Birmingham in the 60s

Birmingham in the 60s: Smallbrook Ringway

Birmingham was radically developed in the 60s. There was a new ring road system, which, like most city centres, was of a unique design and took practice to master. Smallbrook Ringway, left, was one of the first sections built. The buildings were designed by J A Roberts.

The Bullring Shopping Centre (which has been redeveloped recently) was also a 60s development. It replaced a historic market with a modern design. The Rotunda, also designed by J A Roberts, was started in 1960. It was a circular tower of 24 storeys. There was a rumour that it had a slight list, making it the leaning tower of Brum.

Architectural critic, Ian Nairn, was complimentary about Birmingham and the Bullring. He thought Birmingham was much improved for the development and that the prosperity of the 60s suited Birmingham well.

HRH The Prince of Wales, however, was less than complimentary about the 60s architecture of Birmingham; now there's a surprise.

In 1974, the IRA planted a bomb in the Mulberry Bush Pub situated in the ground floor of the Rotunda. This, and another bomb at the Tavern in the Town in New Street Station, killed 21 people. This incident will forever be known as the Birmingham Pub Bombings.

On a lighter note, I remember a life size model of King Kong in Birmingham in the 70s. I wonder if anyone can shed any further light on this?

Birmingham in the 60s: Another view of Smallbrook Ringway Birmingham in the 70s: Repertory Theatre, built 1971

Comments on Birmingham in the 50s and 60s

"I grew up in Birmingham in the 1950s and 1960s. There used to be a menswear shop on the corner of Navigation Street and John Bright Street called Chetwyns. If you could afford it, they sold imported suits, jackets, shirts, ties etc directly from the United Sates and loose drape jackets cutaway collar shirts etc. Then in the early sixties the fashion changed. Most young guys got their Italian style suits from Burtons or Colliers, although Chetwyns did survive with the American look. I myself couldn't afford to shop there, but would visit the shop to check out the gear." Andrew Eves

Above Chetwyns was the The Whiskey a Go Go, a club hosting live bands. Local bands played there as well as Motown and R&B bands from the US. Their Friday and Saturday nights went on until 8am the following day. See for more details.

The club above Chetwyns in 1963, before it was Whiskey a Go Go was -- Lora Dixon's: rock and roll, no booze only soft drinks or tea or coffee. The pub in Hill Street and on the corner of Swallow Street was the Eagle, now gone. I have cine film of it. Gordon

I know about Lora Dixon's because I got engaged to a girl I met there in January 1963. Besides I worked for the GPO till mid 62. In 1963 the Beatles appeared on the balcony (above entrance) of the Odeon - new street. I frequented Billy Ponds Dance Studio in Green Lane, Small Heath opposite Millward Street where I lived then. Gordon

On the corner (right) where Coventry road joins Digbeth by the railway bridge and the old flyover was the Dolls Club. A night club at the time where booze could be purchased, entered through turn stiles like at a football ground. This opened in the 50s Gordon

"I remember the big King Kong statue in the Bullring. I believe it is up North somewhere and belongs to a car dealer." Chris J

Some more on Birmingham nightlife in the sixties...

"You might be interested in the night life in Brum in the 1950s/1960s. In the 1950s night life in Brum was very austere due mainly to the fact that Lord Cadbury was on the Birmingham watch committee and being a devout Quaker did not believe in entertainment and booze for the masses. You won't find a pub in Bournville the home of Cadbury. Anyway, when he died Birmingham started to become alive at night. "

"Up until the 1960s there was only really the Westend Ballroom, I believe, in Suffolk Street. There was the Reservoir Ballroom in Reservoir Road, Ladywood. Then, in 1961, they opened the Locarno ballroom at the bottom end of Hill street and Monday night was Rock'n'Roll night. They would play the records of the current top 20 artists. I had just left school so every Monday without fail dressed in my winkle picker shoes, Italian styled mod suit and bright red narrow tie of course (and we thought we were the Bees Knees). "

"I left Brum in 1963 then returned in 1966 and the night clubs were happening. There was a club in Great Hampton Street, Hockley (I cant remember the name). It was owned by Eddie Fewtrell he and his brother. They were the gangsters of the time. Then there was the Rum Runner just off Broad Street; you went down an alley way, it had a gambling casino on the left hand side. The nightclub had a huge patronage it cost 10 bob to get in. Yes, those were the days; you could have a good night out for a fiver or less. "

"Further up Broad Street, down at the end of Gas Street, was a nightclub called the Opposite Lock. Even though it was opposite a lock on the canal the terminology was taken from the motor racing language. The club attracted the motor racing fraternity and it was an older clientele than were attracted to the Rum Runner. "

"Then in the late 60s the Fewtrell brothers opened a couple of really large night club venues one in Lower Severn Street, just up from the Hippodrome and the other just off Broad Street. I think it was somewhere near the old Bingley Hall Centre. Both clubs had girls names [Rebeccas in Lower Severn Street and Barbarellas up off Broad Street] they were fairly large and attracted a large following from older teenagers up to late 20s and early 30s. They would attract International stars mainly artists that were currently in the charts. Of course, suits and ties were the dress of the day. Although dress codes were getting more relaxed, although ties were mandatory you could get away with a leather jacket and trousers (No Jeans of course). "

"I spent many a late night in most of them, not only was the entertainment good, but the drinks were always reasonable and they attracted lots of single females. In those days very few had their own transport, so if you had a car you were pretty right."

"I did spend a helluver lot of nights clubbing around Brum late 60s and early 70s. There were a couple of great pubs, besides the Tavern in the Town, which was a regular watering hole for me. There was a pretty large pub on Hill Street Close to Navigation Street, where you would go around 9:30pm at night for a few bevies before venturing on to the clubs at around 10:30pm -11pm, then getting home at around 4 to 5 am. What a life! "

"In the early 70s the fashions were changing. Shirts had those large penny collars flared trousers were happening. Also there was period where the smart dressed man wore a double breasted blazer with a matching tie and shirt rather wide ties. If I remember, with the girls wearing platform sole shoes, they were taller than the men. So platform shoes became the style for men. Of course, by the mid 70s men wore skin tight see through shirts open to the waist."

Andrew Eves

Read more:

Eddie Fewtrell was Birmingham's night club king in the 60s and 70s. There is a book about his life available on Amazon, right.

There is also an article on Wikipedia about the Rum Runner night club in Birmingham see Rum Runner - Wikipedia.

"I worked in the top room at Rebecca's in the 60's as a barmaid on both sides of the was one of the most exciting times. Initially I started working weekends only since I had a full time office job but it soon developed into more and more evenings. loved the work and it was one of the best times of my life. Finally I sat at the door on reception along with the bouncers admitting guests. That was the most fun! We would just be so professional all dressed in our evening gear..and the guys were so handsome in their suits...that was how we dressed in those days..the ladies wore long to the floor dresses too! There were huge long lines at the weekends to get into the clubs..Rebecca's was no exception. I worked at Barbarellas for a stint but the "magic" wasn't like at Rebecca's. Rebecca's was also three floors with dedicated music on each floor..The Sin Bin at the bottom, the Blue Soul in the middle. There was never a dull moment on our club scene. On the weekend we always went on to another club after work or for a curry at the Eastern Moon or ended up at the Tow Rope on Broad Street for breakfast. I had a million friends and after I quit (exhausted)ha,. I had a standing invite to come whenever I could..Oh what I would give to relive those days!" Eileen

"As the 60's came to an end I DJ'd at Rebecca's between 1971 and 1974. I started in the Cabasa on the top floor then 'graduated' to the Blue Soul on the ground floor which was a fabulous club room. John Fewtrell was my boss and other jockeys at the club were Pat Martin, Pete King, Bob King, Pete Allen and Sam T. We were also occasionally seconded to Barbarellas or the Cedar Club. I remember Nick and Ken on the door. I have never stopped DJing since and am always respectful and grateful of being able to do my 'apprenticeship' working for the Fewtrells. The King Of Clubs book is good reading by the way."DJ Barry John

"Reading all about Rebbecas takes years off me. It’s four o clock in the morning as I took over running my favorite place after john got moved to run Barbs. All the names mentioned bring very happy times back to me. What a good night it would be if we could all meet somewhere. My last contact with Eillen was in Canada where Tony Leung and Jane is wife past members of the clan. It was a time and place like no other. It’s great to have been there at the time I hope somebody will contact me sometime."Tony Hallam

"Wow, u have ressurected a lot of memories for me! The Whiskey used to be just off the Ringway from what I can remember, with that dodgey staircase? Do u remember the West End at the old cinema just up from 5 ways island at the end of the Ringway? With the bouncy dancefloor? Every Monday nite down the Locarno....great! I used to go with my first love Pauline, what a berk I was to lose her!!!!!

Then it was the Top Rank club, Tuesdays! Do u remember the Midnite City, Digbeth, then on to the all nite cafe in the Midland Red bus station. Saw the Who at the City, that was an all weekender! I'm lucky I survived that one!!!! Then there was the Apollo in New st, West Bromwich, Walsall Town Hall, Spencer Davis band, thanks Pat! Riding around from one club to another on our scooters. But the best was the Surfside Stop at the bottom of Constitution Hill, Crazy Horse strip club above it.

Of course everyone will remember the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town, in the late 60's they were the pubs! Who can remember the pub that used to be opposite Lewis's just on the circle, set back in the shopping centre?

Remember the Heartbeat at the ice rink off Husrt Str? As for suits there was only one tailor...Philip Collier, Smallbrook Ringway, Mohair and Wool, I had a chocolate brown one, that cost me 21 quid back in 66,and considering I only earned 5quid a week it was a hell of a sacrifice, but worth it. 12 in centre vent, just the business, then my mom stuck it in the washing machine about 6 months after I had it....buggered it completely! I was inconsolable for weeks!!!!!

Not forgetting the Metro down Livery str either. But the best of them all was the Locarno, fantastic Motown, walking round anti-clockwise, top button done up with a certain swagger. The tiniest knot u could get in ur tie. Sat mornings down the Diskery, with Erskine T, I'd spend all day in those telephone boxes listening to the imports from the States...Ursulena with ur washing machina by Bill Cosby, and all those...great!

I was born in Aston, B'ham then moved to Great Barr late 50''s (Up the Villa), then on to Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield. I've lived in South Africa for the last 20 years.

Does anyone remember the Friday nite down at St Andrews, where we were supposed to shout and scaream as Paul Jones from Manfred Mann, came in on the back of a limo? He got pelted with whatever we could lay our hands on...Jesus Christ Superstar I believe....anyway after about 3-4 attempts they slung us all out and aborted the mission, we ended up down the Surfside.

Me & my mate Al, worked as glass collectors and barmen at the Opposite Lock club in '72 / '73 then at Barbarellas, Rebeccas and The Tower Ballroom, those r yet more memories!

What great memories. Lets have some more! "John Dangerfield

"Does anyone remember the Heaven Bridge Chinese restaurant in the walkover across Smallbrook Ringway? I use the word restaurant very loosely...!"John

"What about: Victor Sylvester's ballroom under the Odeon in the city centre The Cavern by small heath park The Ritz in Kings Heath"sue jagger

"Remember the Cedar club and was it le metro under the railway arch in snow hill. What about the rainbow suite over the co op? The dolce vita was pretty smart in small brook ring way and had great acts"Robert Cotterill

"In the late 1950s I was a student at the College of Arts & Crafts (as it then was) in Margaret Street. One regular haunt used to be the Second City Traditional jazz club that had several locations - perhaps the best being in Digbeth. I spent many a splendid night there, after being welcomed by Madge (by the way, for many years I have tried unsuccessfully to track down a recording that was made called tribute to Madge any info would be most welcome) I would head for the left hand side of the stage where most of the arty crowd hung out and search for Stevie with her bright and ever cheerful smile for a nights dancing. All the stars appeared here - George Melly, Humph, Ken Colyer and others, but still my favourite was the house band. I have lived in Canada since the late 60s but still miss Brum. Memories, memories, memories. " Maurice

"I was born at Bel barn rd in 1952 then in 1954 we moved to 4/74 Irving st and i went to Bristol st school i wish somebody had some photos of the school and put them on the website i loved that school it was demolished in the 60s i only have my memories Wat a brill time to grow up happy days. "Peter Marriott

"Hey, Lora Dixons, I learned ballroom at her Dance Studio above Chetwyns (I think that was before the Rock and Roll era) I was about 14/15 at the time (1950'ish) and one of the quickstep favourite tunes was 'Mountain Greenery'. I can remember the tram terminus from the Bristol Road was right opposite and by the tram stop was a wall, which I could just see over, which hid the New Street railway lines (pretty much the same now I think." Colline

"Can anyone recall the location, in the 50's, of the Masque Ballroom. I have a thought that it may have been in Erdington but could be wrong!" Ken

" I remember the Tower Ballroom in the 1950's especially the New Year's Eve Dance where we all queued outside for hours, rain, hail or snow to get a ticket to go in where a live band played. It was great fun with a wonderful party spirit and everyone was happy and we rock and rolled to our hearts content. Me with my very flared skirt and stockings and suspenders showing in front of the band where I thought I was the cats whiskers!

I also spent every night of the week ballroom dancing, rocking and rolling at the West End ballroom, Saturday included, which is where I met my husband. Mind you there seemed to be a shortage of young men until the last dance, when they rolled out of the pubs - (ladies did not frequent the pubs much in those days. The idea was for them to ask us for the last dance and then ask if they could walk us to our nearest bus stop! (Very crafty I used to think!) The only problem I had, although I was aged 20 years, I used to be warned by my mother that I had got to be back home by, much to my disgust, so unfortunately I had to leave the dance before the dance had finished" Margaret Blake (nee) Sanders

"really glad I've found this page, I was begining to think that my mind was going. I've spoken to lots of people about the westend at the top of the queensway, and the sprung dance floor but know one remembered it. but now it's been mentioned in other letters. days of our lives, I also used lora dixons, the whiskey a go go. my era in town was around 1962 the music was the best there's ever been. on my side of town we also used the atlas ballroom (the telstar club ) the macadown in tile cross. and mothers in erdington. we were out dancing 5 nights a week, my girlfriend then was a girl called joan xx she was the best but I messed that up. the sixties were the best days of my life. Bob." Bob Gilchrist

Add your comments on 50s and 60s Birmingham

"All this nonsense about about Burtons and Colliers. I worked in Hepworths in New street and living in Erdington it wasn't worth going home just to come back into town. We would change into clean shirts etc as we were already wearing great suits. Chetwyns and Fred Burn in Corporation St were worth a look in those days. West End resident band was Freddie Brinklow and his orchestra, before group days but when places like the Dolce Vita and Locarno opened, the town exploded. Pubs like the Windsor in Needless Alley, the lamplighter off Bull Street, the Matador, The Toreador, favourite....the Wandering Minstrel. Sunday at the Lacarno was the Tudor Club. First disc jockey i'd ever seen, thought someone was fooling around, some guy playing records Still got my membership card. Wondrous days 1960 to 68. A Brummie "TOWNIE"" Graham Hall 02/01/2018

"Does anyone remember the Aero Club at Birmingham Airport? I think it was called Elmdon Airport back then! I'm looking for a man called Ivan or Ivor who went to the Aero Club in 1970. Thank you!" Tracy 13/01/2018

"I knew Ivor Smith, Tracy. He'd be 65-66 now. Smashing little bloke - big Blues fan from Solihull. I used to go down the Aero in the 70s, where I met the wife. Happy days." Arnie 16/01/2018

"Thank you, Arnie.

Any idea where he lives now or how I would contact him?

Can you remember what he looked like?


Tracy." Tracy 17/01/2018

"Sorry, Tracy. Haven't seen Ivor for 35 years!
He was probably 5'6", thick brown hair, good looking - if you're a girl (!)
Back then his folks lived in a nice area of Solihull.
Good luck." Arnie 18/01/2018

"Can you remember where Ivor worked or what he did for a living, Arnie? Anything else that could help me find him? Thank you. :)" Tracy 19/01/2018

"I'm trying to date when The Ike and Tina Turner Revue played the Whiskey A Go-Go and hoping some here might be able to help me narrow it down. I think I've got it down to four possible dates.
I believe it would have been in October '66, after the summer of River Deep, Mountain High and England winning the World Cup.
If it was indeed '66, it would have been with the three-girl line-up of The Ikettes (with PP Arnold). If it was '68, it would have been with the four-girl line-up of The Ikettes (without PP Arnold). Did the Whiskey close in 1967 or 1968?
Was there a set night of the week when the big name acts appeared there or could it have been almost any night of the week? Were there 'records only' nights?
The Ike and Tina Turner Revue were playing two shows a night on that tour. Did acts at the Whiskey A Go-Go play early (9pm) or late (midnight or later)?
They also played Coventry's Locarno Ballroom, quite possibly the same night as the Whiskey.
They played Leicester on Friday 21 October '66. Birmingham or Coventry later that night would seem possible (one night they did Manchester and then Sheffield!). People have mentioned the All-Nighters on Fridays.
I gather that they also played the Top Rank Club but that would seem to have been in '68, if I'm right in thinking it didn't open until 1967.
If anyone has a copy of Laurie Hornsby's old book, Brum Rocked On!, were Ike and Tina mentioned in that?
Oh and was it Whiskey or Whisky? I've seen both used but not seen photos of the place.
I've done visits to the local library in the past for other multiple-searches but it would be a bit of a long trek for one gig and... would the Whiskey have advertised gigs in the press at all?
If you think you can help, thanks in advance, I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
Nigel" Nigel 20/01/2018

"No idea, Tracy. Sorry." Arnie 24/01/2018

"To Hannah Rose your enquiry posted 9th Jan 2017.
My own father was a nephew of the said Barton Brothers.
I may be able to help you with your enquiry,unless of coarse you have said information.

BTW thank you to everyone for your information,I have many good memories of my time night clubbing,however because of my age had a curfew to adhere to,meaning while most of you were on your way out,the chance was I would be on my way home until well into my 20s.

Marie Scott (need smith)" Marie carole scott 22/02/2018

"To Hannah Rose your enquiry posted 9th Jan 2017.
My own father was a nephew of the said Barton Brothers.
I may be able to help you with your enquiry,unless of coarse you have said information.

BTW thank you to everyone for your stories.I have many good memories of my time night clubbing,however because of my age had a curfew to adhere to,meaning while most of you were on your way out,the chance was I would be on my way home,atleast until well into my 20s.

Marie Scott (nee smith)" Marie carole scott 22/02/2018

"To Hannah Rose 're your enquiry posted 9th Jan 2017.
If your still interested I may be able to fill in the gaps regarding your partner's family back ground.
I am one of many nieces in the Barton clan.

Marie" Marie carole scott 23/02/2018

"Trying hard to remember the Chinese restaurant opposite Harry Parkes and the Law Courts that was upstairs." Lozzie 03/04/2018

"The Dragon Gate Lozzie?" John Lee 05/04/2018

"I'm still looking for Ivor or Ivan who used to go to the Aero Club at Birmingham Airport in 1970. If anybody knew of him can you please get in touch?" Tracy 08/04/2018

"Car loads of us came up from Oxford in 1966 and early 1967 most Saturdays to Midnight City, I still have my membership card - yes, purple with big stars on. We'd sometimes stop off at the Gaff in Banbury. I remember the Who playing on Christmas Eve 1966; they'd come from a previous gig (or two?) and started up about 1 a.m. looking pretty knackered. Some of us got arrested outside at 6ish once. Two of us went into a toilet cubicle to roll and smoke a joint, and when we came out an enormous black guy went ballistic. I never did find out what his beef was about.
Also went to a club above a shoe shop (?) on a corner close to New Street station, not far from Steelhouse Lane; saw Spencer Davies there. When leaving at 6 there were police opposite photographing everyone." Oxford Pete 30/04/2018

"SUE PRICE asked about a DJ at the Locarno in 1967. His name, Sue, was Warren Davies. I was married to him for a while but wasn't around there in the 60s. He passed away in 2013. If anybody remebers him or even has a photo I'd love to hear about it all. I've enjoyed reading your memories all - thanks." Patricia Buck 11/05/2018 11/05/2018

"I remember both El Sombrero and La Fiesta coffee bars and Joe the Greek. I think he got 5 years for stabbing a guy. I was too young to get an invite to the key club. I do remember the Art balls and when the fountain got dyed purple. Does anyone remember the Tutor from Margaret Street - Ivor Abrahams and his studio down in the Lock Street Basin? Went to some good parties there. The Greyhound pub was the place to kick start the night- scrumpy cider and black. The Midland Jazz club in Digbeth was where I learnt the Stomp - never seem to see that dance in any TV archives? And I have happy memories of the folk clubs and the earls wood jazz festivals too and of course the Kardomha - I can still smell the coffee. I read someone's comments about girls being safe on the night service buses - so true- sitting in the church yard waiting for your bus with a hot potatoe covered in salt in the early hours was the norm. Not anymore, my children have never experienced this freedom and it will never return - weren't we the lucky ones. I moved to Buckinghamshire when I got married but came home for visits to the family but not to the City Centre however I now live in Shropshire and I have paid a few visits with my daughter and grandson to the museum and art gallery and the bull ring. None of it compares to how it was in the 60's for me. If only they'd left the Kardomah alone!! My grandson is a big Peaky Blinders fan and I think he was expecting to see the City full of guys in the traditional dress code, he was disappointed but lives in hope that the style will kick off again. I had to explain that this wasn't the norm in my era....I will be introducing him to this website though as I know he will be keen to know what we all got up to.l worked at GKN in the same office as Pete York drummer with Spencer Davis Group and I knew Spencer before the group from the folk circuit and the Greyhound. Used to go and watch Pete when the group kicked off.
Oh, does anyone remember the Woodman Pub? We were all so put out when they pulled it down. Was in there when the yardbirds came in." Doreen Griffiths 17/05/2018

"Re posting this question "Does anyone have memories of Samantha's night club which was above Silver Blades ice rink. I worked there from 72 to 74. Thursdays attracted all the students with John C the DJ. Mark Stone looked after Fridays with all the chart stuff, oldies and soul/tamla. Ricky Barrow did Saturdays along with Mark. Always a good crowd on those 3 nights. Were you there?"" Mark 25/05/2018

"I remember the woodman very well it was meeting point before goin to West End, anyone remember the White Hart pub, just round the corner from Woodman. Think Woodman was only place in brum you could get a stick of beer." Tony Scott 25/05/2018

"I grew up in Castle Bromwich and came across this site by accident. Boy has it bought back many happy memories. I was never allowed to go to Town but remember the names of the places so well. I did go to the Rainbow Suite and Top Rank in dale end. Those where the days you where safe to walk round. Bring those days back! The fun we all had. I trained to be a hairdresser by the Fox and Goose. Used to listen To Pat and Sheila told about All the night clubs. Great Times!" Margaret Kendall nee Robbins 16/06/2018

"Please see Elbow Room Reunion Facebook page for event on July 22nd!" Pauline Mccullagh 16/06/2018

"Anyone remember a man called Ivor or Ivan who went to the Aero Club at Birmingham Airport in 1970? I'm trying to locate him. Thanks." Tracy 22/06/2018

"Hi Tony Scott, I remember the wife's Gran ordering a gin and a stick of bitter in the Highbury at the foot of Dad's Lane, all through the 60s into the 70s. She tipped a splash of bitter in to the gins until closing time, then necked whatever was left.

Cheers, Bob Grey" Wee Rab 07/07/2018

"Me and my friend Phill went to rebeccas on the grand opening night , jj jackson and the greatest little soul the land were on. What a night, What a club. I read earlier somebody said they could have a dam good night out on a fiver in the 60s. Mate in 1967, 2 bob in on the bus, 3 bob in the Locarno. Monday night of course, 3 bob for a drink, on the Floor all night long. Can i have this dance please. Then , thank you. And 2 bob for the last bus back. I used to do it for about 10 shillings a night .I Used to go dancing every night of the year, The only day i stayed in was Christmas day, nowheres was open .Every Monday night Locarno, Every Tuesday night ,top rank suit.Every Wednesday night, Le metro. Every Thursday night Rainbow suit. Every Friday night ,The Heartbeat. Every Saturday night ,The Flower . Every Sunday night, the iron Curtain. Fantastic days. frJohn." john manning 15/08/2018

"Fond memories of the Plaza, Handsworth.
Dating Bobby. He was a Bobby Darin type singer there.
Saw Gene Vincent and many more great guys ," Jacki Finneran -nee Steele 21/08/2018

"I also have fond memories saw the beatles ther and met my first love Margaret Jackson sadly passed but the memories still live on" peter bell 21/08/2018

"i am still trying to find wendy & john walsh they have a daughter Justine wendy,s maiden name was millar its been a long time i live in canada now if anyone knows them and sees this please pass it on Thanks" carol barrett 19/09/2018

"Hello, we are trying to trace anyone who went to the Kardomah Cafe on New Street. If you remember the interior on the first floor I'd love to hear from you." Georgia 10/10/2018

"Can anyone recall a chap they called sailor if anyone drank in crown hill street bham 1964 65 thanks" Anne 06/11/2018

"In 1965 ,I worked as a junior for LUCAS Ltd , great king street.
I was staying at YMCA near snow hill station.
Not far was "The metro" an exiting night place.
I also worked as a dish washer at the "Surfside stop" cafeteria and night club.on first floor

Great time
Wilson Picket came with its band ( 2 guys)
Barmaids were blonds and sweety.

These years ,I cannot forget.
At 18 , I have been very happy and loved B'HAM.
Michel" Michel 03/12/2018

"Happy new year to u all on here" Anne 29/12/2018

"I worked in the Rotunda in 73/74 and remember having a week off work after the pub bombings while they checked the stability of the building. Even the windows on the 11th floor were smashed! We then made such a fuss about feeling unsafe that the office moved out of Birmingham. I remember having my 21st at Pollyannas and used to drink in The Hole In The Wall quiet regularly. At the bottom of the Rotunda there were steps down to the market and a little shop where I used to buy my Brutus check shirts. Birmingham has changed so much since then!" Jane 11/01/2019

"I remember Lewis's, Cecil Gee, Biba and Chelsea Girl. I bought a leather mini skirt at Chelsea Girl and wore it every weekend until it ended up having a permanent 'bottom' shape at the back! I had so few clothes, I ended up always wearing the same 'uniform' but that shop was great value and always on trend.
I remember the Top Rank Suite and the Elbow Room which was closer to where I lived so I used to drive there in my Mini and drive home at god knows what time!" Ros Griffiths 06/04/2019

"Great to read all this stuff! Only two references to the El Sombrero coffee bar. but that was a favourite of mine and spent many an afternoon in there listening to Patsy Cline on the jukebox. The Kardhoma or KD as we knew it was another haunt. Was as college in Norfolk House and some of us would often go to the S&U building for lunch and drop water filled balloons onto unsuspecting people at the bottom of the stairs! Oh dear... I was dragged to see The Sound of Music at the Gaumont, enjoyed seeing Ben Hur at the Bristol Rd cinema, both now sadly gone. Lovely, lovely times to live in." Eddie Billington 08/05/2019

"There are a lot of people on here who seem to have misspent their later teenage years in dens of iniquity LOL around Birmingham. Does anyone remember the biggest Queen in Birmingham name of Barry Parker if so I was just wondering if he is still alive or what happened to him/her?" townie 15/05/2019

"Played in a band in the Midlands,base guitar.we .originated from Brandwood school.Kings Heath.Frequented the Ritz kings Heath ,Locarno,the Tower ,Old hill plaza.Was in a band in 1965.onwards.we started as The Zants,Then became lot 4.We came second to the Bobcats at the Locarno beat contest,in l believe 66.Band members were Geoff Boots,no no longer with us but also Loz Cowley,Barry Grainger.woulf love to hear if they are still about.Band later became passion Wagon.Anyone out there remember us" Graham Gunnell 12/06/2019

"Great site, does anyone remember bogarts on new street great rock venue spread over 3 floors. The bulls head pub hay mills on Coventry rd the upstairs room was called the hide away & when mothers moved to the belfry called mothers 2, i saw the who there for 10 shillings with a curry supper" Bob parkin 16/06/2019

"Does anyone remember the Merika (spelling?) in Acocks Green near the bus station? It used to cost a couple of bob to get in and you got a free orange juice with that. Many happy evenings spent there with a great crowd." Bob Mole 05/07/2019

"I remember bogarts very well was our go to pub after Saturday nights hangovers not exactly a quiet Sunday night but who wanted those in early 70s .I worked just a few doors down from there and a quick lager dinner times and plenty of polo mints after ! Boss didn't like the smell of beer over customers haha. My favoured club was Samantha's over the top of the ice rink ,going skating week nights and Samantha's Friday Saturday nights .Those where the days all fun and no worries . Myself Jenny and Janet who worked in the cloakroom had many a good night their. Sloopys, polyannas, Rebecca's, etc tried them all but Samantha's was my kind of music, great rock music played their. Oh to relive those times !" Debby hudson 01/08/2019

"I recall barry qween of bham.he and i spent many time chatin. While sittin in hall memory i dont no whether he is still around thou not seen him in years" I re.member b 29/08/2019

"Hi, great site. Does anyone remember the Factory down Gas Street. Usually on Wed night, Been to most of those mentioned, Such great times to have lived in and brilliant music too. Was sooooo happy to be alive at that time. Love to all xx" Pauline O`Donnell (nee Evans) 12/09/2019

"Recently found a documentary about the old Bull Ring... Which mentions a ballroom on the top floor? Can anyone help me with any information? Thanks so much. Lois K" Lois 18/09/2019

"brilliant site one club that wasent mention was the Samberro by the old Arches were lot of the maltese use to go meet my wife June in 64 [passed away 4 year ago] at the brilliant West End and we use to love going to the Alamo coffee bar in Selly Oak great days" edwin 23/09/2019

"Fantastic site. Remember so many of the names of clubs/discos from the mid 60s. I worked evenings at West End Ballroom and at a solicitors office during the day. Monday evenings at The Locarno whilst at Brooklyn Tech in '65/66. Wonderful memories." Joy O'Gara 02/10/2019

"Anyone remember the Gigi in Moseley Village - known as the Gig - and Mrs B?" Ann Ryan 19/10/2019

"I remember the Ritz in Kings Heath from the 1960's
Brian on the Door.Remember the Shakedown Sounds who were really good and the Troggs who were not, to young to see the Beatles and the Stones. They served a good pint of Kingpin mild which was a penny more than the standard mild. Lots of characters including Paddy Finn, Paul Davis, Freddy Alison, Phil Mahoney and others. The fashion was mainly Mod. Chicken Inn over the road, and the Rainbow Chinese at that time was opposite the Hare and Hounds." Kings Heathen 16/12/2019

"Does anyone remember the 59 Club in town in the 60's?" Ann Edmonds 26/12/2019

"Of the bus in Navigation street,quick pint in Golden Eagle,onto Midland hotelthen Royal Mail Bogarts upstairs Temple bar and finish of at the Nelson on Temple street.that was our weekend for much of 77 78 and 79
Plus Barbarellas happy days" Terence Marshall 17/02/2020

"I worked in the Matador, in the Bull Ring Centre in 1967-1969.
I went to Elbow room. Rum Runner Lacarno.
Stage Door.
I might have worked in the 59 club but not sure.I came in to work one day and it had been closed down.
They had groups and Some bare Women Wrestling. tell me if I`m right someone. please." Pauline. Worked under a false name. Esmerelda. 03/03/2020

"Anyone know a Scottish girl Winnie Ryan worked as a bus conductress in Birmingham 1959, lived in Lordswood grateful for any info. Tyia" Anne Grant 21/03/2020

"any one remember the Alamo Coffee bar in Selly Oak and the Dummy factory Lewis Woolfe and use to go to the Station Pub early 60s" eddie 15/04/2020

"Patricia Buck answered my question about a DJ at the Locarno called Warren Davies. Contact me, Patricia, at Let's share some memories." Sue Price 21/05/2020

"Trying to contact John Cunningham. We met at the Heartbeat in the 60s and then when I moved to the Earls Court in about 1971, you came to see me there. Contact me, John, at" Sue Price 21/05/2020

"Does anyone remember an After Hours joint on Witton Road called Rudy's? A lot of Musicians used to hang after gigs.
The owner was a Jamaican man." Reider 06/07/2020

"Arnie, is your wife June?" Keith 27/07/2020

"The person looking for the Masque Ballroom it was in Walford Rd opposite the Embassy Roller Rink. I worked with the man who was the doorman there." DAVID SIMPSON 22/08/2020

"Eddie, Fond memories of the Alamo and nights at the Station in Selly Oak. Dated a girl called Barbara Fry there and enjoyed many a good night. Live in the USA now but miss Birmingham" Peter Grainger 24/08/2020

"Used to love The Factory on Saturday nights, Mickey Finn DJ. Met Chris Ormsby who I got engaged to but then we split up. I often wonder what happened to him." Angela Sprigg nee Carrington 31/08/2020

"Loved The Factory in Gas Street in late sixties. There every Saturday night, Mickey Finn, DJ. Met my then boyfriend there, Chris Ormsby in 1969, got engaged then split up. I often wonder what happened to him." Angela Sprigg nee Carrington 31/08/2020

"Hi Tracey, just found this site by randomly Googling Ivor Smith to check out old friends of the 60's and 70's from Solihull and surrounding areas. I recall that Ivor went out to Spain in the late 60's early 70's to run a bar?. I think the move was pretty permanent at the time so unsure whether he came back to the UK." Martin Crowley 02/09/2020

"Hi All
I went to George Dixon's G. S in the 50's & 60's
and I was at the overflow 5 ways school from '60 to '63. A few of us from GD used to frequent the West End Ballroom every Wednesday lunchtime as it used to host a R & R session and B'ham bands used it for rehearsing new songs. No matter what the weather a mac or top coat was worn to hide our school uniforms and 1 shilling to get in. What a wonderful era to have lived through whilst being young teenagers.

dixon's Grammer School in the 50's & 60's" David Illingworth( aka. Dill) 06/09/2020

"It was a privilege to be a teenager in the 60s. Along with 4 other friends we lived and breathed the era. We were mods and like the song says " it was our own of walkin and our own way of talkin" - "we were in with the In Crowd" us girls worked in professional offices in the city centre, every night got Mthe bus home after work and then bus back in for the clubs. Monday Locarno, Tuesday Top Rank or Carlton Club Erdington, Wednesday Le Metro, Thursday Rainbow Suite, Friday pub crawl of The Cabin(opposite Lewis's), Costermonger,Tavern and occasionally the Wandering Minstrel on Smallbrook Ringway. Saturday Rainbow Suite or occasionally Cedar.
We we would catch last bus home 11.00p m. then weekdays up for work in the morning to be back in town for 9.00. I was always late got me into endless trouble.
That was 1966 up to 68/69. Loved every minute." Yvonne Roger's nee Brealey 23/10/2020

"John Dangerfield did you live in Aston like me and have a sister named Linda . Robert Cotterill did you know my best mate Colin Hunt from Aston i think he mentioned you he was a good bloke no great bloke we had some brilliant times in town pubs, nightclubs i miss him he passed away about 4 years ago he was my snooker partner and the best mate X" Raz Ullah 26/10/2020

"John Manning did you work at Severn Trent Water as i did until Maggie Thatcher sold us off to her mates . X" Raz Ullah 13/11/2020

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Birmingham in the 60s comments - archive  
Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

20th Century History ★ Antiques & Collectables

Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

★ 20th Century History ★ Antiques & Collectables ★