Monday, December 29, 2008

Mods in South London

Where were the South East London mod clubs?

A friend (Mick H.) has told me that he used to go El Partido club in Lewisham (8-10 Lee High Road) in the 1960s, a place he remembers being frequented mainly by young Jamaicans as well as some local white mods. King Ossie Sound played out there regularly. Other guests included Jimmy Cliff and the Duke Reid Sound System from Jamaica (both in 1966) and Bo Diddley in 1965.

George Austin recalls at Ska2Soul: 'music was a mix of Ska, Blue Beat and American Soul/Motown. The Club was on two floors, it had a small stage and very low ceilings just the place for live acts. Usually with two sound systems, one on each floor. Upstairs Duke Reid played with his home made sound system tucked away in a small corner, it was a large box, stood about chest height, which housed the amp with a single record deck on top. It had a selection of small lights on the front. The sound was turned down at the end of each record as it was removed and replaced with another disc, a large record box stocked with the latest sounds stood by the side, it's lid open displaying the contents. Speakers stacked up to the ceiling in each open room, pumping out the sound, using about 200 watts. The smell of hash in the air people dancing everywhere'.



There was also the Savoy Rooms in Catford (75 Rushey Green), originally a 1950s ballroom and known in the 1960s as the Witchdoctor. In the 70s it was renamed Mr Smiths, and I've also seen it referred to as the Black Cat - a later incarnation? The Rolling Stones, The Who (April 1966) and Desmond Dekker (1969) all played there. There is a delightful poem called The Savoy Rooms by Marie Marshall, in which she recalls being 'thirteen trying for sixteen in the court of the mohair miniskirt'. In March 1966, a man was shot dead in the club in a gangland battle involving members of the Richardson gang (including Frankie Fraser)

I've also seen mention of the Glenlyn ballroom in Forest Hill (15 Perry Vale - later Crystals Snooker Club) - the Kinks, Stones, Byrds and The Who all played there too.

Interested if anyone's got any memories of these or other places - happy to host any scanned photos, flyers or newspaper clippings people may have lying around too.

See related posts:

The Who in South London
The Mistrale Club in Beckenham - 1960s/1970s
The Green Man in Blackheath - 1960s jazz, r'n'b and Manfred Mann
The Fellowship Inn in Bellingham
Soul City record shop in Deptford

55 comments:

John Eden said...

Did you see the flyers section on that site? Well worth a look: http://www.georgwa.demon.co.uk/60flyers.htm

Catgirls said...

I remember the "Witchdoctor' night club in Catford well. Sunday nights were a big thing there. We'd take hours getting ready. Steve Maxted the resident DJ did all sorts of wierd things like sticking pins into his skin and eating raw eggs! The music was great and we'd dance all night to Mo town etc and be really tired at school the next day. Does anyone else remember going there?

Anonymous said...

The mid sixties - The Glenlyn Ballroom (more a dive than a ballroom!) in Forest Hill was the place for Mods to go at the weekend. All the sixties bands played there. It was usually packed out (Not much health and safety in those days.) It was like dancing around in your darkened front room - you could touch the bands they were so close and the 'flourescent' lights illuminated anything white so we make sure that we wore our Mary Quant white collars and cuff dresses (the girls). There were purple hearts available but few took any, we just enjoyed those halcyon days and if we were lucky we might get a lift home on the back of a scooter of a mod boy.

Anonymous said...

Also the Bromley Court Hotel in Bromley Kent was a hot spot for sixties bands. The Animals, Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames.
Fond memories!

Yr Heartout said...

Further out there was the Black Prince hotel at Bexley which was very much on the live r&b circuit. There's a photo in one of the Kent soul CDs of Solomon Burke signing autographs there. And Dave Godin came from Bexleyheath where he started his Tamla Motown Appreciation Society.

Transpontine said...

Thanks for the memories, keep 'em coming. If anyone got photos/tickets/flyers from these places we'd love to put them up.

Dave Godin also a record shop in Deptford, see Soul Ciyt

legend said...

I worked at the Glenlyn Ballroom 1963-4. Very nice for dancing drinking and bingo. Jimmy Tippett was chief of security. Stones, Who, Cilla Black etc

ex-blocker said...

I used to go to the El Partido in the mid 60's and also The Penthouse in Bromley, later called Peyton Place. I went to the Witchdoctor a couple of times on Sundays but didn't feel welcome there, coming from Sidcup. The Black Prince was a great place to go Sunday evenings as a 'come-down' venue

peter said...

My brother John used to own the El Partido, and I worked on the door. My mate from Jamaica, Earl was the resident DJ and a real good mover on the dance floor. Mickey, a talented artist designed the place. I remember in those days it was R and B, purple hearts and coke lol. We were all mods, suede jackets and Lambrettas. Good fun days and I will never forget those good times at the El Partido.

Transpontine said...

Thanks Peter, that's priceless. Can you remember any of the tunes they used to play there?

markfor said...

Use to go to Bromley Court Hotel 1967? on my scooter with chrome side panels Saw Cream J Mayall/P Green
When I got Beano Bluesbreakers LP I thought I was in heaven!
Also used to go to club in Bellingham/Catford
Saw Fleetwood Mac and they had ska music Can anyone tell me what it was called? I remember flourescent lights

markfor said...

Also went to Black Prince to see Ten Years After (Alvin Lee)
Remember driving there once through one foot of flood water!!

Transpontine said...

Good to hear from you Markfor. Not sure about the last place you mentioned - could it have been the Mistrale club in Beckenham Junction?

markfor said...

No not Mistrale club
I think it was in Bellingham (near Catford) Used to play Ska music and we wore tonic suits
Lights were ultra violet so any white clothing would glow in the dark!

Anonymous said...

The Brockley boys were always at the Glenlyn , brothers Micky ,George and Peter Morgan, John Pinder, Tom GEORGE . Alan and Peter Randall , The Mods of the day .The Daily Mirror ran an exclusive and Peter Randall was top ,front page 175 Tv Lambretta owner photographed in news article of the Mods and Rockers.Peter died in 1985.Also Alan Aspinal and many others.What memories they are.

Anonymous said...

I remember The Stones at the Glenlyne, dirty rollneck tag shirts . I shot the Sheriff was one of the songs at the time and so was ," Oh Carolina." There was a little coffee bar around the corner called "The Alpine I Think.??. Very popular 1963/4

Anonymous said...

Markfor ? was it the Tigers head.?

thisisengland said...

When I came to Brockley in the '70s, Desmond Dekker lived in Harefield Road, a house with a couple of knackered Land Rovers in the front garden. In todays Brockley that would make him a social pariah.

The man from B.r.u.s.s.e.l.s. said...

feel free to join the Original Modernists 1959 - 1966 FB page ... loads of stories https://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_128414570531663

Anonymous said...

mario said...
The pub on the bellingham estate catford was the fellowship arms. i remember the flourescent lights that made everything white stand out ,ultra violet lights thats what they were. Many a good time there , always frequenting the king alfred and the tigers head. Great venues all within a stones through.

dollybird said...

Oh My God! I've just googled Glenlyn, Forest Hill and came upon this forum. What memories it brings back! I used to live there and my mate and I used to stand outside the Glenlyn when the big bands were on as we were only 13 and couldn't get in at the time but I remember Cilla Black, The Kinks, The Who playing there. I also used to go up to Soho to the Marquee and saw great acts (at lunchtime would you believe!) like Small Faces, The Animals and Stevie Wonder. At 14-15 we used to go to the Penthouse/Peyton Place in Bromley and the Saturday lunchtime sessions in Tiles in Tottenham Court Road. They only served coke in those days! As we got to 16-18 (late '60s) we frequented the Apples & Pears in Bermondsey (first of the disco pubs), The Tigers Head (saw Marmalade there), The Fellowship Inn, Bromley Court Hotel (Geno Washington, Georgie Fame), The Mistrale. We also used to frequent The Alpine coffee bar in Forest Hill. Our school was in Catford so it was opposite the Witchdoctor / Mr Smiths - lots of violent goings on there! I also remember a dance competition on Ready Steady Go where a black guy (great dancer) won from El Partido. Keep bringing on the great memories everyone.

Transpontine said...

Another 1960s place I mentioned here before was The Green Man on Blackheath Hill, where Manfred Mann played early gigs (more about it here.

Transpontine said...

Would love to know more about the guy from El Partido dancing on Ready Steady Go. There might even be some film of it out there somewhere. I did come across this great clip from the programme of people dancing to 'Bread and butter' by The Newbeats in 1963: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRThvmg4FJE

Deptford Pudding said...

I saw Long John Baldry with Rod Stewart singing at the Bromley Court Hotel, the main mod dance hall I remember (I was a mod!) was The Orchid in Purley, now a gym I think.

Anonymous said...

Nobody has mentioned the Ram Jam Club in Brixton.
The Animals played there on the opening night and Geno Washington and the Ram jam Band were the resident band there.
This was the most atmospheric place i can remember.
Based on 2 flors above the gas showroom at 390 Brixton Road.
First floor was the stage, dancing and a bar. The next flor was a disco with another bar.

Transpontine said...

Cheers Bob. You could scan the ticket, or take a photo, and email it to me as an attachment and I will then post it (transpontine@btinternet.com) Neil

Bob Farrow said...

The Pub in Bellingham with the UV lighting was the Fellowship Inn next to Bellingham Station. I used to work there helping out the guy who ran the Disco there. He was John Hoppy.- he also ran the Surrey Rooms by the Oval, The Falcon in Falconwood too. This was an evening job for me as I was at school still. This job (for me) was the bees knees. Good money (30 bob a night), free beer, tons of girls and great music - primarily Motown. I had to open up in the evening and my first job was to get the UV Flourescent lights working. When they were first turned on they would just flicker. The trick was to wipe them with a wet mop whilst turned on - life on the edge eh?

I'm going to try and upload a freebie photo of a ticket to the disco - I have one left. I used to stand outside S E London stations giving these out during the evening rush hour.

Great Days

Transpontine said...

Just to let people know I have now done a separate post all about The Mistrale club in Beckenham

Transpontine said...

Have posted in more detail on The Fellowship Inn here

Robert Blackmore said...

It's been great to look at all your posts. I lived in New Cross and used to frequent the El Partido in Lewisham and the Savoy in Catford all the time. Dancing to black Rhythm and Blues and Ska blocked on something to keep me up all night.

I met up with Dave Godin around 1964 and with David Nathan ran Soul City Records on Deptford High Street and Monmouth Street in the West End.

Dave had the most phenomenal collection of R&B singles. He turned me on to hundreds of songs.

Great to read about these times from you all.

Robert Blackmore

Transpontine said...

Good to hear from you Robert. I actually posted a picture of Deptford Soul City here:
.

Any old SE London tales you've got always welcome here.

Patricia C. said...

I worked at the Glenlyn in the days when it was used for Bingo, then in the nights when it was a dance hall. When the Rolling Stones played, they let everyone in, opening the back doors as the crowds became too much, so they spilled out and had to come back to the front doors again. Happy days, with Jimmy Tippett, a guy called Jack and others whose names are now a distant memory.

Anonymous said...

Often went to all of those venues. One of the big favourites at the Savoy was Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers.

Anyone remember a club in a crypt at Charing Cross - called Coffee Annes or something?

Max said...

Used to frequent the Glenlyn from 1963. The Detours (later The Who) were the resident Monday night band before they changed name and made it big at the Marquee club in Wardour street.
Girls dancing around their handbags; ankle-swinging sand jeans dyed different colours two or three times a week.Mum was a busy lady!
Saw the Stones and The Kinks there amongst others.
The Apples and Pears in Bermondsey was another haunt as was Witchdoctor / Mr Smiths at Catford where three of us got picked by Cathy McGowan to be dancers on RSG. My RSG resident dancer's badge was my proudest possession :-)

Vic Boyd said...

The Glenlyn Ballroom was a hangout for a little while, I worked at T R Roberts (Builders) Ltd. in Devonshire Road next door to Dickie Dears! A bunch of us went to the Glenlyn to see The Rolling Stones. I was told there were 900 people in there that night. I remember having to buy 3 rounds at a time because of the queue at the Bar! Nearly sure Sounds Incorporated played there and Cilla Black too Later, Fish & chips at the Chippie opposite the Ballroom on the corner of Perry Rise. This forum brought back Happy memories! Thanks Guys

Maggot said...

What was the name of the gig venue in Bellingham in the 80s? I think it was above a pub and remember seeing Hank Wangford there.

Clive Mirams said...

wow!! a few memories here. I lived in Devonshire Road during the sixties and went to almost all of the clubs mentioned in this forum. Even worked at the Alpine Coffee bar, sure would like to know who dollybird is. Regarding the club at Charing Cross, it was in the crypt of St Martins and the Coffee Ann was a little coffee bar in a courtyard off of Whitcomb street Soho

Transpontine said...

Good to hear from you Clive, don't know if you still live in the area but there's a newish coffee place in Forest Hill (St Davids Coffee House) I think in the place next door to where the Alpine Coffee Bar was. I was talking to the guy who runs it, who like me is very interested in the music and scenes of the 1960s. I know we'd both like to know more about the Alpine and other local places so get in touch if you fancy a 21st century coffee in Forest Hill.

CAF/CAB said...

just trying to find the date that the stones played the Savoy catford..I threw my blue eye shadow at Mick and my friend fainted in the crush, she was crowd surfed across the the stage where they put the fainted girls...not fair!! Also danced to bands and records at the Golden slipper over the pool hall over Burton's near the Clock Tower Lewisham and the Rivoli Brockley. Jive jive jive!! And yes the Tiger's Head and plenty of live bands...wonderful stuff, frayed bell bottoms, stripy nautical tee shirts and the Hippy Hippy shake.

Transpontine said...

I believe the Rolling Stones played at the Glenlyn Ballroom in Forest Hill on 3 January 1964, and at the Savoy Ballroom in Catford on 9 May 1964. I am going to write some more about this as there are obviously some great stories.

john.arnold97@ntlworld. said...

Hi.I have just been reading all the comments on this blog. I was a regular at the Elpartido .In early 1964 the club was allways empty until they intoduced The soul sound discoteque,the dj played the latest motown and soul singles.Then in late 1964 groups started to play there.The resident group were The Loose Ends.Many groups played there including John Mayalls Bluesbreakers,Chris Farlowe and The Thunderbirds,Carl Douglas.Sometimes visiting blues musicians played there including Bo Diddley and T.Bone Walker who signed my entrance ticket which I stiil have.In 1965 the top floor was opened where the Duke Reid Sound SYstem had a residency there on Sunday and Wednesday night. On Saturday he played allnighters With the massive home made speakers he played the latest ska sounds from Jamaca and the latest R&B and soul from the U.S.A.Here is a small list of songs that he played.Busters All Stars.Under arrest,dont throw stones.Trip to mars,Burkes Law,10 commandments of Man.The Skatalites,Guns of Navarone,Ball of Fire,Dick Tracy(all ska tracks)I remember he would allways play Slim Harpos Baby Scratch My back and Edwin Star Stop here on Sight.All the records were in a large home made chest ,most of the titles on the records were scrathed out to prevent rival sound system operators knowing what they are playing,which still exists today among Nothern soul enthusiasts

Transpontine said...

Thanks John, great memories. If you've got any old tickets or flyers from that time it would be good if you could scan or photograph them and send to me (transpontine@btinternet.com) and I can put them up here.

Anonymous said...

I think the Alpine Coffee bar can be seen here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevegrindlay/393326550/

Joe Hirst said...

Anyone remember the group called Bobby King and the Sabres that played at the Glenlyn Ballroom?

Anonymous said...

Bobby King and the Sabres, there's a bit here about them.

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=_RwOaA1GTjQC&pg=PA21&lpg=PA21&dq=%22Bobby+King+and+the+Sabres%22&source=bl&ots=HWjqOaEE2i&sig=rqsvLKYh73I_b3wWR8R1Sgql9lQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=mbfNUdGSCJH50gWVu4HQCQ&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22Bobby%20King%20and%20the%20Sabres%22&f=false

Bill Hull(longboat) said...

does anyone remember Harry's cafe at Brckley.People with strange nicknames
like CheesyGrin and Tut tut silly boy Rusty and Longboat.+

smurfd said...

Just seen a lot of these posts brings back fond memories also remember the Bal Tabarin behind the old Downham Tavern, Chislehurst Caves great acts but no booze, I was a Flower House Estate lad myelf and Sedgehill when Rossi was there.

Anonymous said...

Used to frequent the Magdala for its "Progessive" music in East Dulwich in the Early 70's.... can remember attempting to walk to Trafalagar square with the rest of the pub one new years eve.... Also the first time... Personally though most of my time was spent following Palace... A fairly hard core group of us went and Pogo'd the Punks at Dingwells to see if they were for real at a Sex Pistols concert.

Mike Sinclair said...

There was a mention of a club in Bellingham. There was a pub called the Railway tavern (now called the Fellowship) that had a hall behind it. I saw the first Fleetwood Mac and the first Chicken Shack shows there. Further on down there A21 at Downham was the Tiger Tavern where the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band played regularly. Then up the hill to Bromley was the Brommel Club at the Bromley Court Hotel where I saw my first show, John Mayall's Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton. So many bands played there it's easy to loose count but I do remember Graham Bond, Zoot Money, Shotgun Express and other's.

sian thomas said...

Hello,

My name is Sian I own St david coffee house in Forest hill, I think perhaps TRANSPONTINE may have spoke to a member of staff or perhaps my boyfriend about the music, thank you for bring us into this feed. We, at St David are huge fans of the 60's era esp myself and its been lovely reading all your comments and stories. I found out that our coffee shop building was either, or next door to the Alpine Club which was really exciting for me to find out. I am wanting to put on a night of music sort of resurrecting the Alpine so if CLIVE MIRAMS does have any info or anyone else about what the Alpine was like that would be great. We have a vinyl so perhaps it would be an evening in which people can bring their own records and play them and share the music? best Sian

Danny Butler said...

I was a mod in the 1960s mainly involved with the Orpington crew but I did go to a scooter club in Bromley that met at the hall(now next to Waitrose)in Masons hill there used to be a scooter shop in London Road Bromley called Lexsports run by John Rainbow where we would often congregate on a Saturday and I used ride up to Motos in the Old Kent Road to buy lamps for the front of my Vespa GS160. On club nights we would take a ride down to a coffee bar in Lewisham near the station. Bromley Court Hotel was a great Venue and also The Green Man in Bellingham. If there is anybody out there with any memories of the Bromley club?

Old Al said...

Between the years of 1960-65 my life revolved around most of the clubs and venues that have been mentioned.
A regular on a Friday and Monday night at the Glenlyn was quickly followed by a Thursday at the new El Partido. Mr Smiths/Savoy was always a favourite on a Saturday and a Wednesday [Cliff Bennett, Tremiloes, Freddy and the Dreamers]. The Tigers Head was also a favourite with occasional visits to Bromley Court and Chislehurst Caves.
Some venues not mentioned that bring back memories for me are.. Bali Hi Streatham, King Alfred [ other end of Southend Lane from the Tigers Head].Saw a guy run off with the till with the nights takings [anyone know his whereabouts] Greenwich Town Hall [Animals] Barking Town Hall when we felt brave enough to cross the river, Paradise Club Peckham, Burtons Eltham, Greyhound Well Hall, Top Twenty Peckham. Streatham Locarno, Tottenham Royale and Purley Orchid were the big nights out until the entrance fee went up to 7/6d
The Mods scooters were always parked across the road from the Glenlyn entrance with the girls anxious to know who had the most lights, biggest aerial and Fox Brush or the most chrome. I couldn't understand why they preferred a lift home on the back of one of these when my 1948 sit up and beg Anglia was just around the corner !
We were a crew of six now all between 70-75 and although spread around the world from Scandinavia to Australia regularly meet and talk about those years.
Throw in the parties and trips to the coast there seemed little time for anything else.
How my parents must have despaired !!

alan reeves said...

bobby king and the sabres were also resident group at the temple bar in Walworth and the lord wellington old kent rd great band also alpine coffee house turned into restaurant called la romantique now thai called orchard I think alan [banstead]

Anonymous said...

Thought these links might be of interest:


http://www.garagehangover.com/bromel-club-bromley/

http://www.garagehangover.com/black-prince-hotel-bexley-kent/

http://www.garagehangover.com/el-partido-lewisham/

http://www.garagehangover.com/glenlyn-ballroom-forest-hill/

http://www.garagehangover.com/tigers-head-catford/

http://www.garagehangover.com/witchdoctor-catford/

Anonymous said...

The Loose Ends have been mentioned a fair bit. They were house band at the El Partido for a while.

This might interest readers:

http://www.garagehangover.com/loose-ends/