Samantha’s Club – New Burlington Street. What clubs and venues do you remember in London? Tiffanys Club and Gullivers People chat.


All images supplied by Colin Bell

Colin Bell… I was looking for something in my archives (I must organise them one day!) and came across this. I was struck by the artwork and how creative it was then. Samantha’s was in a basement off Regent Street and I was introduced to it on a night out with Clem (from the Foundations) and Jimmy James, from memory  it was around late 1969 early 1970. A great place with soul bands appearing and the D.J. ‘booth’ was the body of an E Type Jag (very swinging sixties). Drinks 2/6d! You could get well pissed for a coupla quid! I was lucky enough at that time to have the use of a mate’s flat in Berwick Street Soho, ideally placed to go to all the great clubs. Many hours spent at the Marquee, Whisky-a-go-go, the Flamingo, Middle Earth and Hatchetts in Piccadilly, a great club over 3 floors with a chill out bar level, a restaurant with a glass wall overlooking the ‘disco’ floor. I’d be interested to hear any memories of this period from other Smart members? Great times and great memories…………..

Alan Esdaile… Happy days in Wardour Street at The Marquee. Also the Speakeasy. Also remember auditioning bands at Tiffanys nightclub in Shaftesbury Avenue and a club in Piccadilly with the disco on the top floor, mirrored lift and the club had records stuck to the wall. 100 club, Roxy, Ronnie Scotts etc.

Peter Fairless… Went to some dodgy, some good clubs in London. Some were very dodgy but very good! Can’t remember all the names but most of those listed above.

Steve Gage… My mate Ray was a bouncer at Samanthas where are you now mate??? 🙂

Mick O’Dowd… Went to The Q Club in Paddington after seeing James Brown at The Rainbow in the 70’s I think. JB turned up after we got there and jammed with the band. Awesome!

Wendy Weaver… I went to Samantha’s in the 70s, loved the E Type jockeys booth. I worked in offices above La Valbonne in Regent Street for a few years. It had a large glass tank where people went for a dip – sometimes with their clothes on !

Eugene Hughes… I went to the Valbonne Wen. And Skindles in Maidenhead. Louis Brown has them both. Kingley St was la Valbonne.

Lena Jansson… Tiffany´s in Shaftesbury avenue was my favourite disco in 1977-1979, I remember the live band Gullivers people and the two DJ:s Ken Norton and the other one I can´t remember the name of, Dave? David? Would be great to hear from someone else who used to dance the nights away at Tiffany´s!!


Gullivers People. photo source:

Lena Jansson… I only remember the female singer of  Gullivers People, I think her name was Kim or something like that, a name that both women and men use. She was quite tall with dark curly hair and a very strong voice. Their best cover was Alright now, a great song by Free.

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The Fiesta Club Trinity Street Hastings 1969

Supplied by John Busbridge

John Busbridge… A very early haunt of mine, Barry Herbert used to be behind the bar, up two flights of stairs. I nearly got barred for flicking a stack of 6 pyrex type plates like beermats and missing them on one occasion!

Dizz Corinne Ryder… My parents used to take us there for food. A lovely family business! Too young for the club!

Nick Webb… What year was this , used to live down stairs in the coffee bar as a teenager with Sue ? behind the counter .

Alan Esdaile… it was 1969. The club was a door at the side of the building and then lots of stairs to the top

Dizz Corinne Ryder… I don’t remember but I think the family were Spanish, the elder daughter was called Cynthia, her mama used to take the orders.

Mike Mitchell…  She was always “Mrs Fiesta” to us

Andy Qunta… Spent many happy hours sitting in that coffee shop when I was a student at Hastings College – often while I was supposed be attending a lecture or class. Great jukebox! Good times!

Richard Brimm… I used to go their withJohnny Upton before I had a car and near the end of the Witch Doctor it was quite small

Rachel Rayburn… I spent many hours in the Fiesta – upstairs more than down. Hey Jude always reminds me of those times. Barry has a sister called Irene who I knew well.

John Busbridge… I knew both Barry and Irene well they used to live just round the corner to me in Charles Road West

Pat Weston… Loved that coffee place, up the back stairs could always find someone  you knew hanging out. Barry Herbert used to serve coffee

Alan Esdaile… I was talking to Terry Corder on the radio today and we both think, that the upstairs club also had another name? Anyone remember? I can recall they have pinball tables and the windows were multi coloured .

The Happy Ballroom Hastings Pier & more 11th Feb 1967 by Andre Martin

Its mid way through February, and the reason that I have not posted anything for a couple of weeks, is that in Hastings there has been very little to report, here we are on Saturday 11th February 1967. The Pier Ballroom is in operation this weekend with a St Valentines Ball, heading the programme it Eastbourne’s own Gordon Rider and his Quartet with a programme of music and entertainments for the young and not so young lovers.
Along at the Witch Doctor, the usual patten was live music on Saturday and The Steve Maxted Show on Thursdays. This weekend Saturday 11th February we had a visit from The Meantimers and The Unloved[ not perhaps a good choice for St Valentines Weekend] and on St Valentine’s 14th the return of The Lonely Ones. What was the BBC offering us this weekend – Saturday Light Programme – 10.00am Saturday Club, with DDDBMT, Chris Farlowe, The Searchers, Maxine Brown & The Q Set, Truly Smith and The Powerpack, with Brian Matthew in charge. Later in the day, Jack Jackson Record Roundabout, Des O’Connor, Saturday Swingalong, Saturday Bandstand – this week The BMC Band, Chris Denning with “Where it’s At” and Desmond Carrington with Music from the Movies. The early evening was the time for Those were the days and later Frankie Vaughan, Forces Startime from RAF Anglesey, Music Parade, Saturday Night in Scotland and Pete’s Party with Pete Murray and Friends.
Sunday – Children’s Favourites, Easy Beat with David Symonds, This week’s Family Favourites was a Three Way link up between London Cologne and Singapore. The afternoon had its regular selection of comedy shows – Round the Horne & The Clitheroe Kid. A special “Farnon in Concert” introduced by John Dunn and 4pm it was Pick of The Pops. In the evening Movie Go Round, Sing Something Simple, Grand Hotel, The Men from The Ministry and later The Jazz scene with Humphrey Lyttelton.
Television high lights this weekend included Saturday BBC 1 – Grand Stand, Juke Box Jury with David Jacobs and his guests Simon Dee Alan Freeman Pete Murray and JS. Dr Who was off to Moonbase 1, The Monkees and then the Film Lost Treasure of the Amazon. The evening continued with The Rolf Harris Show, with special guest Sandie Shaw with a Song for Europe, Adam Adamant Lives, MOTD and The Late Show with John Bird. BBC 2 we had Rugby Special: Ireland v England, The Forsyte Saga, International Cabaret, Thriller – The Girl in a Black Bikini and the Midnight Movie 711 Ocean Drive with Edmond O’Brien and Otto Kruger. Sunday BBC1 – International Winter Sports : The World Bobsleigh Championships from Alpe d’Heuz in Austria. Film Matinee: Without Reservation – John Wayne & Claudette Colbert. The Lucy Show, Great Expectations, Pinky & Perky’s Island. In the evening it was Film : Pete Kelly’s Blues, followed by Dr Finlay’s Casebook, James Robertson Justice introduced Gala Performance from the London Ballet.BBC 2 – We had The Danny Kaye Show, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle play and On the Margin with Alan Bennett. Over on the Pirates, this week 50 years ago, Radio London Fab Forty was voted the most popular off-shore programme and Kenny Everett for a second time the most popular pirate DJ. The top 5 for this week was Beatles: Penny Lane, Pet Clark: This is my Song, Tremeloes: Here Comes my Baby, Jimmy Ruffin: I’ve Passed this way before and Englebert Humperdink : Release Me. Over on Radio Caroline South Johnny Walker presented – Monkees: I’m A Believer, Cat Stevens: Matthew and Son, Rolling Stones: Let’s spend the night together, Paul Jones : I’ve been a Bad Bad Boy, Move : Night of Fear.
So there we have it – 50 years ago this weekend, there is just one other event that I would like to mention, for those of you who followed the local groups, The Confererates were very well know and popular, this weekend it was that the lead vocalist emigrated with his parents to Canada, and I can remember on that Saturday night/Sunday Morning saying goodbye in Havelock Road of all places waiting for Taxis home.
Until next week when I open up the time machine again and have a delve around in fifty years of entertainments history. Enjoy St Valentines Night, and keep warm – the temperature keeps falling.     Andre Palfrey-Martin © 2017

Joe Knight… That’s information

The happy ballroom and more. 20th November 1965 by Andre Martin.

With less than six weeks to go until Christmas, there have been some moves in the direction of the return of popular music to the Happy Ballroom on Hastings Pier; we have reached Saturday 20th November 1965. Yes I have seen in the minutes of the Directors monthly Board Meeting that The Roy Tempest Agency has been in communications with the Pier Management to discuss the possibility of booking acts for the forthcoming 900th celebrations of the Battle of Hastings in October 1966. Also an organisation called Dale & Barton have booked 5 dates from 4th December to present BEAT DANCES in the ballroom – but I have no more information at this time. However there is nothing happening again this week in the Ballroom, but as mentioned last week there was life on the Pier.
Ready Steady Go this week had some good toons being delivered by Chris Andrews “ Yesterday Man” and “To Whom it may concern” : Gerry & the Pacemakers “ Walk hand in hand” : The Searchers “ Take Me for what I’m worth” The Who “ My Generation” also on the show this week were The Beat Stalkers, The Kinks and Keith Powell, Keith and Cathy pulling it all together to give us a good start to the weekend.
The Witch Doctor has reduced the number of bands being presented in the run up to the Festive Season, but quality is not being reduced with Saturday night featuring The Herd with support. The Record nights are as always very popular and kept at a reasonable cost. The highlight in the week was Steve Muscles Maxted who has taken over Thursday Nights and would be in situ for a few years to come, and at many venues in Hastings, such was his popularity – Steve was a great character, he was a showman, you never knew just what he would get up to next as we would find out over the months.
The BBC were slightly reducing the pop content to the schedules, could this be the impact of the Pirate Stations and their providing what the youngsters really wanted – that is something that we would all have our own views. The regular programmes were as good as ever Saturday 10.00 and it was Saturday Club with Gerry and the Pacemakers, Peter & Gordon, Dave Berry and the Cruisers, Susan Maughan, Acker Bilk and The Mike Cotton Sound, records and stories being provided by the ever popular Brian Matthew. Lunchtime it was another icon of broadcasting Jack Jackson with his cast of thousands. Later in the afternoon it was European Pop Jury followed by Music from the Movies, this week the featured artiste was Pat Boone. Later in the evening it was Home & Away from Munster thanks to BFBS/BBC bringing together families stationed in Germany on this week’s show Elkie Brooks, Migil 5 and Les Dawson.
Sunday – we have Easy Beat introduced by Keith Fordyce and featuring the Johnny Howard Band and “the best on disc”. Lunchtime 2 Way Family Favourites was a London & Cologne link up over the roast and pudding. Later Fluff was around with Pick of the Pops.
Television picks this weekend included Thank Your Lucky Stars from ATV Birmingham and included Jim Dale, Joe Brown, Frank Ifield, Lynn Holland, Bill J Kramer, Cleo Lane and Sounds Incorporated. The BBC was as ever in the hands of David Jacobs at 5.15 with his Hit or Miss selected by the guests from the entertainments world.
With Christmas just around the corner, we are waiting with interest just to see what is going to be on the schedules for the year, in those days we had to wait, not like today when the programme trails start months before the actual dates scheduled to be broadcast. Until next week, you all take care, and be good – Hah Hah!
Andre Palfrey-Martin ©2015