Here are some pictures from the Meet-ups of ex-Dungeoneers which take place every month somewhere in Nottingham. February 18th 2018 was the 50th Anniversary of the last known event advertised at the Club – on Sunday February 18th 1968 an all-day session was held featuring The Mint. This Meet-up was a celebration of that event and a band was quickly formed from ex-Dungeon members to perform. This band was known as ‘Dungeon Daze’ who played a lively set to a very enthusiastic and very large audience (the place was heaving!)
The Band – ‘Dungeon Daze’
Mick Holland, Mel Munks, Maurice Moore
Mick Holland, Mel Munks
Mel Munks, Maurice Moore
Alan, Mick Holland, Mel Munks
Ray Hopkinson, Alan, Mick Holland
Maurice Moore on slide guitar
Mick Holland, Mel Munks
Maurice Moore on harmonica
Ray Hopkinson, Alan
Ray Hopkinson, Alan
Mick Holland, Mel Munks
Mick Holland, Mel Munks
Mick Holland, Mel Munks, Maurice Moore
Mick Holland, Maurice Moore
Mick Holland, Mel Munks, Maurice Moore
Mick Holland, Mel Munks
Matthew Norrish, Ray Hopkinson, Mick Holland, Maurice Moore
“Easter Monday, 1966 … I was let in as a guest. I didn’t know what to expect. The decor was Mod op art/Mary Quant style, and very dark, it was before the multi million pound lighting thing had come about, and the sound … it was to me totally awesome! I’d never heard bass like that before, and it was soooo loud! but, the music they were playing was to change my taste from the regular pop served up on Radios Caroline and London, to what is still my favourite today!”
It would be nice to be able to describe the decor of the Dungeon, but this does not seem possible because of people’s lack of or addled memories. Photos have recently come to light which show some things and I realise that over the 4 years the club was open the decor probably changed a few times. There has been talk of saxophones, musical notes, trains painted on the walls – we have proof on one photo of a skeleton on the wall. The fishing net hanging from the ceiling holding stuff can be seen on a picture of the Action. Long John Baldry seems to be standing on a stage surrounded by cases of stuffed birds, whereas Mickey Finn is in front of a clock and pictures. Both of these could have been in the early days. Can anyone throw any light on any of this?
On the Way In
Jan Kononowicz – “Nobody’s mentioned the front doors. If memory is working, I thought they were a dirty green. Half door was open so you had to go in sideways.”
Upstairs was where everyone relaxed, chatted, had a coffee or coke, maybe a pie. A small square stage in the the middle was surrounded by seating in alcoves or booths, the coffee bar and cloakroom, the jukebox. The stage was generally used as seating rather than for dancing.
Dorothy Derrick Porter – “My husband’s brothers built the booths as well as the stage.”
I do not remember how the upstairs area was decorated, probably the same as downstairs, however there was lighting, so it was not as dark. There were structures around/in the coffee bar and cloakroom.
John Wood – “Sure the walls were dark blue.”
Craig Strong – “Black surely? Black with white ‘op art’ things.”
Ann Carlton – “Yes very dark blue.”
Peter Wilson – “They had hand prints on the wall and fishing nets and floats hanging from the ceiling. Also I think there was an umbrella open suspended from the ceiling … Don’t know how I’ve thought this up …”
Seamus Ferris – “Are you mentally ill? Who in their right mind was looking at the walls? After three or four pints at the Royal Children … I was just looking at the girls. I can’t remember any conversations about the decor. Would the blue blood boys stand up and be counted.”
Eddy Barry – “I clearly remember the walls. There were also doors, and steps. A ceiling too I think. Plus a stage.”
Terry Swift – “Eddy Barry, l remember the same as you Eddy and not much else, Seamus got it just right.”
Ann Carlton – “Seamus Ferris, the best dancer. Very well dressed. That was worth looking at lol x.”
Lyndey Preedy – “Yes, Ann Carlton, you’re spot on but who would be be looking at the decor … certainly not me … when there were lads like Seamus Ferris dancing.”
Ann Carlton – “I know, Jenny Slack, and I worked in the clock room cus the dressing room was in there. Lol x.”
On pictures we have of Rob Storme and the Whispers, the walls seem to be painted white or at least a light colour and there appears to be nothing attached to the walls, just the sign saying ‘Dungeon Club’. Whether these photographs were taken early or later in the club’s lifetime is unknown.
Mick Hatcher – “Can anybody else remember the white pictures painted on the black walls as you went down the stairs at the Dungeon? I can remember a picture of a saxophone but that’s about all.”
Craig Strong – “I remember lots of black and white. Now, black and white what I can’t remember!”
Paul Thorpe – “Maurice, still not sure about the skeleton pic being in the Bung, unless it was upstairs somewhere, the door on LHS of the picture doesn’t seem right somehow, looks like a swing door to a kitchen??”
Mick Hatcher – “I agree with you Paul.”
Paul Thorpe – “Perhaps it was a ‘work in progress’ as it appears to be unfinished, and whoever was painting it changed their mind and painted it over?”
Peter Wilson – “Who remembers the train engine painted on the wall at the bottom of the stairs to the basement facing you before you turned left into the dance floor and all those hand prints on the walls also the fishing nets and glass floats hanging from the ceiling …”
Jeanette Hutchinson – “Can’t remember one.”
Craig Strong – “I think Jan queried this a few years ago. I couldn’t remember it then, and I sure as heck don’t remember it now!”
Susan Kononowicz – “Yes Jan did but only a couple of people remembered. The rest must have been on strong smarties?? Jan said that not me.”
Mick Hatcher – “I remember a saxophone and some music notes on the right hand wall going down the stairs, but can’t remember anything from last week.”
Stuart Morris – “If there was any decoration on the walls, I’ve forgotten it. All I remember is the fact that they were painted in black gloss paint & the condensation made rivulets down to the floor.”
Mick Parker, the owner, says the walls were painted Midnight Blue. This was confirmed by Lorna Hickton who said the staff all helped to paint them. Art students were brought in to add embellishments in return for drinks and food.
A variety of shapes, patterns and pictures covered the walls, generally painted white. There were:
circles and squares on the walls and pillars (as shown in pictures 1 & 3 below);
also positioned on the shelf in picture 1 there was a speaker;
stripes or blocks into the alcoves (picture 2 below);
white stripes rotating around pillars (picture 3 below);
picture 3 also shows the positioning of these in the club;
there were skeletons, tombstones, crosses, bats etc painted on the walls (see pictures above).
You will notice that the ceiling in places appears to consist of rows of planks of wood positioned upright like joists.
I recall a couple of posters hanging on the walls on or near the top of the stairs leading down to the basement: one advertised John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers featuring Eric ‘Slowhand’ Clapton; the other featured the Farinas from Leicester, who later became Family, resplendently dressed in their 1920s gangster suits.
Patrick Smith – “There was an upstairs area for socialising and downstairs the bands played. The walls were all black with ghosts and skeletons painted on them to create the dungeon atmosphere.
“One night when the Who played there, it was particularly memorable. Condensation was dripping off the walls as the crowd got into a sweat because they were so good.
“Keith Moon was drumming away – he even came off the drums and began tapping his way across the floor, up the walls, against the fire extinguishers, never missing a beat.
Around the stage were some stuffed animals in glass cases and when he started on those, he smashed two or three, much to Mick Parker’s annoyance.”
Gary Maxton – “There was definitely a large stuffed fish in a case on the stage wall, I remember that because Little Stevie Wonder banged his head on it when he threw it back whilst singing.”
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.”
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) …”
Malcolm Fox – “Ha ha, I can remember fishing nets dangling in some parts – within the alcoves? I seem to remember an early attempt to paint the walls with designs in luminous paint. But the condensation (sweat) running down the walls overcame any attempts at artwork. God I used to live down there from opening up till the Beachcomber opened really plus I was involved with more frequent gigs with ‘Lost’. Marvellous days.”
Various stuffed birds, animals and fish in cases adorned the walls at the back of the stage as if it was an offshoot of the Natural History Museum at Wollaton Hall; plus clocks, pictures, rafia-covered wine bottles, brass accessories, all sorts of bric-a-brac. Apparently at some time, Mick Parker sold an animal’s head which hung on the wall to Pete Stringfellow. Fishing nets containing who knows what and floats hung from the ceiling.
Looking at the photographs we have now, I have often wondered why there was a sign at the back of the stage with the words ‘To Gent’s Toilets Only’, especially as the toilets were at the opposite side of the room to the stage. The sign was not there on the pictures of the Who playing but was on others, therefore, taking the words of Patrick Smith above, it seems likely that Keith Moon broke the glass on the case with birds in at the back of the stage and this sign was used in front of it for protection either for the contents of the case or for the performers.
As pointed out earlier, most visitors probably did not notice the decor: they were more interested in the music, dancing and the other people. Maybe it is true to say the real ‘decorations’ were provided by the trendy Mods.
With special thanks to all those who have provided photographs inside the club –
Amy Spence, Jenny Slack, Dorothy Porter, Terry Adcock, Kate Holmes, Mick Maltby, Robert Garland, Bryan Bennion, Lynn Allen, Lorna Hickton.
Nottingham was one of the in-places: a must to visit. There were allegedly two girls to every boy. People came from afar to sample the nightlife and entertainment, to dance in the clubs. Of course this was all after they had finished shopping in the multitude of trendy shops.
These are some comments received from people who visited the Dungeon Club back in the 60s and wish to share some of their memories. These are the Peterborough Mods.
I was pointed in the direction of the Dungeon Mods site by a friend who is on the Northern Soul scene.
Got to say what a memory jerker!
Well done to all of those who put in the work. Must have been a Labour of love!
Many of the Dungeon regulars will I hope recall the Peterborough Mods making the journey to Nott’s on a regular basis.
I did 3 or 4 initial trips on my Vespa Sportique – got to say it was a long journey home – particularly the time it rained all the way!
Thankfully a car replaced the scoot in 66 which helped with the travel. We also went to the Boat Clubs, Britannia etc and The Beachcomber as well as Leicester’s Burlesque and Nite Owl plus of course Sheffield Mojo.
When you live in what was then a pretty quiet City you had to ‘Get Around’.
In September 66 I got into running Clubs and DJ-ing myself somewhat curtailing my visits, and business then subsequently kind of took over.
The Dungeon stays in my memory as the best club of the day. Cellars always have the perfect atmosphere; but the real essence of The Dungeon is that it was the Ace MOD venue.
To me it was an inspiration for the discotheques and clubs I that I subsequently ran, and my lifelong love of the music we heard there and the other scenes of that very special era. (Love the playlist on the site BTW perfectly captures the soundtrack).
Over the years Nottingham has always been a destination – getting the gear from Birdcage, Paul Smith etc, and when there always I think back to my early teen explorations.
Can I say Hi to all the FACES – please do remember The Peterborough Mods when you have your next hook up!
Anyone know of ‘Ginger’??
Wow Steve what a find and the memories came flooding back of all of those artists we saw back then and I’ve only just started looking at your post.
In 1964 /65 I worked in Essex during the week and came back to Peterborough on the Friday afternoon usually then to go to Stamford in the evening. On Saturday we caught the train to Nottingham Victoria via Grantham and first stop on arrival was Woolworth’s Cafe to get something to eat and drink. It was then on to The Trip to Jerusalem for a beer or two and finally to The Dungeon Club.
Later on I bought a Lambretta and drove to Nottingham and subsequently either borrowed Dad’s car to go in and then many old motors after that.
Nottingham always had the reputation of having 6 girls to every boy as you know so it was always a popular destination for us Peterborough lads and over the years I met many but not all from Nottingham. Some from Leicester, Melton Mowbray and Grantham who all flocked to The Dungeon back then. I dated one young lady whose Dad was the Station Master at Trent Station.
We also got very friendly with the guys from Nottingham and one guy in particular by the name of John Smith who was known as “Ginger”. His Mum owned a B & B and we stayed there and watched the first half of the World Cup Final in ’66 on a black and white pay TV that only took 6d’s. We then had to depart for the Mojo in Sheffield and listened to the rest of the match on the car radio going up the M1.
In the upstairs room at the Dungeon there was large cast-iron radiator that has an air bleed valve that when opened spurted out water. When we all stood around in the room, if anybody got too near the radiator, Graham Raywood opened the valve and water spurted all down your trousers without you knowing it. I recall that one night Roger Froude (RIP) got caught out and didn’t realise until he was up dancing and when the strobe light came on it looked as if he had wet himself much to the amusement of everybody around him including the girls from Melton who we were dancing with.
Great times and a few cold nights on Nottingham Station when we missed the last train.
Replying to Mick Bull
Thanks Mick remember it well and married the girl from Melton who went with me to many all-nighters eg Mojo, Twisted Wheel, Clouds, Blue Grotto and many more.
Replying to Mick Bull
Great memories Mick Bull. I did a few trips on my Vespa but gave up after a home journey when it rained cats and dogs all the way back to Peterborough. Thankfully I got a Car soon after so travel was resumed! I will pass on your memories. Be interesting if Ginger is known to the Notts gang.
Where did you go in Peterborough? Were there similar clubs?
Clubs in Peterborough in the early to mid-60’s were in short supply – that’s why traditionally the Peterborough in crowd were great travellers to find the action!
(Nothing changes – just dropped off my step daughter at the station to catch a train to Nottingham to go clubbing with friends!)
Back then it wasn’t just Nottingham but as I mentioned before of course also London for the Marquee, La Discotheque, The Flamingo etc, Leicester Burlesque and The Nite Owl, and Sheffield’s Mojo, and even The Wheel, in Manchester for the really hardy.
We had the Corn Exchange which staged the usual early 60’s pop acts – Four Pennies, Gene Vincent, Hollies, Eden Kane, Marty Wilde etc etc, but then circa 1964 The Palais was opened and we had a regular supply of great names – Kinks, The Who, Nashville Teens, The Zombies, Small Faces, Yardbirds etc, but mixed with pop of The Applejacks, The Honeycombs and other dross. Nothing like a club atmo though.
Our affection for The Gliderdrome in Boston was well established and along with Grantham Drill Hall, that was a regular Saturday trip – joining the mods (and other less committed teens) from a number of towns and villages in the area.
In circa mid 65 a little top room disco opened at the Crown Pub which was the start of the soul scene in The Boro, and then in Sept 66 I got into promoting and launched The Souldiscotek above The Falcon Pub. Tracks played at both venues replicating the stuff you are showing as The Dungeon playlist – Harlem Shuffle, Cool Jerk, Midnight Hour, Open The Door to Your Heart, Billy’s Bag, Sock it to em JB Working in a Coal Mine, etc etc, plus of course the Motown favourites – Going to a Go Go, Needle in a Haystack, Four Tops, Isley Brothers, Supremes – you know the rest!
I am short of photos personally but will ask the question from the Facebook group and get back to you.
Used by permission of the Peterborough Mods – Steve Allen, Mick Bull, Hadrian Woollard.
The Dungeon Club was raided by the police during an all-nighter on Sunday March 12th 1967 at 1.45 a.m. The club had been losing some of its clientele prior to this and so was redecorated and relaunched as ‘The New Dungeon’. Big Opening Night on the previous Friday was claimed to be ‘full of surprises’ and the all-night session, featuring the Original Drifters, attracted people from all around. The police reckoned there were 710 in there, so it would have been very packed and very friendly. It was certainly ‘full of surprises’.
The events of the night and views of some of the people who attended are covered elsewhere. The next all-nighter was held at the club three weeks later on Saturday April 1st and this was advertised as the ‘end of an era’ and ‘the last of our all-nighters’ – it featured Ben E. King and the Senate.
The court case from the raid occurred five months later on Wednesday August 9, 1967. This concerned the use of the club. Although there had been drugs everywhere in the club – the floor was covered with discarded pills – I am not aware if many (or indeed any) people were arrested or charged with possession.
Here are two press cuttings about the case – I have tried to keep them as they appeared in the papers, including the mistakes made.
Evening Post & News, Nottingham, Wednesday, August 9, 1967
Teenagers Fainted in Club ‘Jam’
The dance visited by a double-decker bus load of police officers at Nottingham’s New Dungeon Club was more like a cup-tie, said Mr W.D. Ritchie, prosecuting, at Nottingham Guildhall today.
Teenagers fainted because of “deplorable ventilation,” it was said, and police found there were 710 young people there when they visited the club in the early hours of Sunday, March 12. The club is licensed for 400 added Me Ritchie.
Michael William Parker (28) of Radford-road Nottingham, denied keeping the New Dungeon Club, Stanford-street, open for such purpose other than on the days and between the hours stated in the licence – namely 1.45 a.m. on Sunday March 12.
He also denied using the premises for public music – a breach of the licence – and allowing more than 400 persons in the premises.
He was fined a total of £40 and ordered to pay £10 towards the cost of the prosecution.
The police had gone with a warrant to search for dangerous drugs, and out of 39 people interviewed 12 were not members, said Mr Ritchie.
He went on: “There was certainly no room to dance, and police had difficulty in getting into the hall.
“The 114 police officers set up a mobile police station outside and used a double decker bus.”
He added: “Some of the youngsters appeared to be overcome by the lack of fresh air. The youngsters were listening to music being relayed from loudspeakers.”
Chief Inspector John Meldrum told the court that ventilation there was “deplorable” and a number of the youngsters fainted and had to be taken outside. There were 1,300 to 350 on the ground floor.
Music, relayed over amplifiers, sounded as if it were coming from downstairs in the basement. Youngsters were dancing and standing about. “It was terribly congested and difficult to get through.
“The basement room was worse than the ground floor, with 400 to 450 there, and there was hardly room for the youngsters to dance,” said the chief inspector.
He added that police interviewed 710 people, of whom 79 were under 17.
Defending, Mr Michael Pearse said that Mr Parker had not got a licence. The prosecution had not proved that beyond reasonable doubt, and his client was entitled to the benefit of that doubt.
Mr Pearce said that a witness from the magistrates’ clerks office had said in evidence that there could be a slip-up in the procedure as to renewal. “Mr Parker remembers distinctly that he did not renew it. There could have been a slip-up in the procedure,” he contended.
Court chairman Mr Eric Gower told Mr Parker: “We are deeply concerned at the completely irresponsible fashion in which these premises appear to have been used. There was a complete disregard for the safety and welfare of the young people who were resorting to your premises.
“It is sheer good luck that you are not charged with very much more serious offences which could easily have arisen as a result of fire and panic, to which young people readily respond.”
Thursday August 10, 1967
710 People in a Two-Room Jam Session
The music was pretty hot at the all-night beat club. And so was the atmosphere. For 710 youngsters were packed into two rooms.
“It was more like a cup-tie than a dance,” a court was told yesterday.
The name of the club: The New Dungeon.
Chief Inspector John Meldrum told the court, at Nottingham, that 114 policemen and policewomen raided the club at 1.45 on a Sunday morning, with a warrant to search for drugs.
He added that about 300 to 350 of the youngsters were in a ground-floor room measuring 65ft. by 30ft. The others were in the basement.
“The ventilation was deplorable and a few of the children were fainting,” said the inspector.
The police used a double-decker bus and cars to get them to the club in Stamford-street in Nottingham. “It was like a military operation,” said Mr David Ritchie, prosecuting.
The club owner, 28-year-old Michael Parker, of Radford-road, Nottingham was fined £20 for allowing in more that the permitted number of 400, and another £20 for opening the club out of permitted hours.
He was ordered to pay £10 costs.
The chairman of the magistrates, Mr Earnest Gower, told him: “You have shown a complete disregard for the safety and welfare of these young people.”
Mr Gower calculated that the youngsters at the club had only 2½ft. square each to move in.
Printed with permission from the Nottingham Evening Post and News.
Thanks to Eddy Barry and Lynn Allen for finding the articles.