The Dungeon was a club for young people to meet and mix with other young people while enjoying the music being played live or on record. It was an early form of the later discotheques. The Club had no bar selling alcohol, the bar only sold coffee and soft drinks such as coke.
It was primarily aimed at teenagers, having an official minimum age limit of 16, although many lied about their date of birth to gain admission.
There was a membership scheme: a form had to be filled in containing name, address, date of birth, signatures of two members who acted as a proposer and seconder. This was submitted, accompanied by two photographs of the applicant taken in one of those photo booths (there was apparently one present in the club) and a deposit of 1/- (5p in new money) to cover a year’s membership.
Once approved the applicant would receive a membership card containing a photograph on one side. Early copies of the card had the address printed wrongly as Stamford Street rather than Stanford Street.
The entrance fee for the club was different for members and guests. Occasionally the first so many (maybe 100 or 200) were free, at other times it was ‘only a bob’ (1/- or 5 new pence) and upwards depending on whether it was a ‘disco’ session or a live band.
For opening night in July, 1968, the cost was 5/- (25p) and for this the audience was entertained by two bands – the Dennisons from Liverpool and Big Ugly Dane and the Diamonds.
Admission prices varied dependent on the act appearing, the highest I have noticed being advertised is 10/- (50p) on two occasions: one for an all-nighter featuring the Orlons and Bobby Hebb and the other an all-day marathon on a Sunday (2.00 pm till 11.00 pm) featuring the Original Drifters, Garnett Mimms and the Senate.
When visiting the club, people wanted to be able to get a pass-out to visit a local pub for an alcoholic drink, such as the Royal Children or the Sawyers Arms or to visit the local cemetery for a kiss and a cuddle. During the first year open, pass-outs in card format were used but people used to pass these to friends to use for free admittance, so fluorescent stamps started to be used – the back of the hand was stamped which could be seen under a fluorescent light in the foyer. The following day there was a black mark on everyone’s hand.
Most clubs around at the time had some kind of membership scheme: here are a few other examples of cards.
Pictures used courtesy of various members of the Dungeon Club.