Here are more of peoples’ somewhat clouded memories of the inside of the Dungeon Club. Downstairs was where the action took place. It was dark, maybe clammy, full of loud music, some from live bands other from records played by the DJ’s. Full of people, no-one standing still, either tapping their feet or body in time or energetically dancing to the music. And most of them tended to show off – look, I’m the best dressed, look, I’m the best dancer!

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Down the Stairs

Stone steps led down to a room with a stone floor.

Downstairs Plan
Downstairs Plan

 

Stuart Morris – “After paying, you could turn right to the cloak room, coffee bar, and booths, or you could walk about 20 yards straight on, turn left then come back on yourself down the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs you would turn left onto the dance floor. Stage on the right with D.J. console on left of stage as you looked at it. On floor in front of console was barrel that Alan Askey danced on. Further on through brick arches more dance floor. Because the walls were painted with gloss paint, they were always dripping wet with condensation. You couldn’t lean on ‘em.”

Craig Strong – “I wonder if there are any photographs of the interior? I don’t remember seeing Alan dancing on a barrel! Excellent!”

Stuart Morris – “You were only a baby then Craig.”

Craig Strong – “True that Stu! 14 to be exact.”

Paul Thorpe – “Bl**dy hell another memory jogged? The barrel, not a clue what purpose it served, other than for Alan Askey to stand on so he could see eye to eye with Stuart Morris? Perhaps.”

Siddo Mel Senior – “I’m sure I can remember the brick alcoves/rooms and floors down stairs but as previously mentioned, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.”

Stuart Morris – “It’s no good Mick, we’ll have to get you a floor plan. Can you remember where the toilets were? In case you get caught short next time you’re walking round in your mind’s eye.”

Mick Hatcher – “I remember the toilets Stu, bottom of the stairs along the left hand wall at the end.”

Craig Strong – “I recall the male toilets as being on the adjoining wall, not far from where you site them … either that or as you went through the door it was an immediate right turn into them?

“Actually, now I’m trying to visualise them, I’m thinking you are right, but a definite sharp right turn as you went in.”

Paul Thorpe – “Toilets on the right were the ladies Craig … whoops!!”

Craig Strong – “No I meant just right near to where you put them! But as I said, I believe you are correct about them being where you said.”

Craig Strong – “I’m thinking the DJ box didn’t stick out like that? It was part of the stage at the far left as you looked at it. Correct me if I’m wrong! Might have jutted out a little.”

Downstairs view 1
Downstairs view 1

Mick Hatcher – “Another quick sketch from the bottom of the stairs as I remember it, with the stage, DJ pedestal and the archways to the extra bits of dance floor. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.”

Linda Thompson – “Think you’ve got it right Mick.”

Mick Hatcher – “Thanks Linda, 50 years on and only seems like yesterday.”

Deanna Fahy – “That’s the only thing about the Dungeon I remember.”

Josephine Pate – “Looks good!”

Underneath the Arches

Jeanette Hutchinson – “We Ilkeston crowd used to gather under the left hand arches opposite stage … This is where Sam was flung against the wall and searched by undercover cop when it was raided … Great plan.”

Sharon Wilson – “Just as I remember it. Didn’t it have big beer barrels where you could stand your drinks inside the arches?”

Mick Hatcher – “Paul Thorpe is always on about the barrel, Sharon, you’d better ask him, I can’t remember it myself.”

Lorna Hickton – “Yes we did have beer barrels to put your drinks on.”

Downstairs dance floor & alcove
Downstairs dance floor & alcove

Stuart Morris – “Don’t remember the arches opposite the D.J. console. Thought that was a plain wall. There was a barrel tucked into the corner in front of and to the right of the console, that’s the one that Alan Askey danced on.”

Linda Thompson – “I remember those arches, Stu, but can’t remember the barrel. Can remember Alan being a good dancer though. You weren’t so bad either!!”

Jeanette Hutchinson – “We used to go in the arches, Stu.”

Paul Thorpe – “Stu, it was a plain wall halfway along (opposite the stage) then there were the arches, shown on the left of the sketch, actually further along that wall, so both you and Mick are correct, those arches were where me Sedge & Gabby ‘practised’ dancing, before going out in the main area with the ‘grown ups’.”

Josephine Pate – “Definitely arches from back wall into alcove. We used to dance back there but mostly in the end alcove.”

Mick Hatcher – “Thank you Josephine.”

Josephine Pate – “The alcove wasn’t in the middle of the wall but more away from the men’s bogs maybe almost opposite the DJ end of stage.”

Ann Barry – “I think there was more floor space through the arches on the back wall than is shown. Enough for several dancers.”

Mick Hatcher – “Couldn’t get it in on my sketch, Ann.”

Kath Allen – “I can remember this one better, me and my ex use to snog on the left side in the archway.”

Mario Joseph – “Not certain but wasn’t there a bar downstairs opposite the stage in an alcove?”

Josephine Pate – “No but they did do that at the Beachcomber.”

Mario Joseph – “Can see it as plain as day, guess I’m losing it.”

Ron Attenborough – “Mario, the bar opposite the stage was opened up when it changed to the Eight till Late.”

Josephine Pate – “I did wonder if it was a later memory, although I remember nothing of the 8 till late except it being the last call on a megga hen night in ’71.”

Mario Joseph – “Thanks for clearing up that one, Ron, thought I was cracking up.”

Wall of Sound

Craig Strong – “Can you remember the speaker array Mick?”

Mick Hatcher – “No Craig that’s one thing I can’t remember mate.”

Craig Strong – “Being a bit of a sound freak I remember them being mounted on what was probably very thick chipboard, and there were 4 X 18″ Goodmans bass units, and 8 X 8″ Goodmans mid-range units, which may have been full range as I don’t remember ever seeing any tweeters. The speaker wall was towards the staircase end of the room, on the same side as the stage.”

Mick Hatcher – “I’ll put them on my next one then Craig but they will not look like you remember them.”

Josephine Pate – “I was back in the club several times with Bob and a few others around 1980 when it was Shades. Changed somewhat but pretty surreal to be in there again!

“’8 till Late’ after Dungeon days? I can remember going in or to be more exact coming out at the end of a hen night would’ve been February ‘71. Please correct me if I’ve got the wrong name linked to it for that period!!”

Maurice Moore – “Josephine, it was briefly The Big Apple in 1968, then the 8 Till Late till sometime in 1971 when it became Marios. Shades was a little later.”

Downstairs view 2
Downstairs view 2

Mick Hatcher – “Standing at the side of DJs pedestal looking towards the bottom of the stairs with the saxophone and music notes painted on the stairs wall. Craig Strong’s speakers on the wall and the gents loo over on right and the back wall arch. Cannot remember whether there were any columns on the dance floor, feel free to put me right.”

Craig Strong – “The speakers were in that general area, but they pointed towards the dance floor, and not at the stage as you portray. I think the wall that they were mounted on was a more gentle angle. This kind of angle.”

Mick Hatcher – “Oh yes l remember now, we are getting there.”

Paul Thorpe – “Mick Hatcher, I’m sure there were pillars at the front of the stage, this is confirmed on photo’s of the various groups & artists mate.”

Mick Hatcher – “Thanks Paul I’m sure I must have walked into them a few times.”

Craig Strong – “Probably so, I think it was just the positioning of the speakers that Mick was concentrating on.”

Maurice Moore – “The photos show one black pillar which I have a vague memory of. It seems to be positioned fairly central – it is to the right hand side of the lead vocalist in each case & generally the lead stands in the middle of the stage. I also think it’s very close to the stage.”

Stephen Jeffery – “There was a stairway up from the stage to Stanford Street. I spoke to Ben E King at the top of it. He was getting some fresh air. Most probably for the bands to take their gear down to the stage. I believe that stairway doubled as a fire exit. The door came out at the side of the right hand pillar. Obviously health and safety was less of an issue then!!”

Craig Strong – “I remember literally bumping into The Action as they were coming up the normal stairs in ‘66!”

Stephen Jeffery – “Underrated band. Saw them one or two times.”

Dave Berry

Dave Berry & the Cruisers playing at the Dungeon
Dave Berry & the Cruisers playing at the Dungeon

Mick Hatcher – “I remember him (Dave Berry) getting drowned just before he went on stage down there one night. Someone had broken a water pipe in the loo and pointed it straight outwards.”

Kath Shaw – “Well I never!! Just do not remember camera’s down there at all.”

Phil Long – “How good is this photograph? I wish there were more!”

Mick Hatcher – “Is that Exit sign the stairway at the left hand side of the stage leading up to the cloakroom?”

Maurice Moore – “Yes Mick.”

Angela Richards – “Exactly Mick. The ones that don’t exist.”

Paul Thorpe – “Spanish wine bottles covered in straw rafia, that’s one I’d forgotten, I guess it’s the camera flash that’s made it appear much lighter in this.”

Mick Hatcher – “I can’t remember the granny brass wall plaques either, Paul.”

Angela Richards – “I had my share and I’m not to blame …”

Kath Shaw – “Are you sure it’s the Dungeon, the far background & the wall plaques are not familiar at all.”

Mick Hatcher – “I agree with you Kath. Also, I can’t see the DJs pedestal at the end of the stage.”

Ann Barry – “It’s taken at the same performance as the photo Gillian Williams posted on here some time ago, she was definite hers was taken in the Dungeon. Even from the same angle. You can see from what Dave is wearing and one or two of the audience.”

Dave Berry & the Cruisers
Dave Berry & the Cruisers

Gillian Williams – “Thanks Ann, it’s been a treasured photo of mine for years, just wish there was more.”

Phil Long – “I’ve spoken to Mick Parker and he says that it’s definitely The Dungeon and that his brother-in-law John Tilson is on stage with Dave Berry.”

Mick Hatcher – “Thanks Phil, I suppose we didn’t take too much notice of our surroundings in those far off days, sorry to Gillian for slightly doubting her pic.”

Paul Thorpe – “Mick, I couldn’t recall the brass plaques either mate, athough I did remember seeing the rafia covered wine bottles, I suppose it was so dark (usually without the camera flashes) that the brass didn’t reflect, they also look to be above the painted walls & line of vision from the lights (what few there were) …”

Iain McKinlay – “Well, looked long and hard and got input from family but convinced it’s me left as you look at the photo, one in second row from the back, looking up with neck visible, black hair (now sadly stolen in the night), appear to have glasses on which I needed then, standing beside my mate Jeff Sly. Certainly remember seeing Dave Berry so probably it is yours truly!! Brilliant photo!!”

Jo Barnes – “I’m sure it is you Iain, John thinks so too!”

Craig Strong – “Worked with Dave once and I was amazed at how long his hands were!”

Paul Thorpe – “Which he’d accentuate by stroking the microphone …”

Lorna Hickton – “Hi to my Dungeon friends it’s definitely the Dungeon and the stairs and exit sign lead up to the cloakroom and the artists dressing room also to the fire door which opened onto Stanford Street. It is John Tilson next to Dave Berry, Mick’s brother-in-law and our special friend. I have treasured this photo for a long time as I loved it when Dave came to the club, also another favourite of mine was Robb Storm.”

Robb Storme & the Whispers
Robb Storme & the Whispers

 

Plans and Ilustrations by Mick Hatcher

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