It’s A Raid

Background

Mods led a fast lifestyle, often working in the week and packing as much excitement as possible into the 60 hours or so at the weekend: much of that time was spent on their feet dancing, including usually all night on Saturday. To achieve this, some of them resorted to drugs.

The stimulant amphetamine was used medically as a pick-me-up or slimming aid, however it was soon seen as an aid to keeping a person awake and active through those long weekends. The craze for amphetamines started in London around 1960 and had spread around the country by 1963. It prompted many robberies from chemists’ shops and the like to satisfy the growing demand on the black market.

Amphetamine or ‘Speed’, especially the varieties known as Purple Hearts, French Blues and Black Bombers, was the drug of choice and fashion among teenagers and became part of the fast, invigorating lifestyle of the Mods.

Through the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Act of 1964, amphetamines were reclassified as harder drugs and this caused the price of purple hearts on the street to go up from 6d to 9d each, but it didn’t make a lot of difference to their supply or demand.

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The ‘New’ Dungeon

Closed for Alteration

The Dungeon was open six days a week – it only closed on Thursdays. However, in March 1967, it closed for an extra three days one week, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; ‘Closed for Alterations’ read the advert.

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Friday March 10th was advertised as the ”Big’ Re-opening Night’ of the ‘New’ Dungeon – ‘now even bigger and better, more dancing room, more of the good things that make the Dungeon ‘The Club’ for dancing people.’ It was also the ‘Midlands ‘NEW’ Leading Scene’ and ‘Full of Surprises’.

Saturday night was an All-Nighter (11.30 pm till 8 am) featuring the Original Drifters. The usual early Saturday evening dancing session was shortened – ‘Owing to the Numerous Phone Calls and Letters from all parts of the country, regarding the Drifters show, Door will now open 11.30’.

After queues to get into the Club, it was soon pretty much packed with a happy, jovial crowd anticipating a night of fun, dance and great music – a night to remember. However, the headlines were correct. It was ‘full of surprises’ and certainly a night to remember – people still talk about it to this day.

An Impression

“At some point during the early hours, I went outside to get a breath of fresh air, to be greeted by the arrival of a double-decker bus and an orderly line of marching policemen arriving at the club. It was a raid!!! They made everyone stay inside the club, with no music and the bright house lights switched on, while they searched every person, then either threw them out onto the streets or, in the case of those who were underage, rang their parents to go down to collect them. I believe the bus was used to search the girls.

“My friend sat on the floor at one stage, only to disturb a jumper under which was hidden a very large pile of pills. We decided to inform the police, who proceeded to search us and throw us out.

“Luckily for us, there was another all-nighter in town that night at the Beachcomber, so we went over there, where Lee Dorsey was performing. Eventually word got back to us that the police had finished and the Dungeon was reopening.

“The place was quite empty by now as most people had gone home, however I seem to remember that the Drifters appeared sometime around 6 or 7 in the morning.

“The next day we were ‘celebrities’ as the raid appeared in the national newspapers, however I doubt it was very successful for the police, as I don’t think many arrests were made.”

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Below, people who were there talk about the night.

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Full of Surprises

“Anyone remember the night it was raided by the drug squad?”

“Yes, I was taken to the police station as I was underage. My parents had to come and collect me. If memory serves the Drifters were on stage that night.”

“I was there, but managed to get out, was only 15, lol x.”

“Is it true that the Original Drifters who were on the night of the ‘raid’ were in fact ‘The Invitations’?”

“Yes, they were. Lots of fake groups around then.”

“Remember ‘The Fabulous Temptations ‘?”

 “The toilets was like a chemist when it was raided.”

“I recall a lot of flushing going on!”

“We were there. I was searched in the police van outside, taken to the station, then home in a police car. As a young girl I worked in a chemist, suffering then with my ‘monthly’. The pharmacist prescribed me with some painkillers in an unmarked bottle (yes you know what’s coming); when I realised it was a raid I panicked, took them out of my bag, my then vanity case, and passed them onto my boyfriend. A crowd of 6 of us had been dancing in a circle as we did then and round went the tablets. Oh no, we had been seen. I admitted to them belonging to me, my boss was informed, away they went to be tested – phew all was well, so was my job.”

“Me and two mates were stood outside having a fag when the police blocked off Stanford Street and we shouted in that it was a raid. We asked a copper if we could go back in to get our coats (we didn’t have a coat) and he told us to f–k off. While we stood outside another mate walked up Stanford Street with coppers rushing passed him and he asked what was happening. We told him it was a raid and he said he had a pocket full of pills in his three-quarter suede coat and we asked him if he had a hole in his pocket and he said he had, so we said pour them out the hole one at a time and we crushed them in the gutter with coppers going passed all the time with no idea what we were doing. Got back in at about 5 o’clock and saw the band.”

“Yes I was there and I have lots of tales.”

“Doubt if you remember any. I think we were, can’t remember going home to Brinsley in Police car. I was possibly locked up.”

“So have I but it would incriminate us. An undercover cop ran over and pinned me to the wall but false name address etc. They were the days.”

“We went down to the Beachcomber to see Lee Dorsey after the ‘raid’, then back to the Dungeon in the small hours. I remember thinking I want my 17/6d worth.”

“17/6!!! I only ever paid 2/6.”

“That’s what we did as well.”

“So did I – Lee Dorsey at the Beachcomber, then back to the Dungeon to see the ‘Original Drifters’ at about 5:00?”

“Yes I was at the Beachcomber watching Lee Dorsey, an all-nighter I think; we ended up at the bung the night of the raid, parked our Lambrettas on Stamford Street, try doing that today.”

“I was saying the same thing, used to leave my Lambretta all night whilst clubbing. It was always there for going home on, plus you only had to turn fuel on and kick start, never used stealing lock.”

“I was there, got searched in a cop van with a kid from London. They pulled a condom from his pocket and asked him, what’s this for? F–king blowing bubbles mate, was his reply.”

“The police took a load of us to the Guild Hall and there was a typewriter on a desk and one lad started trying to play it like the Small Faces (Plonk Lane I think) and a copper hit him round the head with his truncheon. Happy days.”

“I went home.”

“The Sun referred to us as children … And for ages after we kept singing Stevie Wonder’s ‘A Place in the Sun’! The article said that we were expecting a ‘beat’ group called The Drifters, but instead we got the police!”

“Yes I was there, but had to stay at the headquarters all night for some reason!”

“I remember. It was packed. Should have been a massive night. When the lights went on I remember the noise of all the gear hitting the floor and lads trying to crush into the gents to get rid. Got through the bus I.D. enquiry, fairly quickly, but can’t remember much after that, as my gear kicked about then.”

“I missed the night it was raided: I was saving for a dress from the Birdcage!!”

“Or doing homework.”

“I missed the raid, but that was on Police advice as it was (possibly) me that had told the Police about the things that went on at The Bung, I was a good boy!! … That was a joke by the way; I don’t want anyone chasing me!!”

“I was there , taken away in a police van and searched.”

“I was there , got away though.”

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Keystone Cops

“The police closed the Dungeon down. I escaped the raid.”

“The raid was in March 1967, the Dungeon did not close down until February 1968”

“Oh, thank you for the dates. I did get stopped from going down town for a while. Plus I was courting too.”

“I was there the night of the raid and remember it well.”

“So was I. The Drifters should have been on; it was packed to the rafters. The police looked like the Keystone cops when they came running down the stairs, to my horror one of them was my Mum and Dad’s friend’s son.”

“I remember there were more pills on the floor of the Dungeon than in Boots.”

“I am just wondering if you are the person I went to see the Drifters with when the Dungeon was raided in 1967?”

“I think I am the same one. Did we actually get to see the Drifters?”

“I thought it was you! And no, we didn’t get to see the Drifters.”

“We were all there that night but she was taken away and the Feds phoned her parents to collect her but I went back, nipped to the Beachcomber and then back to the Dungeon.”

“I think we told her parents she was staying at mine because we were 15 at the time, hence us being ‘taken away’!!”

“I went and then for whatever reason myself and my mate decided to get a pass out and then go back later when it was nearer the time the Drifters would do their turn. When we got to the end of Stamford Street, the Police had blocked the end of the road and there was at least two double decker buses parked outside the club. We waited for a bit and then called it a night. Complete washout of an all-nighter. There was an ‘all-dayer’ on the Sunday and it was a bit like a morgue. People were just talking about who Mick Parker had banned because of the drugs. Happy days!”

“Anyone remember if the buses were Lamcote, Camms or Bartons!!!???”

“Thought they were City Transport buses.”

“I can remember the buses but not the company … makes sense it was City Transport, if the raid had been at Beeston Essoldo, then deffo Bartons!!!!!”

“I was thirteen and we young ones went in a police car. Luckily we were about to be searched all over and a police officer came over to us and asked if my mum was called Doris? It was one of my mum’s friends, so she wouldn’t let us be internally searched and took us back home. My mum actually knew I was going and had given me money to go home in a taxi when it finished. Mum wouldn’t let me go there again. And the other two of our group were in trouble with their parents because they’d sneaked out.”

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Anniversary

“The raid was 50 years ago tonight!!!!”

“I remember it like it was yesterday.”

“Remember it well, but can’t remember last week.”

“Think we all have a story from that night!”

“Never did get to see The Drifters!”

“Remember it like it was yesterday, though actual yesterday’s a bit of a blur. Think that night was the last time I went to the Dungeon, went and did a daft thing, got married.”

“I was in Manchester that night or I would certainly have got busted. I never went back. My Dad said either go and live at the Dungeon or here, not both.”

“Remember it well. I was on duty that night, frightened us all when the police came bursting in and then sealed all the exits. We were all searched in units they brought in and parked on Stanford Street.  If my memory serves me right, nothing was found illegally.”

“Remember it well. Will never forget spending a night at the cop shop.”

“We were almost last to be taken out to the bus. Going to the toilet was interesting to say the least. Had to leave the door open with the female cop watching on to make sure nothing extra was getting flushed!”

“I got on the bus to be searched and this voice behind said “what you doing here” or words to that effect; it was my Mum & Dad’s friend’s son, who was on city police. I nearly died.”

“Me and my mate got on the bus and one of the fellas, to be nameless right now, had given my mate his wallet to take care of. Cop lady checked it out and said she had some nice friends after finding his condom! … At least that’s all that was in there!!”

“I had a pair of scissors and a cut throat razor in my bag; my boyfriend was a hair dresser at Stanley Dennis and didn’t leave them in the salon. He’d come straight from work, took some explaining.”

“So when the cops were done with us, we didn’t have a clue where everybody had gone so walked up to the square and found a crowd by the bogs. Probably towards 6 am by then. Somebody said it was over and the Drifters were coming back. Great except it wasn’t ‘our’ Drifters – it was the Original Drifters – all different fellas. They may have been good but not for us we wanted to hear Johnny Moore!!!”

“I remember the raid I was there. They lined us all up outside.”

“They looked like the Keystone cops when they came running down the stairs.”

“Had my first Stag night at the Dungeon, raided for drugs, lined up outside, searched, then wandered off to the Beach, can’t remember who was on though.”

“My stag night, took all the guys from work, a motor sales in Derby. They threatened to kill me on the following Monday morning.”

“Best bit for me, my mam always knew we were going to all-nighters, thumbing lifts to the Mojo etc etc. She cut out all the clips from our newspapers about the raid. Still got them.”

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Raid on …

“I hadn’t been to the Dungeon for a while (started going to the Beachcomber) and a friend wanted to go to see the Drifters … so pleased to have been part of the story that is still talked about 50 years later … think a film should be made – not ‘Raid on Entebbe’ but ‘Raid on Stanford Street’ … I wonder who would play the leading roles !!???????”

“I was there that night working in the cloakroom and my late hubby was on the door; never forget it.”

“Left just before it happened. Phew!”

“I was there … my parents weren’t happy having to collect me from the police station!”

“I was with two friends. Taken home in police car from station.”

“I was there and had to wait at the bottom of Stanford Street near Woolworths until the Police said we could go back and was one of the first in. What a memory will live with me forever …”

“Spent the night in the nick!!!”

“As I mentioned earlier I had a lucky escape that night as I was in Manchester but events caught up with me the following Saturday when I was arrested at a football match in London. Unfortunately I was searched …!”

“I was there with friends wondering why, and I still don’t know why, they raided a first rate club with nothing but young people enjoying music of the times & friends having a GREAT TIME!!!”

“Taken away in the bus!!”

“I remember looking at the floor when the lights came on and seeing all the smarties ha ha!!”

“I was supposed to be there but ended up at a party in Beeston!”

“I was there with mates. Still tell the story to this day. Great times live forever thanks to the Dungeon.”

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Talk of the Town

“I am amazed. At Sebring Florida talking to a fella from Wales and he knows about the raid from BBC World News. Wow.”

“We were quite famous then. The News spread everywhere.”

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

By Monday, the night was being reported on television and in the national newspapers. Here is how it was reported in Nottingham’s Guardian Journal on Monday March 13th 1967.

Street barricaded as 600 teenagers are searched

DRUGS SWOOP ON CLUB

100 Police break up city pop session

By a Guardian Journal reporter

Six hundred teenagers were ordered out of an all-night pop group session at a Nottingham club and searched in the early hours of yesterday when 100 police swooped in an anti-drug raid.

The 2 a.m. raid was on the Dungeon Club in Stanford Street, Greyfriar-gate.

It was the first major operation in the City Police programme of stamping out drug peddling in Nottingham.

Vice-squad and CID men closed in on the club as an all-night dance session was in full swing. Both ends of the street were barricaded and 100 police put a cordon round the club.

Mobile offices

Mobile police offices and vans were set up as interrogation centres and the teenagers were shepherded into the street to await questioning and searching.

The police raiding party included 20 police women led by P.w. Insp. Madge Davies.

The raid was led by Supt. William Sanday and Chief Insp. Jack Meldrum who had with them a search warrant issued under the Dangerous Drugs Act.

The teenagers stood under close guard in the street until the inquiries were complete at about 5 a.m.

Police used vans and a bus in addition to the club premises as interviewing centres.

A police spokesman said that tablets and pills found in the club and in the possession of some of the dancers were seized and were submitted for forensic examination to determine if they were illegal drugs.

Treated

More than 60 young people who were under the age of 17 were taken to City Police headquarters as a place of safety until arrangements could be made for them to be seen home.

“Many of them lived outside the city and some came from places as far away as Northampton and London,” said the spokesman.

One 18-year old youth was taken to hospital for treatment after he had admitted having taken a number of ‘French Blues’.

He was not seriously ill and was allowed to leave after treatment.

The police spokesman said that this was a firm attempt by the police to stamp out drug taking in Nottingham.

Some of the tablets collected in the raid may not turn out to be dangerous in themselves but they had been found to be the ‘beginning of the road’ to taking more advanced habit-forming drugs.

The drugs would be analysed at the Forensic Science Laboratory before any summonses were issued.

Parents told

For dancers who had come from distant places, arrangements had been made to notify the police in their own towns, or their parents, to ensure they reached home safely.

A teenage girl who was at the club when it was raided said that it came as a “complete bombshell.”

“Everything was swinging and we were all dancing when suddenly there were police everywhere,” she said.

She added that they were told to go out into the street and had to stand there until their turn came to be interviewed. She said that she was searched thoroughly.

Another girl said that she had, on occasions, seen pills peddled in clubs and coffee houses in the city. She said that they were fairly easily obtainable and sometimes they were “offered to you if you seemed interested.

“You need some kind of pep if you want to stay awake through an all-night session,” she said.

Another teenager who was in the club, dancing at the time, said that the police ushered everyone out into the street.

“I had left my coat behind and wanted to go back for it. But the police insisted that I should be accompanied by a constable,” said the youth.

He added that the girls were segregated from the boys for searching and questioning in the mobile offices.

At a session at the club yesterday afternoon an 18-year-old Bulwell girl, who had been at the club during the raid, said that names, addresses and ages were taken.

“I was searched, some were stripped, but they only looked through my pockets and coat.

“I had got some tablets for hangovers that a friend had given me. Even now I don’t know if they were drugs. They were four pink capsules in a tube which said: ‘One to be taken after a night out.’

“Another girl from Northampton had stomach tablets,” she added.

Well behaved

An 18-year-old Bestwood Park bot said that they had to wait at the barricades while people were interviewed until 5 a.m. Then many of them returned into the club to hear the Original Drifters play.

Mr W.M. Parker, owner of the club, said that the police had commented on the good behaviour of the young people during the whole operation.

The draw of the top-line American group, The Original Drifters, resulted in a large number of teenagers gathering outside the club before the scheduled opening time at 11.30 p.m.

Mr Parker decided that to prevent any complaint about the noise in the street, he would open a little earlier than proposed.

The youngsters poured in from all over the country to see the famous group. Supporting groups had been playing for a time.

Had warrant

It was after 2 a.m. and the atmosphere was building up for the entrance of the stars. Mr Parker made his way to the cloakroom near the door to arrange for the arrival of the group.

Instead, the door opened and plain-clothed CID men and uniformed police officers thrust their way in.

“As soon as I realised who they were I went upstairs and saw Ch. Insp. Meldrum, who explained that he had a warrant to search my premises.

“I told him I’d co-operate in any way, shape or form. But I told him I was very surprised they had a warrant. I had told them at different times before that they had an open invitation to do anything they wished.”

Mr Parker made an announcement to the dancers asking them to remain orderly and they were ushered out into the street and down to one end, which had been barricaded by police vehicles.

The Original Drifters had to wait outside during the raid and their road manager was taken for interviewing.

‘Decent kids’

“There are a lot of decent kids down here,” Mr Parker told a Guardian Journal reporter yesterday.

“At New Year’s Eve, I caught someone trying to sell some tablets. I didn’t know what they were, but I took him straight to the police headquarters.

“I told the fellow I would not tolerate this sort of thing in my club and handed him over to the police. They are now prosecuting this fellow.

“If I find anybody with drugs I hand them over to the police.”

He said that there was always an open invitation to parents of members to inspect the premises by walking round.

“There has been a lot of bad publicity up and down the country about clubs without proper facilities such as adequate toilets, fire escapes and emergency lighting.

Frightened

“There is a Bill going through Parliament at the moment to licence all clubs of this nature eventually. This would be a very good thing.

“It will mean the police will have the right of admission. Where the trouble stems from is that many clubs won’t allow police in because they are frightened and might have something to hide.

“When we have sessions every Friday, Saturday and Sunday I engage a policeman through the local authority more or less to be on hand to keep out people we don’t wish in – non-members.”

He said that he was always prepared to allow police access to any part of the club and from time to time policewomen visit the premises looking for girls missing from home.

Unlicensed

The club, which has been open three years, is unlicensed and caters for teenagers and young people up to about 21 years.

Mr Parker said: “It is not designed for adult attendance. It is designed to attract teenagers in their particular way. The image of the club is slowly changing. The kids are changing and wanting a smarter type of club.”

Last week the club was closed for alterations, costing several hundred pounds.

New ventilation, new seating and lighting have been installed and more alterations are planned.

Guardian Journal, Nottingham, Monday, March 13th, 1967

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Tests

A similar article appeared in the Nottingham Evening Post on the evening of Monday March 13th 1967.

Evening Post - Raid 5

Club raid biggest yet by city police

LAB. TESTS ON TABLETS HAUL

600 teenagers await results …

Scientific tests being carried out today on tablets and pills seized at the Dungeon Club, Nottingham, in yesterday’s raid – the biggest of its kind so far by city police, will decide whether any of the 600 teenagers searched will be prosecuted. “The drugs must be analysed before any summons can be issued,” said a police spokesman.

The results of tests on the tablets and pills were expected to be known by tomorrow or Wednesday, the spokesman said.

Some 600 teenagers were ordered out of the club, in Stanford Street, Greyfriar-gate, when 100 policemen and policewomen swooped at 2 a.m. The teenagers were taken outside and questioned and searched in groups of three in the mobile police office and bus which were waiting outside.

The street was barricaded and a cordon put round the club as the police, led by Supt. William Sanday and Chief Insp. Jack Meldrum, searched for drugs. The two senior officers had with them a search warrant issued under the Dangerous Drugs Act.

Praise

The police spokesman praised the teenagers for their conduct during the raid, saying: “Almost without exception they co-operated very well with the police, and their behaviour was quiet and orderly.

“This was in spite of the fact that many of them must have been very disappointed at having to wait several hours to see the pop group, the Original Drifters.

“We were agreeably surprised at their conduct, and have no complaints to make. The owner of the club also co-operated very well.”

The club is owned by Mr W M Parker.

The raid was the first major operation in the City Police programme of stamping out drug peddling in Nottingham.

Vice squad and CID men closed in on the club as an all-night dance session was in full swing.

The police raiding party included 20 policewomen, led by P.w Insp. Madge Davies.

The teenagers stood under close guard in the street until the inquiries were complete at about 5 a.m.

More than 60 young people who were under the age of 17 were taken to City Police headquarters as a place of safety until arrangements could be made for them to be seen home.

“Many of them lived outside the city and some came from places as far away as Northampton and London,” said the spokesman.

One 18-year-old youth was taken to hospital for treatment after he had admitted having taken a number of ‘French Blues’.

He was not seriously ill and was allowed to leave.

Of the teenagers searched in the raid, police said that nine were from London, 10 from Northampton, three from Lincoln, and others were from Mansfield, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Ilkeston, West Hallam, Ripley and other parts of Derbyshire.

For dancers who had come from distant places, arrangements had been made to notify the police in their own towns, or their parents, to ensure they reached home safely.

A teenage girl who was at the club when it was raided said that it came as a ‘complete bombshell’.

“Everything was swinging and we were all dancing when suddenly there were police everywhere,” she said.

She added that they were told to go out into the street and had to stand there until their turn came to be interviewed. She said that she was searched thoroughly.

Another girl said that she had, on occasions, seen pills peddled in clubs and coffee houses in the city. She said that they were fairly easily obtainable and sometimes they were “offered to you if you seemed interested.

“You need some kind of pep if you want to stay awake through an all-night session,” she said.

At a session in the club yesterday afternoon an 13-year-old Bulwell girl, who had been at the club during the raid, said that names, addresses and ages were taken.

“I was searched, some were stripped, but they only looked through my pockets and coat.

“I had got some tablets for hangovers that a friend had given me. Even now I don’t know if they were drugs. They were four pink capsules in a tube which said: ‘One to be taken after a night out’.”

Mr Parker said there was always an open invitation to parents of members to inspect the premises by walking round.

He said that he was always prepared to allow police access to any part of the club, and from time to time policewomen visit the premises looking for girls missing from home.

The club, which has been open three years, is unlicensed, and caters for teenagers and young people up to about 21 years.

Nottingham Evening Post, Monday March 13th, 1967

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A Place in the Sun

Another article was printed in one of the National newspapers, the cutting exists but there is no mention of the paper. The article was written by Ellis Plaice.

DRUGS: CID HOLD SIXTY CHILDREN

About 600 youths and girls were searched by police in a drug-hunting raid on a beat-music club early yesterday.

Sixty children aged under seventeen were taken away from the club – the New Dungeon in Nottingham.

They spent the rest of the night at Nottingham police headquarters, waiting for their parents to collect them.

Parents as far afield as London, Birmingham and Northampton were woken by the police and asked to fetch their children.

Some older teenagers also went to police headquarters for further questioning.

The New Dungeon Club, with a ground floor and basement in Stanford Street, Nottingham, had opened at the weekend. It was advertised as ‘The Midlands’ New Leading Scene’.

Advertisements also promised that the club would be ‘Full of Surprises’.

The big surprise of Saturday night’s dusk-till-dawn song-and-dance session came at 1.45 a.m.

The teenagers were expecting a beat group called The Drifters. Instead, 100 policemen and policewomen pounced.

The police had warrants under the Dangerous Drugs Act.

Streets around the club were blocked. When the Drifters arrived, they had to wait outside the club.

Hospital

The 600 youths and girls were led three-by-three to a police bus and vans, for searching and questioning.

One 18-year-old boy was taken to hospital suffering from a suspected drug overdose.

A police spokesman said later yesterday: “The club has not been closed. Charges against some youngsters are possible, once we receive laboratory reports.”

Club owner Michael Parker, 28, said last night: “If any parents doubt this is a respectable club for respectable teenagers, they are quite entitled to come and see for themselves.”

Fashion – Leather Coats

Full-length Leather Coat

John Wood – “Did anyone have a full length leather coat made to measure at a gents outfitters on Pelham Street in the 60’s … six of us had leathers made there. You could have any colour – I had a Navy and mates had Red, Yellow, Green, Brown, Blue. Remember they cost us 21 guineas … £21. 21 shillings back then … unsure of the name of the tailors seem to recall … Clement?”

Mick Hatcher – “Got mine from Burtons, John, still got them.”

Leather Coats
Leather Coats

John Wood – “I more or less had to have clothes tailored – a slim waist and shoulder like a barn door … I still have a full length leather in tan got it some years ago now in Manchester.”

Roger Flowers – “I had a full length blue suede made there, can’t remember the name but it was on the left going up near the top – fantastic coat fantastic memories.”

John Wood – “Yes it was on the left … only a small shop.”

Peter Wilson – “Was it Swears and Wells near to Boots (now Zara) bottom of Clumber Street and High Street?”

Harry Wood – “I had a red leather from there, two of my mates had green ones and another mate had a yellow one. My dad said we looked like a set of traffic lights. I think they cost 39 bob, John.”

John Wood – “Stu Butler had the yellow one … and Sleppy had a green. I well remember your red one Pop … Happy days.”

Peter Wilson – “Was it Lafayette at the bottom of Market Street?”

Roger Flowers – “Lafayette rings a bell.”

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Blue Nylon Mac

Joesephine Pate & Susan Davis in Skegness
Josephine Pate & Susan Davis in Skegness

Philip Jones – “I had a nylon mac for 10/6d (blue of course).”

Mick Hatcher – “Toytowner.”

Philip Jones – “Have not heard that for years, but very true Mick.”

Craig Strong – “Was there ever a bigger insult than ‘toytown mod?’”

Paul Thorpe – “Mick, don’t be so sniffy, lots of us started out with nylon macs (remember Tosh Harrison), yo’ were a raggy arse yersen back in the day”

Philip Jones – “Craig Strong, Colmans Clown?”

Craig Strong – “Apart from being called a greaser by a London mod in Trafalgar Square summertime 1966?”

Craig Strong – “Eh?”

Paul Terry Watson – “Forgot all about them macs, cool!”

Peter Wilson – “Pac-a-mac.”

Sharon Wilson & Eileen Smith in Skegness
Sharon Wilson & Eileen Smith in Skegness

Sharon Wilson – “Typical ‘uniform’ – plastic nylon macs and straw bags. Think the bag was from Farmers at the top of Exchange Walk. Cost about 2/6p.”

Eileen Smith – “The macs were nylon not plastic Sharon but you’ve got an amazing memory. I’m loving the drawings of the dungeon, that’s bringing back lots of memories.”

Sharon Wilson – “Yes you are right! Don’t know what made me put plastic. Have amended it now lol. Often think about you in your satin dresses and how you stood up on the bus so you didn’t get them creased!”

Eileen Smith – “The red satin suit under the fur coat was the best.”

Sue Hey – “I had a straw bag from Falmers, I think they closed on Thursday afternoon.”

Sharon Wilson – “Yes they did. Used to get my tights from there. Remember the diamond ones lol!!!!”

Margaret Kerslake – “So typical of the time. I think we all must have looked so similar.”

Sharon Wilson – “Yes it was like a school uniform. What about the hush puppies and leather coat which was mandatory lol.”

Diana Tompkin – “Remember mine so well wore it to death ! Sadly no photos.”

Roger Lowe – “Wore mine out, originally called pac-a-macs? Amazing what we thought was trendy?!”

Paul Thorpe – “Roger, I thought pac-a-macs were the plastic version, these we wore were nylon so didn’t tear easily, but made you sweaty just the same.”

Roger Lowe – “Paul you could well be right, mine was blue nylon, yes made you hot under the collar!”

Micky Moore – “Ha Ha. My mother and I had matching navy blue pac-a-macs, accessorised tastefully with see-through polythene rain-hoods with a white umbrella pattern that tied under the chin with a bow!”

Chris Garland – “Loved mine, never took it off lol. Remember the massive vanity bags we all had as well. Not much in them but always on the arm lol.”

Jean Heath – “When we went up the Mojo we always had a bottle of Yates wine in it.”

Philip Jones – “I wonder if you can still get them. I thought they were really good and wore really well, and it did not matter that much if they got lost or nicked.”

Phil Long – “… and a pork pie hat!”

Jeff Piggott – “Bought mine in Paul Smith, thought I was the dogs doo dahs.”

Jean Heath – “Also had brown suede hush puppies to wear with the mac – no P Smith one for me, think my mac came from C & A.”

Peter Wilson – “Who remember those Airline Bags i.e. B.O.A.C and B.E.A.”

Josephine Pate – “Us, cause u gave us one.”

Pete Wardle – “Had one with Aer Lingus, only one I could get.”

Danny W.Gill – “Just bought one. Back in the day I wore a black workman’s mac and a beige raincoat.”

Pete Wardle – “Never knew how that Mod fashion caught on yet so simple and classy.”

Micky Moore – “My mother would have been mortified if she had realised that pac-a-macs were actually fashionable! She disapproved of everything ‘mod’ or associated with the Dungeon: she bought pac-a-macs purely for their practicality.”

<<<>>>

More Leathers

Philip Jones – “I had full length black and bottle green leathers both of which were nicked from cloakrooms, so it was Crombies after that.”

Mick Hatcher – “It was hard to keep up with the latest fashions when you were on apprentice wages, especially when the fashions changed every week.”

Diana Tompkin – “Haha.”

Paul Thorpe – “Craig Strong, went working in London in ’66, the Southern Mods didn’t relate well to our version of Mod mate!!”

Peter Wilson – “I was in London late ’67 used to go to The Witch Doctor Club in Catford.”

Maurice Moore – “I was in London in ’67 on IBM courses. I went to the Marquee, Flamingo, Scotch of St James. Stayed in hotels in Soho and when I walked around, got offered drugs, sex, whatever I wanted. I was also growing a moustache and got mistaken for Scott McKenzie.”

Craig Strong – “I was a school kid!”

Paul Thorpe – “Craig Strong I was only 15, but contracting, so you were sent anywhere.”

Penny Parfitt & Sue Abbott
Penny Parfitt & Sue Abbott in their leathers (maroon & green)

Penny Lambert – “I had a full length maroon one but can’t remember where I got it from, but I loved it, it was very soft I made it into a jacket in the end.”

Craig Strong – “Being a part-time jobbed schoolboy, I bought a girls leather off a mate, he had ‘borrowed’ it from his sister!”

Paul Thorpe – “Buttoned on the ‘wrong’ side Craig, everyone noticed, but nobody mentioned it at the time.”

Craig Strong – “I never wore it at The Dungeon!”

Sally Morpeth – “Yes we had them. We bought our leathers from the tannery near Trent Bridge.”

Margaret Kerslake – “I had a full length maroon one from Carnaby Street. Loved it.”

Sharon Wilson – “I had a black leather bought it from a shop called Renore, think it was somewhere near where Primark is. You could pay weekly and it was about £25.”

Peter Wilson – “Next to The Black Boy Hotel.”

<<<>>>

The Workers

Wes Stala – “After working in Montague Burton on Hockley for a few months with the likes of Peewee and Duke, I then went on to work at Philip Arnold on Pelham Street, who also had a branch on Arkwright Street in the Meadows. Sadly after a few months working there he closed up due to Bankruptcy, I believe. We used to get the long leather coats made up at leather manufacturers/tailors in the Meadows. Ahhh, those heady days!”

David Picker – “The shop was called Philip Arnold. My first job on leaving school in 1966.”

Wes Stala – “Hi, David. It was my second job there, I came from Burtons on Hockley , small world.”

David Picker – “I left in 67. The owner was Mr Geoffrey Kirk. He also had a shop on Arkwright Street. Your right, it is a small world.”

Wes Stala – “So it must have been 1967 that I worked there, probably straight after you. I can’t remember the reason why, but he took me to his house in West Bridgford, beautiful property as I recall, I was most impressed…and then, sadly, he went through!”

David Picker – “I sensed he was juggling a number of balls whilst I was there. I remember his house off Loughborough Road. I bumped into him a few years later and he had a job as Rep for Ben Sherman.”

<<<>>>

Suedes too

Diana Tompkin – “I had a full length brown suede from Smith Engelfield, think it was on Parliament Street.”

Peter Wilson – “Yes, bottom of Kings Walk. Sold all top class leather goods.”

Veda Bromwich – “Mine was Emerald Green but can’t remember where it was from.”

Veda Bromwich, Bill Bottle & Elenor
Veda Bromwich, Bill Bottle & Elenor

Diana Tompkin – “My sister’s was emerald green leather from Smith Engelfield. Still have some of the old buttons!”

Susan Foster – “Mine was from Renore, 20 pounds, worked at Pork Farms, Friar Lane to pay for it, it was sage green. Loved that coat, paid a pound a week. My brother worked next door at the Black Boy, Roger Walker. What a beautiful place, how could they have let that go to become Littlewoods?”

Gillian Williams – “I had a full-length blue suede and a really soft brown suede jacket, both off the peg couldn’t afford tailor-made. Only got rid of my jacket a couple of years ago, could kick myself now.”

John Batchelor – “I loved my leather, full-length, vent to the waist and a tie round belt. very dark ox-blood. Got it from a place on Arkwright Street.”

Eileen Smith – “Mine was from Renore too, my lovely mum bought it for me and paid weekly.”

Gary Maxton – “Got mine from a Sunday Morning trip to Petticoat Lane, also bought a suit length of tonic mohair. Stall holder asked us “Where you from lads?” “Nottingham” we said proudly,” Is that Norf Landan, Lads ” he replied. Lol”

Leather Coat - Gary Maxton
Leather Coat – Gary Maxton

Ann Barry – “My first leather was full-length, navy blue, cost 14 Guineas and I sold it later for £5. Then I got a three-quarter green leather from Trent Fur Company, cost £7.”

Wes Stala – “I sold them at Philip Arnolds but could never afford one for myself!”

Mike Beebop Smith – “Got mine from Hepworth’s next to Yates. It cost £36.00. I’ve still got it, only it doesn’t fit anymore.”

Mick Hatcher – “My leather from Burtons still fits 50 years on.”

Leather Coat - Mick Hatcher
Leather Coat – Mick Hatcher

Paul Thorpe – “Looking as cool as ever Mick, pity it buttoned on the wrong side, was it ‘lifted’ from the Bung cloakroom?”

Mick Hatcher – “It’s buttoned on the boys side you cheeky sod.”

Paul Terry Watson – “Can remember borrowing a bikers jacket to go clubbing, with Tats. Also leather rockers jacket, everyone thought it was cool, Johnny Doda ( college friends jacket).”

Neil Gilbey – “Had mine made by LJ (Lionel Jacobs) on St James Street just up from the Bell. You just simply went to ‘BOARDS’ leather shop and chose the skins you wanted.”

John Batchelor – “Lionel Jacobs was a lovely man and a great tailor. He did a lot of our alterations when I worked at Jackson the Tailor.”

Maurice Moore – “Where was ‘BOARDS’, Neil?”

Neil Gilbey – “If you went up St James Street then about opposite the Imperial pub, on the right hand side, there was a little side alleyway and you went up about 3 or 4 storeys to LJ. But on the entrance to the alleyway ‘BOARDS’ had a slightly curved window and was on the left as you looked at it. There were hundreds of skins hanging from the ceiling. I chose black and always regretted that it wasn’t brown.”

Danny W.Gill – “As a spotty young teenager about 13-14, into the music but not getting the clothes I wanted, I was at a youth club in Chilwell (the church next to College House school), a ‘mod’ turned up with full ‘gear’ – scooter, full length leather, hairstyle, everything. I so wanted a leather coat after then but didn’t get one until I was in Turkey around 2002 on R&R from Afghanistan, full length black leather, and since then a brown leather made when I was in Ethiopia.”

Nottingham Mods – the Kings of Cool

2009 – Memories from a Mod

On March 3rd, 2009, the Nottingham Post published an article written by Andy Smart under the heading Nottingham Mods the Kings of Cool. It covered the Mods of Nottingham in the 1960s as seen through the eyes of Alan Fletcher, the author. The musical, ‘Mod Crop’, was about to open at the Theatre Royal, which was based on his book ‘Brummell’s Last Riff’ which covered life in Newark, Nottingham, the Dungeon Club, Skegness, all things Mod. Here is an extract from the article.

Nottingham Mods – the kings of cool!

SUDDENLY, the Mod culture is back in fashion with an exhibition opening in Notts and a musical set for the Theatre Royal. ANDY SMART traces its roots

SHARP-DRESSED young men in their three button suits, Fred Perry shirts and a multi-mirrored scooter to lean on, the Mods saw themselves as the kings of cool.

They were styled by Burtons, John Collier and Hepworths. Deep, centre-vent suits with shaped waists and, most importantly, a ticket pocket.

Alan Fletcher, ex-Nottingham Mod turned author and period consultant, said: “When they ordered their suits, the guys in the tailors’ shops were mystified … it certainly stretched their tailoring expertise.”

Fletcher, from Newark, recalls one local Mod who had a suit made to measure – in maroon.

“I decided I had to have one like that, so I went for green gabardine. I felt like a king in that suit.”

Like so many things to emerge in that decade of change, the Mods were a reaction to the dour austerity of the Fifties and its bland pop music.

The Small Faces were their heroes, the Dungeon Club their lair. On bank holidays they would roll into Skegness, the promenade lined with shiny Vespas and Lambrettas.

There is an image of violence around that part of the Mod culture. Greasy rockers were the antithesis of everything they believed in and a good old-fashioned ruck has become part of the history.

“That really grew from incidents at Margate, Clacton and Brighton,” said Alan, “but a lot of it was media hype. It was a bit of bravado, nothing more.

“What was the point in saving up for three months, just to get your suit ripped in a beach fight?”

Alan describes the Mod culture as “a long weekend that lasted two years” but the memories lasted a lifetime.

In the early Seventies he wrote a film script, called Two Stroke Sonata, which he sent to another Mod icon, Pete Townsend of The Who.

It was an inspired move. On the strength of his writing, and his experiences, Alan became story consultant on Townsend’s movie Quadrophenia, and wrote the accompanying novel which sold almost 100,000 copies.

Twenty years and a blossoming career in journalism later, Fletcher returned to Two Stroke Sonata and used it as the basis for a trilogy of Mod novels.

The first of the series, Brummell’s Last Riff, is now being developed into a musical, called ModCrop, which will have its world premiere at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham.

Fletcher has teamed up with Wollaton playwright Steve Wallis to bring his story to the stage.

The music sets the tone. More than 20 classic Mod favourites like Gimme Some Lovin’, Under The Boardwalk and Woolly Bully will be threaded through a story of three Mod mates on a bank holiday jaunt to Skegness who have to balance the pressures of everyday life against the joys of being a Mod.

Wallis, whose play Make Do And Mend was successfully staged at the Theatre Royal in 2007, says: “The casting is primarily local. One of my ethics is to get locals, there are a lot of very talented young people out there.” There will be an exception to that rule, the inclusion of Sheffield pop star Dave Berry, who had a huge hit in the Sixties with The Crying Game, and will be performing the song throughout the show’s Theatre Royal run.

To set the scene for the musical, a Mods exhibition is being staged at the Millgate Museum in Newark, packed with Mod culture, photographs, clothing, memorabilia and, of course, the soundtrack of the Sixties.

It opens on Saturday March 7 until April 19. It will be supported by a short season of films, to be shown at the town’s Palace Theatre, including Quadrophenia, The Knock, Up The Junction and Blow Up.

Here is the link to the full original article.

http://www.nottinghampost.com/nottingham-mods-kings-cool/story-12262555-detail/story.html#1

The cast for the show included Dave Berry. During the run at the Theatre Royal, various scooters were exhibited at the front, including some from the film ‘Quadrophenia’.

Alan Fletcher and Dave Berry outside the Theatre Royal
Alan Fletcher and Dave Berry outside the Theatre Royal

The article asked for comments from Nottingham’s ex-Mods and here are some of those, printed in the paper on March 23rd, 2009.

<<<<<>>>>>

Why 1960s suited me

I was a lucky young man to be a teenager during the 1960s, a Mod with my mates, and then a Skinhead prior to joining the Army in 1970.

The clothes were special to us, getting ready to go out into Nottingham to some great clubs.

My first suit was a made-to-measure Burton’s number, brown herringbone cloth, with two button holes and 16 inch vent. The jacket looked ripped open, had eight buttons on the cuff, three-inch pocket flaps, plus ticket pocket. The trousers were cut as pegs a bit narrow at the bottom and I wore a white Fred Perry, Ben Sherman or Brutus shirt; shoes were lofas, or highly-polished brogues.

Casual kit was faded Levis, small turn-up, brown leather bomber jacket, or Levi jacket, stay press trousers, Doc Martin boots, or Doc Martin soles fitted to brogue shoes put on at Smedleys cobblers in Bulwell, opposite the Adelphi cinema.

We also wore a Harrington jacket. Overcoats were a parka from the Army Stores (Flittermans or Wakefields) or a nice black Crombie coat with a red hanky in the pocket held in with a stud.

I did end up with a scooter tarted up with loads of mirrors, tiger’s tail on the aerial, fox fur backrest and lots of spotlights. My first was an SX 200 Vespa.

The fashion shops in Notts were Roxy Threads – Rob, who ran the shop is still around and makes trousers for the Northern Soul group and will still visit the two Northern Soul and Motown venues I run in Nottingham twice a month – Jeff’s fashion shops, Birdcage, any Army store, Burton’s tailors, Smedley’s shoes and the markets in Nottingham.

The nightclubs were the Palais, Dungeon, Ad-Lib, Brit, Intercon, 360 Club Bulwell, the Twisted Wheel, Manchester.

The Bodega and the Fountain were the main pubs in town.

As for trips to Skegness, they were mainly at bank holidays, if the scooter made it. We all lined up outside the Chuckwagon on the promenade.

The music was the birth of Tamla Motown and then Northern Soul. It’s quite strange I now run the Federation Soul Club and the Central Soul Club in Nottingham. I have gone back to my roots.

But to be a teenager during those halcyon days in the ‘60s will never be forgotten and I still wear a Fred Perry, and Lambretta shirt. The fashions were great for the guys and gals, coupled with great music.

Mal Redman

away-from-the-city-easter-1965-at-skeggy-here-with-my-mates-from-nott-leic-and-sheff-centre-arrie-collinspete-sleepy-harper-on-vespa-meirlpopjones-clock-tower

My days as a city Mod

I read the recent Bygones article about Nottingham Mods mentioning the Dungeon Club and bank holiday gatherings at Skegness.

It brought back memories of a great time in my life.

I was a regular down the Dungeon Club with excursions to Stringfellow’s King Mojo Club in Sheffield, Clouds in Derby and, very occasionally, the Twisted Wheel in Manchester, not forgetting the Beachcomber in the Lace Market. Happy days.

That was the era of mohair suits, the mini boys, characters such as Little Eddie, Radio and Tats, soul music and Motown.

Bank holidays in Skegness 1967, sleeping in bus shelters and launderettes, the memories came flooding back.

Your article is correct; this was only a very short window in our lives. I met my beautiful wife during this time. We married in 1970 at 18 and 19, and celebrate 39 years of marriage this year.

A great time and thank you for the reminder.

David Picker

Scooter outside the Theatre Royal
Scooter outside the Theatre Royal

The Mods’ memories flood back

I LIKED your article about the Nottingham Mods scene during the late 60s – yes, they were fabulous times. The music scene was amazing.

To think we had Hendrix, Cream, Pink Floyd and The Yardbirds then; music that inspired us. Little Stevie Wonder, Chris Farlow, Junior Walker and The Spencer Davies Group.

The atmosphere at weekends, especially at the Dungeon, was electric, especially an all-nighter.

We went in Saturday night and came out Sunday morning for a breakfast at the greasy spoon cafe at Huntington Street bus station. (Then trying to tell your parents where you had been).

The pubs were a right laugh. The Royal Children banned us, The Salutation banned us, Sawyers Arms banned us, The Trip banned us.

There was one pub in the Broad Marsh bus station but that was very rough – the bouncers chucked us in!

So we would move on. and on another night we went to The Brit.

Wednesdays was a good night. After football training, a pint of Double Diamond with the edge of your glass so chipped you could peel potatoes on it .

Then the Beachcomber and The Boat Club, Eric Clapton and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers did a stint there.

The dress code, especially if you were a part of the scene and wanted to pull, was a mohair suit from Burtons in Hockley.

If you had a scooter (mine was a Lambretta) without the trimmings, (apprentices wages) you wore a Ben Sherman shirt from the Birdcage, Levis and Hush Puppies.

The local heavy mob were the mini boys – their reputation went before them. They held court for quite a while but they were pussy cats really: Welik, Tassy, Big Eddy, Roger and Pete.

The beach battles were history. I saw one at Great Yarmouth … I am telling you Quadrophenia had nothing on us.

Friday nights had a buzz, and The Kinks were singing Waterloo Sunset, and everybody was on a high, especially in the spring and summer, where you could show off a new ‘whistle and flute’.

Some were going to the Manchester clubs and some to Sheffield, and everybody caught up, on a Sunday evening, looking the worse for wear.

They were exciting times and an absolutely brilliant time to grow up in, but the emerging drug scene spoiled it.

I was there the night the Dungeon was raided, which made the BBC evening news and national press.

After that things went down hill, and the era of the Nottingham Mods faded.

I suppose we all grew up really. From time to time there have been reunions, and old aquaintances were spotted.

Jim Higgins

Items printed courtesy of the authors – Mal Redman, David Picker and Jim Higgins.

Ladies Fashion

The Sixties was a decade of great change and in the world of fashion, there was an explosion of colour and styles. Several people could be considered responsible in this respect and several could now be included in the Icon class.

Ann Barry – List from her diary 1966

  • IN – mini dresses with matching knickers – UGH!
  • Accessories in vivid purples, greens, yellows, etc. OK.
  • Line drawn above liner to make eyes look bigger. Good, but hard to do.
  • Suits with jackets ending as little above hemline as possible. Single breasted.
  • Going OUT – Furs – hooray!
  • Scooters – some people still hanging on.
  • Twiggy is THE Model.

Quant

Mary Quant opened up her shop Bazaar in the mid-50s, 1955 actually with a second in ‘57, and went on a mission to design ‘youthful clothes’. These were clothes for everyone, affordable and available to everyone, not just the elite. All the time the length of her skirts was reducing until we arrived at the ultimate – the miniskirt. In June, 1966, there was a competition down in the Dungeon – the ‘Shortest Miniskirt Competition’. I know several girls took part, but cannot remember who or even who won!

Linda Hatcher – “I still have a coat by Mary Quant. Bright orange with zip front and a small stand up collar. It’s somewhere in the loft!”

Skirt lengths before tights (1964/5)
Skirt lengths before tights (1964/5)

Deanna Fahy – “Wore stockings but went bare legged in summer, sometimes wore patterned stockings with diamonds and such like, but as soon as tights were invented it was freedom to wear short skirts. I remember wearing pants on top of my tights so when I walked upstairs on the bus it looked okay.”

The Bob

Pictured above giving Mary Quant the ‘bob cut’ was Vidal Sassoon who since 1964 had a huge effect on ladies’ hair fashion and set the style for the decade and many to come.

Deanna Fahy – “I first saw Vidal Sassoon’s wife on the front page of the newspaper with this cropped hair. I rang Keith Halls and asked if they could do it; they couldn’t wait as it was different from their usual cuts, so went up in my dinner hour. When I got back to work all the girls’ mouths dropped open and when I got home my dad went mad. Told me I was crazy and that I looked like a man. I loved it.”

Stuart Morris – “Favourite hairstyle was the cut where one side ran along the top of the ear, while the other side was longer and followed the jawline.”

Deanna Fahy – “Had mine like that once Stu, like Diane Ross.”

Suzanne Tindle – “I had long hair and then had it cropped off.”

Jeanette Hutchinson – “Had the 5 point haircut at Keith Halls.”

Biba

Barbara Hulanicki opened Biba in September 1964 in Abingdon Road, Kensington, in 1965 in 19-21 Kensington Church St, created Mail-Order catalogues in 1968, moved to Kensington High Street in 1969, and the large ex-Derry & Toms store in 1973. From the first days the shops were frequented by the stars and packed by the public wanting to buy the produce. The idea behind it was that you could see something you liked one day, order it that day and be wearing the following day in your local club.

Christine Tarr – “My first Biba dress came from there, beige satin with ‘leg of mutton’ sleeves!!!!”

After this other boutiques started to spread throughout the country, such as Chelsea Girl (from 1965) and in Nottingham, Birdcage, which opened a Ladies department in 1965 and a men’s department in 1966. It was set up by Janet Campbell, ably supported by her friend, Paul Smith, who opened his own shop in 1970. Click here for more information.

Benita Hall – “Chelsea Girl is the shop that springs to mind …. Couldn’t afford Birdcage!”

Lyn Frost – “WOW that brings back memories, Birdcage was my favourite.”

Suzanne Tindle – “I had a purple cord mini skirt from Birdcage. I love it! I had a pink leather coat.”

Stuart Morris – “Used to love the velvet cord skirts or just velvet.”

The Weekend Starts Here!

All mods were tuned in to ‘Ready Steady Go!’ a television programme which not only showed the musical stars and their styles but introduced everyone to a young audience showing off fashion and dance styles. The programme was originally introduced by Dusty Springfield in 1963, but by the time the Dungeon opened, it had been taken over by Cathy McGowan, who seemed to be just like her audience, awe-struck when meeting the stars, while showing off the new fashion trends.

Sandra Ward – “I had my hair like this, it’s a wonder l could see where l was going!”

Margaret Kerslake – “Me too. I used to get my brother to iron it! (long before straighteners were invented eh!)”

Phil Long – “Did you iron your hair using the iron and brown paper?”

Sandra Ward – “I used to put cellotape across my fringe to keep it straight whilst drying it.”

Sharon Wilson – “My dear pal, Eileen, used to iron mine before we went out and yes brown paper and water. Was a bit scary when she got near my neck! Next morning it would be wavy again. She had lovely blond straight hair. Lucky bugger! One night Charlie Foxx said to her I love your bangs. He was referring to her straight fringe lol.”

Peter Wilson – “Do you girls remember when you used to brush that powder in their hair to give it a grey look? It ruined many a lads suit when smooching.”

Terry Swift – “Yes l do, Peter, my girlfriend used it.”

Deanna Fahy – “Yes I remember doing that. Now we try and hide the grey ha ha.”

Lyn Frost – “Yep remember doing that, made a mess of pillows, mum went mad.”

Jeanette Hutchinson – “Yes I do.”

Suzanne Tindle – “Yes I do too.”

Josephine Pate – “I bought a Cathy McGowan mac.”

Two more icons, who would have been seen on ‘Ready Steady Go!’ were Sandie Shaw and Marianne Faithfull.

The ‘In’ Crowd

In 1965, Julie Driscoll joined Steampacket with Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart and the Brian Auger Trinity and soon became a Mod Icon. She dressed differently, eventually sported a pixie-style haircut, used bold makeup, especially around the eyes and could sing quite well. Lots of eye makeup was used to make the eyes look bigger. She became an Icon for both male and female mods and later for the more hippy types.

Jeanette Hutchinson – “Used to paint bottom lashes like she did.”

Suzanne Tindle – “So did I.”

Penny Lambert – “So did I, slanted getting longer at the end of my eye.”

Christine Tarr – “You can keep Twiggy and Cathy, this woman has stood the test of time with her individuality, ethereal presence and a testament to the 60s.”

Kate Cogle – “Brilliant voice too!!”

Deanna Fahy – “Always wore false eyelashes, felt undressed without them. Spent a lot of time doing my makeup, mostly my eyes. I was lucky my bottom lashes were quite long, so mascara used to make them look really long and thick so didn’t need to paint any on. I tended to wear pale lipsticks.”

Suzanne Tindle – “I remember I always used panstick and lots of eye makeup.”

Jeanette Hutchinson – “Lots of eye make-up, Panstick, pale lipstick.”

Twiggy

Leonard Lewis learnt his trade working amongst others for Vidal Sassoon and set up his own salon Leonard of Mayfair. He became hair-stylist to the stars and was responsible for training many of the later hairdressers. He took eight hours to cut, colour create the bob-cut which was responsible for launching the career of Twiggy in 1966 and for her becoming known the very next day as the ‘Face of 66’.

Deanna Fahy –“Lovely.”

Veda Bromwich – “I think most of us were inspired in one way or another.”

Jeanette Hutchinson – “In awe of …”

Josephine Pate – “The hair cut.”

Linda Hatcher – “Back in the day, I was the same build as Twiggy, but the similarity stopped there!”

Penny Lambert – “Me too.”

Christine Tarr – “Didn’t like her then, don’t like her now … Leonard the hairdresser,  Mary Quant, Ossie Clarke, Barbara Hulanicki and Lee Bender were the ones we took our inspiration from.”

Sue Jones – “Idolised her …”

Paul Terry Watson – “Top mod Twiggy, friends of the Small Faces. Should have said ‘the darlings of wapping warf launderette’ as she called them.”

Kath Shaw – “I didn’t look anything like her, made our own clothes, did our own thing, good looking girl though.”

Gritli Maria Beckworth – “Absolutely, she was my all-time idol.”

Diana Tompkin – “Twiggy was amazing, still is.”

John Batchelor – “She was beautiful then and still is today.”

Pamela Addleton – “It was bad enough being nicknamed Olive Oil, as I was so thin and gangly!!! When Twiggy hit the scene, I so wanted to be her. Loved her hair, clothes and everything about her.”

Micky Moore – “Slimmed down to 5 stone to try to look like her and became quite ill. Later looked at Biba and also Julie Driscoll for inspiration that suited me better.”

Christine Tarr – “Julie was my inspiration too Micky, along with Stevie Nicks, Marianne Faithful , Edie Sedgwick.”

Margaret Kerslake – “Yes she was one of many! Alongside Sandie Shaw, Marianne Faithful, Cathy McGowan and Mary Quant. What fashion icons they were!”

Other Icons

On a par with Biba, Ossie Clarke was one of the great fashion designers of the 60s, starting around 1965/6. This is one of his creations modelled by Patti Boyd.

Edie Sedgwick was the ‘It Girl’ of the Sixties, a model and actress, after appearing in several of Andy Warhol’s short films, she became known as the ‘Girl Of The Year’ in 1965.

Another chain of boutiques spread throughout the country after Lee Bender opened Bus Stop in 1968. Other shops girls in Nottingham liked to shop in included – Nova, Mr Freedom, Quorum, Paraphernalia, Madcap, Wardrobe, C&A and Marks & Spencers (“only for knickers!”)

Micky Moore – “I remember Bus Stop: my friends and I always thought that one had to be quite thin to go in there, as the shop assistants were quite thin and looked like models. They had communal changing rooms. Birdcage was probably slightly more sophisticated and for trendy people I would think.”

Jeanette Hutchinson – “I had a pair of Tattershall check trousers, dark green suede coat and beret and vanity case. Remember the cricket jumpers.”

Josephine Pate – “Hipster skirts n trousers with wide belt thru loops n granny shoes for us girls.”

Make Your Own

Some girls liked to make their own clothes: dress patterns were very popular which gave you a design for a basic shape, which could be altered as required. All was that required was a certain level of expertise on a sewing machine.

Deanna Fahy – “Made my own clothes to go to the Mojo, usually the week-end before. I remember having a pillar box red trouser suit with a vent right up the back and 2 big chrome buttons which I designed myself. We liked to look different and not wear the same as everybody else. Butterick /Simplicity patterns were easy to follow and modify to your own tastes. I bought clothes and altered them to suit – cut sleeves off tops or added cuffs and collars. I liked skinny rib tops.”

Linda Hatcher – “I used to go to Falmers buy a dress pattern and some material and pressure my poor mum to have it made ready for the weekend. Also used to go to Birdcage to get those nylon watch straps fitted just to be seen in there.”

Micky Moore – “Of course in those days, I had a Singer sewing machine; I wasn’t very good at sewing, but most of us went to possibly the Central Market where there were rolls of material and we bought patterns from Butterick, Simplicity and McCalls of dresses we’d seen in magazines like Jacky and Petticoat and looked for the nearest likeness and ran up our own dresses. I had a gold, yellowy-gold material with black Mary Quant flowers on it, and ran up a mini-dress with that. They were A-line. I just copied that pattern for different materials. Here pictured is one in white with blue flowers.”

Micky Moore in home-made mini dress
Micky Moore in home-made mini dress

Linda Thompson – “Don’t know about the other ladies but I used to keep my clothes in my wardrobe in the order I had worn them. Didn’t like to be seen in the same dress twice.”

Denim & Leather

Two other materials mods liked to wear were denim and leather.

My washed Levi's
My washed Levi’s

Deanna Fahy – “Levi jeans were also a favourite. I used to sit in the bath with them on, add a bit of bleach so that they would look worn and shrink to fit, then leave them on till they were dry so they were a perfect fit. How mad is that?

“My first leather coat was bottle green 3/4 length; bought it for 1 shilling and sixpence a week from a catalogue from a girl at work. Took ages to pay for it but once it was paid I bought a purple one loved those coats. Also had a pac-a-mac and a blue linen coat with a panel at the back.”

Joesephine Pate & Susan Davis in Skegness
Joesephine Pate & Susan Davis in Skegness

Mick Hatcher – “Navy blue nylon macs.”

Irene Morley – “I wore one of those until I could afford my full length navy leather.”

Lyn Frost – “I remember having one, feeling so cool and trendy….”

Kath Shaw – “Leather were great, never took mine off!”

Linda Hatcher – “I had a long chocolate brown suede coat and purple suede ankle strap shoes.”

Kath Shaw – “Yes, I went suede later on in the 60’s it was all leathers 64/65.”

Susan Foster – “Bought my first full length leather coat at Renore in the square. I was 15 and paid a pound a week from my Saturday job at Pork Farms on Friar Lane. Loved that coat.”

Accessories

Deanna Fahy – “I had my ears pierced in Italy when I was 11 years old; it was a tradition within the family so I wore earrings all the time, another thing that made me feel not quite dressed without them.”

Deanna Fahy – “S-belts they were the thing but I did have a couple of real leather ones.”

Deanna Fahy
Deanna Fahy

Deanna Fahy – “Wore leather shoes, I bought a pair in Italy and wore them till they dropped to bits. Bought shoes from Dolcis, Ravel.”

Micky Moore- “I had some square-toed shoes with a chunky heel and ankle strap. I also had my first fashionable pair from Shoefayre, which were slightly more pointed and they had like a keyhole and then a bow and a short stumpy heel. I think stilettos were going out of fashion and people wore more chunky shoes, almost a Victorian look with the ankle straps. And I think they had granny boots, I don’t know when they came in, they laced up at the front. And then the very tight, PVC, white, knee-length boots that you see. If you watch the old Top of the Pops you see people in those tight boots. Patent was very fashionable. I remember I had a pair of patent leather shoes, which seemed really special, very exotic.”

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Anon – “Dolcis always had great shoes.”

John Boland – “Bought a pair of shoes from Ravel in ’69 after going to the le discotheque. 2 sizes too small but kept wearing them – no wonder I’ve got bunions. Used to love going to Petticoat Lane and getting ripped off by Del Boys – really great days.”

Micky Moore – “In the 60s, fashions were very short-lived. I had a friend who was a few years older than me at the Ice Rink and she wore skinny-rib jumpers and each month her skirts and jumpers would change colour. Fashion was very throw away. Even for a while there were colours which changed every month. One month it was purple, she had all purple, another month she was wearing sort of lime green. That was the fashion. There were paper knickers. They were very similar clothes but each month the fashion for colours seemed to change.”

Fashion 1

This document contains quotes from various Mods who were there, where it was at – they went to the Dungeon in the ’60s.

Suits

Many Mods wore suits, generally with an Italian styling and made of mohair. These suits could not be bought off-the-peg, but had to be made-to-measure by one of the bespoke tailors. Off-the-peg suits tended to be what your father wore, reminiscent of the demob suits worn after the war. Not the right wear for any well-respected Mod! With a made-to-measure suit, the wearer could request how the suit was to look and some of the requests were received with surprise and scorn by the tailors; often accompanied by a comment of “You can’t do that! You cannot be serious!” But generally they got their way.

“A lot of the guys got suits made in light grey, with a really long back vent to the jacket and many buttons at the cuffs!”

Many Mods, although having more money than ever before, could not afford to buy a suit outright, therefore they were bought on the ‘never-never’. Tailors used included Jacksons on Exchange Walk, Burtons at the bottom of Hockley and John Collier.

“I got a job at the local Co-op to be able to buy my first suit. Got it made at March the Tailors on Long Row. I went for a pin stripe cloth, as Avenger John Steed always looked so smart in his! – 6 buttons on the cuffs, ‘waisted and flared’ 13″ centre vent and 16″ trouser bottoms. Cost me 18/0 a week, and when you only earned 2 bob an hour – that was a lot!”

“I insisted my tailors put a 15″ vent in mine, I wasn’t the tallest bloke on earth so it actually looked stupid!”

Pocket flaps were worn larger, and you had to have a ticket pocket!

“A ticket pocket and large flaps – mine were made sloping back not straight down & I also had an internal pocket below the inside pocket to hold a packet of Parkies without spoiling the suit line, 15/17″ deep vents or later a pleat. Fifteen buttons up the sleeves … what a plonker!”

Fifteen buttons were indeed Over the Top!

“Nearly up to the elbow, the Burtons’ salesman thought I was mad!”

Others had two rows of 6 cuff buttons.

“I think I once had 3″ pocket flaps too … how stupid was that!”

“Centre Vent or Side Vents? And how long??”

“Centre vent 14” and loads of cuff buttons!”

“Side Vents up to my armpits. …”

“I had both and the vents were about 13”. Also had six buttons on each cuff, 3 real button holes and 3 fake. But there again I was a tailor.”

“12″ centre vent, hand stitched collar, slanting pockets with 2″ flaps & ticket pocket with flap, 6 cuff buttons, single breasted with 3 buttons with only the top one buttoned.”

“Do you remember the guy in the made to measure department at Jacksons … Always had a tape measure around his neck … When you told him what you wanted, he always used to shake his head and say it won’t look right … I always said just do it … I’m the customer …”

“I worked at Jackson’s. I think you mean the manager. My mates used to come in to be measured and I’d explain to him what they wanted.”

“My mum took me to Jacksons to have a suit made to go to college, it was brown, looked cool, the jacket and beige stripes and cherry blossom Doc Martens. 1968.”

“Side vents. I was a short arse so only 12 inches. Mario’s dad made my suits so whatever I had it was right.”

“Centre Vent, but later I had suits with centre pleats, about 15″, stooooopid number of buttons up the sleeves, I got mine from tailors on the corner of Friar Lane, 2 suits for £30 … both mohair, bargain!!”

“Tonic mohair silver grey.”

“My favourite suit was in tonic mohair in a funny gold colour. With my ginger hair you could see me coming from about a mile.”

“Most people I knew opted for either a centre 13″ vent, or a pair of 12″ers.”

“Remember I had a 4 piece suit, trousers, jacket, waistcoat and full length overcoat with 4” pocket flaps, wide lapels and a centre vent up to my waist. Had to put a buttonhole half way up to stop it flapping about. Oh yes, the jacket had no pockets. Looked good in my eyes …”

“I think I remember that. Was it medium grey with a faint red check?”

“Yes it was a grey check. Good memory!”

“Two button jacket, 12 inch centre vent. Three button jacket 12 inch side vents. Don’t forget inverted pleats. 3 inch pocket flaps and ticket pocket. Hand stitched lapels. Trousers 19 inch knee and 19 inch bottoms with 1 inch turn-ups. Nearly always tonik mohair.”

“Side vents 14 in., 6 buttons on sleeve.”

“13″ centre vent, symmetrical button holes, 6 or more buttons on your cuff. Flaps on pockets. Ticket pockets, fishtail cuff . Bespoke or off the peg, Yes or No.”

“Yes from Burtons, made to measure herringbone.”

“Made to measure at Austin Reeds next to the Bell Inn.”

“I agree 12″ is about right.”

“12″ side vents and 6 buttons on the sleeves. And in my case yellow Tuf boots.”

“Yes. That’s exactly what I wore.”

“Three button Jacket but only the top button fastened … Jacket was also worn with your Levis … Levis from Jeffs. Had to ‘wear them in’ back then.”

“Both side and centre vents 15” sleeve buttons, flared jackets though, ticket pocket a must, made at Jacksons the Tailor’s, grey, blue and Brown, blue crombie.”

“Bought mine off Hockley near Gibbs watch shop later called Roxy Threads.”

“Roxy Robs.”

“I was working for Hepworths in my mod days. Other mods used to drive me crazy: they could never decide on vent size or extra ticket pockets , or how many buttons on the cuffs.”

“Yep it was a mod , mod world back in the old days and we would not have it any other way.”

“I worked Saturdays at His & Hers / Napoleon & Josephine for Joe Gunther in Derby at the time – vents / buttons were always a quandary.”

“And of course ‘waisted’ jackets.”

“A ‘waisted ‘ jacket would be waisted on me now as my waist is a little larger now!”

“Yup 50 years can be cruel to a man !”

“Had my suit made at James Bell by a man with a tape measure and some Taylor’s chalk he thought I was bonkers.”

There would be endless discussions with mates about what was and what wasn’t ‘Mod’. “My four button three quarter length green leather was certainly mod. My Ron’s crew cut was too. My mate had a very shiny burgundy mohair suit – didn’t think that was a mod colour.”

“Same here: ‘standard’ mod colours for suits were Bottle Green & Midnight Blue, as I recall, but I may be wrong. Whilst the ethos of modernists was to ‘do your own thing’, nobody wanted to step outside the unwritten parameters as to what was/wasn’t cool, we (I + close mates) tended to follow what the older Mods (the ‘Faces’) did. I bought 2 mohair suits from Burtons for £30 the pair, one in each of the above colours, but also wore Wranglers with a suit jacket, top button done up. That was my idea of cool.”

Jeans

My first pair of jeans
My first pair of jeans

“I still have my very first pair! My first ever 501’s worn at The Dungeon from summer ’66.”

Denim jeans were an essential part of Mod wear. There was not a lot of choice then, it was generally a choice of Levis or Wranglers.

“Was it not ‘that’ cool then …. wearing Wranglers?”

“It was a question of budget constraints, Wranglers were 4 bob cheaper than Levi’s at the time. I still have Wranglers now, but a slightly larger waist!!”

“Thought it was 5 bob difference:

  • Wranglers – 47/6
  • Lee Riders – 49/6
  • 501’s – 52/6”

“Thanks, that means I’ve got another shilling to spend, another Brown & Mild in Sawyers perhaps!!”

“I wore Wrangler jeans and a Wrangler leather jacket. You either wore Levi’s or Wrangler.”

“I remember getting Levi Sta-Prest trousers from Jeffs at the top of Alfreton Road.”

“Had some Sta-Prest when they came out, me mam bought them for me to save on the ironing!!”

“None of that pre-washed namby-pamby denim – we had to break ours in like a wild mustang.”

“Them seams chafed yer legs if they got wet … or yer put ’em on when still damp!”

“Is it right that lads used to go in the bath with Levi’s on so they shrank to fit better? Can’t imagine why but I’m sure I read it somewhere.”

“Yes that’s true. You used to buy them a size bigger, then shrink them to fit.”

“I thought that this was something most of the girls did, not just the lads.”

“I am only 4ft 9 and in those days only weighed about 6 stone so jeans weren’t an option for me. Couldn’t get a decent fit even from Jeff’s! But have to admit I got a lot from C and A kids department but as I worked there at least I got staff discount.”

“We had 1/2″ turn-ups on Levi’s.”

“Sometimes worn with a matching Levis jacket and desert or Fell boots, or, the suit jacket, as someone else said, with just the top button fastened, and smart brown brogues, bought from Wakefields!”

 “Remember just wearing the suit jackets with faded Levi’s with 1/2″ turn ups later, thought it looked more cool than a suit.”

“What waist size are you now? Might have an original pair to flog that might fit you.”

“I’ve been a size 32″ for 50 years mate I’ve got a couple pairs going cheap also.”

“I still have my Cowhide Levi Jacket … Light brown with leather collar.”

Casual Smart

“Didn’t we wear hipsters?”

“Yes. Bought my first pair from Phillip Arnold, Hockley.”

“I had window pane checked hipster trousers with two front patch pockets.”

“From Henry’s?”

“Yes, all of a sudden Mod was hipsters & checks.”

“Had a pair of ‘Lord John’ (supposedly of Carnaby Street) black and white check hipsters from Jeffs; my mum paid for them as I was only 13, they were actually pre-Dungeon days, just.”

“Yes, it was pre-Dungeon, my first pair were light brown & had a wide white leather belt – bought from a catalogue.”

“I bought a pair of check hipsters on one of my trips to Carnaby Street – I don’t know which shop they were bought in.”

“Deck chair striped blazer and white hipsters from a shop at the top of Pelham Street. Also Flittermans on Hockley sold suede Levi jackets: Mrs Flitterman would come out and drag you in if she saw you looking in the window. Tweedy Norfolk jackets and Paisley shirts was another good combo. Also tab collars and a knitted tie. Every month a new trend.

Baracuta ‘Harrington’ jackets. Harrington was a character in Peyton Place, telly soap in the 60’s. Ben Sherman also made a cheaper version. Good scooter wear with Levi cords and desert boots.”

“Fashion seemed to change every few weeks, we mostly went to Jeffs who had most influence over what the next fad was to be, jeans & suit jackets with either Polo shirts or crew neck sweaters came post the ‘suits’ craze, easier to maintain …”

“Stay press trousers from Carnaby St (Hockley).”

“My claim to fame was I won a competition at the Palais and got a £20 voucher to spend at Jeffs, Alfreton Road. Bought myself a checked shirt with a white collar.”

“Beauty contest?”

“Yes I remember what I wore white jeans denim shirt and a reefer jacket. The biz then.”

“I had a Reefer Jacket, brass buttons with anchors on ’em, bought from Wakefield Army & Navy … Dogs Bo**ocks!!”

Shoes

“Perhaps a bit odd, but you could buy the then in-fashion brogues at Wakefields the camping-type place opposite where M&S is now. You could also get ‘Fell boots’ there too; they were like a heavier version of the still popular Desert boots.”

“You’re spot on, I recall Wakefields being on the corner of Wheeler Gate/Houndsgate. Also one on Hockley, got a Reefer Jacket from there in 1965, sold ex-forces stuff like Haversacks we bought as schoolbags in early 60’s … couldn’t always afford Jeffs. By the way, I still wear light tan brogues & Chelsea boots, both elastic & zip styles.”

“We had to improvise. I remember wanting Cuban-heel shoes and not being able to buy them. Got a cobbler to build up the heels on some Chelsea boots not realising that the sole on Cuban heels was made to touch the ground whereas my feet stuck straight out about an inch or two off the floor!”

“My Desert boots came from Griffin and Spalding.”

“Bowling shoes, swapped at the Bowling Alley for a tatty old pair of your own shoes … only problem was they weren’t waterproof!!”

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Coats

Transparent pac-a-macs were popular for the girls as what they were wearing under the mac could be seen. Many in the early days also wore navy blue nylon macs.

“I wore one of those until I could afford my full length navy leather.”

“I remember having one, feeling so cool and trendy….”

Later it seemed, everyone had to be seen wearing a long leather coat.

“Still got my two long leather coats and they still fit!!”

“And …. I still have my zip front orange Mary Quant coat but it is in the loft …”

“Leather were great, never took mine off!”

“I had a long chocolate brown suede coat and purple suede ankle strap shoes.”

“Yes, I went suede later on in the 60’s – it was all leathers 64/65.”

The ultimate Mod wear to protect the suit when riding on a scooter was obviously the parka, sometimes worn by those who did not even own a scooter.