstairs area for socialising and downstairs the bands played. The walls were all black with ghosts and skeletons painted on them to create the dungeon atmosphere.
During those few, great years, I met some of the biggest names of the time, many of whom are still going strong today.
I remember Steam Packet which included Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart and Julie Driscoll of ‘Wheels on Fire’ fame.
When the Kinks came, Derek took Ray Davies and his brother Dave down to Portland Baths where they went swimming.
In those days Van Morrison was the singer with a group called Them. He bet me I could not lift above my head one of the big cartwheels which stood near the stage. I managed it and took ten bob off him!
One night when the Who played there, it was particularly memorable. Condensation was dripping off the walls as the crowd got into a sweat because they were so good.
Keith Moon was drumming away – he even came off the drums and began tapping his way across the floor, up the walls, against the fire extinguishers, never missing a beat.
Around the stage were some stuffed animals in glass cases and when he started on those, he smashed two or three, much to Mick Parker’s annoyance.
I remember groups like the Four Pennies, Merseybeats, Pretty Things, Charlie and Inez Foxx, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, The Yardbirds with Jeff Beck, the Small Faces and many more.
I also remember one night when Mick brought Tom Jones and his backing group the Squires from the Theatre Royal for a party.
I finished up the next day going with the drummer to Hilda Rossiter’s fish shop in Kirekewhite Street for pie, peas and chips, two slices of bread and butter and a cup of tea for half a crown. What great days.
I am sure other readers remember more.
If you spent some happy nights at the Dungeon and can remember other groups who played there, write to Andy Smart at Bygones, Evening Post.
Following letters from 24th April 2000
The Hippest Place
Where in-crowd met all the stars
After reading the article in Bygones from Patrick Smith about the Dungeon Club, I am writing to you about the many happy hours I spent there.
I even worked in the cloakroom with Lucy Parker, Mick Parker’s mum and June Tilson, Mick’s sister, who served the coffees and cokes. No alcohol was allowed but we still enjoyed ourselves.
My husband Winston and June’s husband John were on the door when their shifts allowed it. There was also George who always had a large cigar and Terry and Johnny.
The cloakroom was a hive of activity as the stars’ dressing room was off the cloakroom. We had the groups coming and going as the stairs to the stage also led off from the cloakroom.
We also had to fetch the groups’ coffee and coke, and I remember on one occasion when Rod Stewart hadn’t any money so I lent him some for a coke. I’m still waiting for him to pay me back!
Occasionally we used to have ‘all-nighters’ and that really was a marathon. The club opened for its usual Saturday session, we then closed for an hour and re-opened at midnight and went through until next morning.
I also remember the night Tom Jones came back for a party and what a night that was. I wonder if Tom remembers it?
We also had Ike And Tina Turner, Sonny and Cher, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, Dave Berry – he was a great favourite with the ladies.
I also remember when we had Peter Stringfellow as DJ. He was a real ladies man in those days as well.
It’s great to be able to tell people I knew them when they were not too well known.
Mick now owns a very successful nightclub in London. June and John and myself and my husband are still the very best of friends.
Actually, Mick Parker would make a very good subject for This Is Your Life as there would be a few good tales and a good array of stars.
The Dungeon Club, the forerunner of today’s nightclubs, really was the best of its time … and many a marriage owes a debt to the place, the meeting place of the young.
Lorna Hicklan (Hickton)
Membership Number 95
I spent a lot of time at the Dungeon Club. I have my membership card in front of me now, number 95, dated December 31, 1964.
In addition to the bands you mentioned, I remember seeing the Cherokees, Downliners Sect, Yardbirds, Escorts, Rocking Berries, T-Bone Walker, Lulu & the Luvvers and regulars Robb Storme and the Whispers.
I remember when the artists’ changing room was behind the cloakroom, which sometimes made handing in or collecting your coat very interesting. I met Dave Davies of the Kinks this way and he bought me a coke.
Following letters from 1st May 2000
Dancing down in the Dungeon
As I read about days down in the Dungeon by Patrick Smith, the memories came flooding back.
Myself, my sister Marilyn Neal, and my friend Carol Bowsley spent many happy nights at the Dungeon.
We saw and took part in the coming of the mini skirt, ‘Op Art’ and ‘Flower Power’.
One night a week, Peter Stringfellow used to come from his club in Sheffield called The Mojo.
He brought arms full of flowers and we would have a ‘love-in’ to the sounds of Scott McKenzie and San Francisco.
Some Saturday nights were all-nighters and we would pile out at 8 am. Exhausted, we would congregate in Lyons Café in Long Row, but we would be back at the Dungeon on Sunday afternoon and dance the day away all over again.
There was no alcohol sold in the Dungeon, only a coffee bar upstairs. There wooden compartments (similar to railway carriages) where we would get our breath back and have a bottle of Coke and a Cornish pasty (which as I remember were delicious).
Some of the groups I saw included The Small Faces, Ike and Tina Turner, Wilson Pickett, Lee Dorsey, The Drifters, Alan Price, Amen Corner and many more.
I remember Mick Parker, the owner, and Terry Flinn, who used to be on the door. When you wanted a pass-out, Terry would stamp the back of your hand with something that would only show up under an ultraviolet light.
I remember sometimes Barry Kendrick (of Kendrick Cars) used to DJ.
I remember dancing competitions which were nearly always won by a boy called Mondo Caine and April (his girlfriend at the time).
The most popular forms of transport were scooters and minis, and these would often be parked the length of Stanford Street.
It was here 33 years ago that I met a boy called Moss Saunders. I was a Mod and thought he was, until someone told me that when he wasn’t with me he was a greaser and had a great big motorbike.
I could not believe it, but it made no difference to me – I have now been married to him for 30 years.