Mods in Leicester U.K. in the mid 1960s

This is copied from an article about Mods in Leicester in the mid 1960s printed in the Leicester Mercury in 2010. It is the only thing that comes up if you Google some of the Coffee Bars and Clubs in Leicester around at that time. The internet Information Revolution seems to start in the 1990s and knowledge about earlier times appears to be getting lost, or just isn’t there!! The article actually presents a pretty accurate picture of some of the things that happened then and the places that people went to. It complements my post about My Life in Music. The Irish was one of the main fashion shops but it was actually in Silver Arcade which was off Silver Street. It subsequently moved to the corner of Silver Street and High Street and is still there now, I believe, but it’s not the fashionable place it once was. The article also talks about the Antelope pub. I must have missed this totally because, although I remember the pub, I never went into it. I thought it was an “old man’s pub”. The main pubs we went to were the Fish and Quart on Churchgate and the Churchill on Silver Street which is now The Lamplighters. The Churchill became the trendy place to be from 1968 onwards.

Marlon Brando in “The Wild One”

The interesting thing about the rivalry of the Mods and the Rockers was that it was invented by the media. If you look at the headlines they scream out about the Wild Ones! Actually, this is a reference to the Marlon Brando film “The Wild One” which was banned in Britain and not many people had seen it. Brando was the role model for the Rockers though, with his leather gear, macho swagger and surly attitude, to say nothing of the slurred drawl. “Hey, Johnny whadaya rebelling against?” “Whadaya got?” Elvis Presley copied him too in his earliest and greatest incarnation, circa 1956. Originally, however, there was no conflict. In fact, Mods became Rockers and vice versa. It all changed in the reporting of events at Brighton in 1964 and the rest is history! I do remember an occasion at Avenue Road Youth Club which was a Rocker stronghold. I’d been told to give a message by a group of Mods to Dave Buswell, leader of the local Rockers and as mean a looking guy as you could wish to meet. He was terrifying! The Mods were on Victoria Park ready for a battle. At that point all hell broke loose as they rushed out for the affray. Personally, I decided to go home and have a night in, watching telly! It was one battle I had no desire to fight and I didn’t even really know if I was a Mod or Rocker supporter then! I kind of liked them both!

I did eventually side with the Mods because, actually, the music was a lot better and the coffee bars and clubs were much more exciting! And although the girls weren’t any better looking, they were far less ferocious!

Sensational coverage of what was essentially a non-event of bored teenagers with nowhere to go! This is what created the Mods and Rockers clash!!

Turn left at the Clock Tower, head towards High Street, pass Cheapside, veer off by the amusement arcade and you’re there – right in the heart of Leicester’s pill-popping, sharp-dressing, scooter-revving, hedonistic counterculture”, writes Mark Charlton.

Or at least you would be if this was still the swinging 60s. If London had Carnaby Street at the heart of its Mod scene, Leicester had Silver Street. With their tailor-made suits, parkas and scooters, the Mods had a huge impact on the streets of mid-60s Leicester. They’d ride into town on their Vespas and Lambrettas to hit the coffee bars and hear the latest jukebox sounds from bands such as The Who, The Kinks and The Small Faces.

Rows and rows of scooters would be parked up in city centre streets, particularly outside bars such as Cadena, in Belvoir Street, and Kenco Coffee House, in Granby Street. But Silver Street was the real magnet for the Mods. That’s where Irish Clothing store was. That’s where Il Rondo was. That’s where you went to be seen. That’s where their real-life version of Quadrophenia played out.

John Barratt, 60, who grew up in Humberstone, was one of Leicester’s original Mods.

“Silver Street was our Carnaby Street,” he remembers. “I don’t know why but it was just a big happening for us there. I guess it had a lot to do with Irish Clothing and the Il Rondo, and there was also a pub called the Antelope. I think it just drew us to the area as there were places we could meet.”

The site of the Il Rondo on Silver Street. Now a restaurant. The original entrance was where the white doors are now.

Leicester was buzzing with these hip, rebellious kids who wanted to make their mark on the world by dressing smartly and listening to the hottest new sounds. It was their way of getting noticed and making a point to their elders. John says: “In the 50s and early 60s, young people were almost penned in, everything was dictated to them. When Mod came along, it was our way of saying ‘we are human beings’. We were trying to put over our feelings that we weren’t going to put up with being told what to do.”

The Mod scene, with its slick fashion and fascination with black American soul music, had spread north from London, fed by newspapers reporting on violent clashes between Mods and Rockers in Brighton and Margate in 1964, and by broadcasts on Radio Caroline. Young people in Leicester were quick to pick up on the idea.

John says: “The first Mods were in Leicester by 1964. It was sweeping the country at that time. I was still at school and started getting into the music and the fashions. I knew I wanted to be a Mod. When I turned 16 I bought my scooter. At that time, I had a good job in engineering. I needed it. Being a Mod was expensive. You had to keep up with all the latest fashions, for a start. Then you had to run your scooter, keeping it taxed and on the road before buying all the accessories to make it look as good as possible. Then there was the music. You had to keep up with all the new music coming out, plus the wild life that went with it and on top of all that you had to try to keep a girl on your arm. I earned good money in engineering, but I didn’t save a penny.”

A Mod Lambretta scooter not yet customised! This is a picture I took recently at a Mod exhibition in Northampton.

Another young Mod was Chris Busby, from the West End of Leicester. He recalls choosing to be a Mod when he was still at school.

Chris Busby in the 1960s

“I was 14 in 1964 and we thought ‘should we be Mods or rockers?’. I looked at the rockers, they were greasers and horrible. I looked at the Mods, they were so clean looking and smart with their scooters. I wanted to be like that.”

Chris remembers Leicester was a great place to be at that time.

“There was so much going on,” he says. “The music was fantastic, there were some great places to go and lots of house parties.”

Chris was part of a Leicester Mod band called CERT X. Other notable Mod acts from the city’s scene were The Cissy and Legay.

John saw them perform at several gigs in the 60s. He says: “CERT X was a really good local band, really good. The highlight of the band’s career was supporting Cream at Nottingham University.

The music scene was vibrant at that time. Chris remembers: “A place called the Night Owl opened, in Newarke Street, in 1966, which put on all-nighters. I think (soul singer) Geno Washington recorded an album there. Bands like Amen Corner also appeared there. There were a lot of people taking drugs like blues and dexys, and I think that is why it got shut down quite quickly. The Green Bowler, in Churchgate, was popular too.”

Leicester in the mid 60s was already something of a cultural melting pot. Lots of young black kids were mixing with white lads at nightclubs and gigs.

Chris says: “It was a good time. We were friends with a lot of the black lads, there was never any trouble between us – we all respected one another. The only time we ever had aggro was with the rockers.”

The Mods’ cats-v-dogs relationship with the rockers is well documented. Seaside skirmishes at Brighton and Margate and made national news but there was plenty of trouble in Leicester, too.

John says: “The rockers used to hang out down at the Roman Cafe, in Humberstone Road. It was part of the life of a Mod to have problems with the rockers, or Hell’s Angels. They were so different from us. We would roll up at the Roman Cafe on our scooters just so we could have a scrap. They would come looking for us, too.”

Rockers!
Rockers!

Chris remembers one incident: “We were at the Casino Ballroom at the top of London Road. A popular boxer, Alex Barrow, was there, a black guy, with two of his friends. Two rockers walked in, and one of the lads with Alex said ‘you hit my mate’ and knocked one of them flying. Within 30 minutes, hundreds of rockers were flying down London Road on their motorbikes heading for the club.”

There was an unwritten hierarchy within the Mods. If you were particularly cool, you were a ‘face’. If you could not keep up with the pace of the scene, you were seen as a ‘ticket’.

Chris says: “The older lads, who were about two or three years older, were working and could afford better clothing. We looked up to them, they were the faces to us. There wasn’t a rank as such, but we were subconsciously aware the differences were there. We knew the older ones to nod at, there was never any problem between us.”

John says: “There was a lad called Tony Weston. He was king of the Mods to us. He was the organiser, our leader, always coming up with ideas and things todo. We all looked up to him because of the way he dressed and his scooter.” John had a Vespa 125cc GL scooter. “Registration 461 BBC,” he says.

“I’ll never forget it. It had all the gear – spotlamps, a big aerial at the back, a slimline windscreen and so many mirrors it was a wonder it moved, it was so weighed down. I had so many spotlamps that if I turned on the lights without the engine running it would flatten the battery.” But keeping your scooter up to scratch was a big part of it. It cost a bloody fortune. The main place for buying scooters at that time was a place called Readers,in Aylestone. We all went there. Scooters were appealing at the time because you could do hundreds of miles on a tank of petrol. A group of us went to Yarmouth. It took us the best part of six hours to get there. It was a steady run and we only used a tank-and-a-half of petrol there and back.”

Chris had a Lambretta li 150 with green and white stripped side panels and fur on the seats. “It cost me £30 in 1966 and wasn’t anything special compared to some of the scooters around but it was special to me,” he says. “It would be worth about £2,000 if I still had it.”

Another Lambretta. Poster of a Vespa in the background!

Chris also did his fair share of going to Mod events at coastal resorts, even taking a job in Skegness. But there was plenty going on in Leicester. Wednesday at Il Rondo, in Silver Street, was Mod night, on Sunday, Mod music was played at The Palais de Danse, in Humberstone Gate, and the Casino Ballroom, in London Road, held regular live events. Music was the lifeblood of the scene. All-night dances, or parties were often fuelled by the use of amphetamine-based drugs. Some were known as blues, or purple hearts.

John says: “People were taking them because, if you didn’t there was no way you would last the amount of time you were awake for.”

“The main thing was the music,” says Chris. “It was so new and fresh.”

John says: “There were certain songs that were important to us, for example the Sir Douglas Quintet’s She’s About a Mover and Louie Louie, by the Kingsmen.”

The fashion and hair styles still have a huge influence today. Chris has been a barber for 36 years and now has a shop, in Northampton Street. But when he needed a Mod cut back in the 60s, there was only one place to go.

The Who in the mid 60s. My Generation, one of the best records of all time!!

“Everybody went to Ron’s, in Church Gate. It is still there. At the time, there was a look that was something close to how Paul Weller wears his hair now. Another was how Roger Daltry (singer in The Who) wore his, with a parting, although some people just wanted a close-cut, clean look. Mods felt the way they looked set them apart from the rest. Attention to detail was vital. Clothes would be made-to-measure and tight fitting. Shirts and suits would be sent to the tailor for more buttons to be added or taken away, depending on the mood. We’d have bigger vents put in or more buttons put on our shirts, just to make them different. We were always trying to stay one step ahead,” says Chris.

Ron’s Hair Stylists on Churchgate, still going today!!

Having such smart clothes proved a problem motoring around town on a scooter. A US Army fishtail parka was ideal for keeping clean on the move.

John says: “I had a parka and a mohair suit – well, several. We were always buying clothes, trying to have something new and to stay ahead of everyone else.”

Mod parka. A photo I took at the same exhibition in Northampton.

Chris says: “I never really got into the suit thing. Lots of people did though. On a Saturday, there was Jackson’s the Tailors, in Gallowtree Gate, and Burton’s, in Church Gate, which would have queues outside all day from the moment they opened, with people collecting clothes they had ordered, or being measured up for something. Jackson’s was seen as a cut above the others because the staff would offer advice to the customers. Personally, I preferred wearing Levi Jeans, desert boots and a Ben Sherman shirt rather than a suit. I wanted to feel comfortable. Also jumpers with targets on, or shirts similar to those Roger Daltry was wearing at the time. I bought an overcoat from Irish for £22. That was four weeks wages to me. I have still got it.”

By 1967, the Mod scene was changing. Some were moving away from the slick looks and sounds and moving into psychedelic music.

“They were what we called the ‘flower children’, says John. “They were getting in to what became the hippy thing. I guess bands like The Who and Small Faces had become more psychedelic, particularly the Small Faces with their album Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake. I moved on to other things but I have never stopped feeling that I am a Mod. Even now, I’m still a Mod. I love the Mods.”

Some stuck to their cause of being a Mod and others became interested in the skinhead scene, which was emerging in the late 60s.

Chris, a married dad of three, remembers: “I was working in Skegness in 1969 and I could still see running battles between Mods and rockers. I went on to become interested in other things, but years later I was thinking about the look and how much I enjoyed wearing the clothes, so I went back to it.

“So now I wear a Ben Sherman, Levi jeans and desert boots. I love it, and the music, of course.”

In 1979, The Who brought out the movie Quadrophenia. It told the story of the Mods, their clashes with rockers, the girls, the drugs, the parties. The film was to coincide with and widen the impact of a Mod revival, which had started in London a few months earlier.

Chris said it was very true to life.

“It’s pretty close,” he says. “Particularly a scene in Brighton as Jimmy (Phil Daniels) walks along the seafront with all the other Mods. Somebody asks him what the best thing about being a Mod is. He says something like ‘being here, amongst all this’. And it was spot on. That buzz, the buzz of being part of it at that time, that is exactly how being a Mod felt.”(Mark Charlton Leicester Mercury 2010)

The press invented the clash between Mods and Rockers and then everyone believed it! It was propaganda on the scale of Goebbels!

Read more: http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Lost-Tribes-Leicestershire-Mods/story-12092027-detail/story.html#ixzz3FkFGmKii

146 thoughts on “Mods in Leicester U.K. in the mid 1960s

  1. This is a very interesting piece, but I’m surprised no-one mentions the Burlesque on Humberstone Rd and the Peephole on Wharf St.

    Like

  2. Quite right, Pete. Especially since the Burlesque was commemorated in a 70s hit by Family. I think it was quite a way out of town and people of my age and in the article were a bit young to get out there. I knew about it but never went. Likewise, I never went to the Chicane Club or the Latin Quarter. All the wrong side of town and not the places people I knew went to, although I know they were very popular! I didn’t even know about the Peephole unless it changed it’s name to Nautique in which case I went there and used to see and hear Family practice there! Our main stomping grounds were Green Bowler, Nite Owl and Casino!

    Like

    • The Peep Hole had a very good DJ called Tony but we all called him Gobi I don’t know where that came from because the geezer was cool but a few years older than most of us.there was Phil and Big Dick from Oadby.The last time I saw Dick he came mincing down the road with hot pants on.Steph Rayner I think he ended up with an antique shop in London.These were all good mates with Rog Chapman and Charlie Whitney who never got a bit flash even though John Lennon said they were the best band in London they were called The Family. The Burlesque was the best All Nighter in England and I went to plenty all over the country. I could keep reminiscing for hours about one thing and another at least the bits I can remember.We were the luckiest kids on the planet because nowhere else abroad had our mods and the scooter boys who were different to us culture.If we could go back in time and take some of the kids back with us they’d never return.It was the best decade ever,it was quality.

      Like

      • Great to see you on here Noel.Bet Mick Grady if he was still with us would have some stories to tell.

        Like

      • Hi guys just thought I’d add a few bits as I was a ‘scooter boy’ parked opposite the Cadena and later La Bamba? down near Granby Halls just up from Readers Motors
        Some mods had a foot in both scenes scooters and dress/dance anyone remember big Mitch (Mick Mitchell) Pete Clarke , Cloggy to name a few , , some scooter boys called them Toy Town Mods , face at the time was ‘Spud’
        Saturday night at Granby dance studio upstairs on corner of High Street, 130 Club down Wharf Street, El Casa Bolero – Greasers/Rockers haunt. Burlesque of course, was this 147 before? James King & Farinas before they became Family, probably the best group to come out of Leicester , apologies to Kasabian fans!
        Anyone recall the name of the mod coffee bar up near the back of the museum in New Walk?
        Scooter rides to Blue Boar at Watford Gap – mods one side rockers the other?
        I remember the Nautique & Nocturne with DJ Gobi a ‘face’ around town
        Long John Baldry with Rod Stewart at Il Rondo and one lad getting hit on the head with his mic ( he was a hairdresser I recall)
        Peter Smith’s Pit under the coffee bar, I saw Moody Blues there doing Go Now,
        Drill Hall to see Hendrix and Geno, Drill Hall Grantham to see Otis , Lee Dorsey at the Palaise on Sunday, Chris Farlowe at either the Odeon or Trocadero I think
        On the train once with Big Sue (another ‘face’ going to Skeg . Dungeon in Nottingham and getting my parka nicked riding home in the snow in a shirt! University gigs, Loughborough gigs at Uni and Town Hall
        Kenco on a lazy Sunday afternoon,, scooter ride with 2 others to Bournemouth and seeing the Kinks, Riding down Carnaby Street on my scooter and buying trousers at Lord John the early morning down The Lane for a new leather., then home to the Palaise to show it off!
        Just some thoughts from over 50 years ago so forgive any wrong names and spelling
        I still ride a loaded Vespa a bit rage but not my beloved silver GS

        Like

      • Mitch was a great friend. When Donovan played the DeMontford Hall we turned up on our scooters and Mitch had this Donovan cap on. The girls went crazy.
        Great fun.

        Mitch was riding home from the town one night on his GS and he had terrible accident opposite the Leicester prison on Welford Road.

        Mitch was buried in a closed casket. I think of him still.

        Tony Weston

        Like

      • I remember you Noel as a known face, weren’t you mates with Spud (Aitken?), bumped into you at Il Rondo and Palais I think.
        Dick (Oadby) made me a jacket if it’s the same guy, . You’re right about Tony Gobi & not sure how he got the name.
        I rode scooter as posted with Mitch and a few others

        Like

      • Chris what was the name of the guitar shop down Belgrave or Melton Road just past Spence Street (swimming baths)
        I bought my Precision Bass and amp there on tick of course, but can’t remember the name, had to pay the HP from my paper rounds
        Different world then

        Liked by 1 person

      • Moore and Stanworth, I bought my pre CBS blonde tele from there in early ‘65 £123 on the never never

        Like

      • Hey thanks guys
        of course I remember it when someone tells me, i reckon it was the only place to get the instrument you wanted back then, may have been a place up London Road though.
        Yeah Saturday’s were packed and the people behind the counter knew what they were talking about. My Fender Bass was about that too both probably worth 10 times that now.

        Like

      • yeah, Sound Pad on London Rd was somewhat later unless you meant Chamberlains?
        And yes be worth something now 🙂

        Like

      • Chamberlains Chris , sold pianos too?, I don’t recall Soundpad sounds a bit more modern 😂
        Thanks again you guys great memories of a special time short but sweet and live with me still.

        Like

      • Clipped from a random Family blog
        Most of you will know this but I didn’t know his surname!

        “The last-named “Burlesque” is, of course, the subject of Family’s current single and it was back in 1965 that their manager Tony Gourvish used to work the clubs as Tony Esquire (known less reverently to the locals as “Gobi Gourvish” due to his gift of the gab) and sat on the seat of his Lambretta with all the aplomb of a man who had a mink collar to his anorak.”

        Like

    • Just picked up on this great blog from 60’s Leicester. So many memories and posted some of them
      Alive and kicking in North Wales

      Like

      • Thanks Tony, Mitch was a great guy and lived life to the full,went to Il Rondo with him in his trademark target Who top, girls always went crazy at him! Went 2 up on his Scooter to Skeg once and he left me there, typical Mitch, though got me lift back with one of the Blaby scooters, short life well lived.

        Like

      • That was Mitch. There one minute…gone the next.

        I remember him being totally pissed, he been nicked by the police and taken to Charles Street. They found this old beyond one of his pockets. It had been there months.

        So funny.

        Loved the guy and I always wanted a full length green leather coat.

        Russ, stay safe. We must have rubbed shoulders a lot.

        Tony

        Like

      • Forgot his long green leather what a style!
        We must have crossed paths Tony you were a face as I recall, I was very into the mod scene 1964-67, (probably pre Green bowler days ) then moved for various reasons to Butlins Clacton with another scooter guy Vaughan
        I had been in a band formed at school Size 5, but I left school at 16 & the other band members stayed on , I bought my GS on my 16th birthday, a local guy Colin Topliss taught me to ride, he went out with my sister and worked in a fashion shop down Belgrave road,
        I took my bass guitar to Butlins and joined a band there but a big fire burnt the lot!
        I remember Broodly Hoo when Phil Wright started , Stu Milton was on bass and the drummer before Rob Townsend was Guy Morton a school friend of mine and a close friend of Stu’s
        Also seem to remember a band Beatniks,
        Saw Legay a fair bit , could have been massive given the breaks.
        Great times and memories flooding back
        Keep safe and well

        Like

      • I went to school with Rob. Ellis Avenue. He always said I was his protege.

        Last time I met him was at Family farewell gig at the Rainbow. Tony Ashton on piano.

        What bloody great days to grow up in.

        When I saw Quadrophenia Sting reminded me of Mitch. The Ace Face in a full length leather jacket.

        Stay safe.

        Tony.

        Like

      • Yes he was the Ace Face and I felt the same when watching it, there’s was a lad from Nottingham that looked just the same too but name’s gone (I’m thinking another Davy but unsure). He rode out in Skegness when I was over there , with about 50 scooters
        Was there ever a club in Leicester called Oodly-Boodly or am I imaging it all.?
        Tom and Plumb were mates with the guy I went Clacton with Vaughan Patrick from Wigston way
        If you guys are retired I must have done something wrong as I am still full on in this f**kin lockdown

        Like

      • I have IT businesses so very busy with a lot of remote working, planned to step back a bit when I was 65 but that was 2013 & no sign of it happening yet.
        Be ok when I can get the scooter out and gigs kick off again, but for now it’s full on
        Wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger – great song
        Keep safe you lot

        Like

      • just remembered I got my parka, later nicked outside Dungeon Notts, from Wakefields in the old market place, got a replacement there too.

        Like

  3. I had a fully loaded lambretta GT 200 and frequented the Green Bowler, Nocturn and the Nautique. We went to Skegness. We were at the Bowler when the rockers came over and pushed all the scooters over that were parked outside.

    Like

    • Hi Greg, thanks for the comment. I’d forgotten all about the Nocturne! Can’t even remember where it was but I know I went too! I’m not sure, but I may have mixed up the Nautique and the Nocturne. Can you remind me where they were? Cheers.

      Like

      • Actually, I think the Nocturne may have been at the end of King Street just down from the Chameleon. I think the same owner turned it into Mr. Brown’s Sandwich Bar which I believe it still is now.

        Like

    • I was in the Green Bowler when the Rockers pushed mine and other scooters over.The Cafe owner Vince stood by the door to stop us getting out till they had gone.A few of us went round to their cafe (Roman?) and the pillion passengers threw bottles at them and this ended in a bit of chasing round the Town.

      Like

    • Hi Greg,You must have been around at the same time as me….I had a Lambretta 150S at the time and I came up from Reading which was drawn on the back of my Parka along with a picture of a Lambretta.(This too was fully loaded)I do remember a few people i.e Jim.Melly (both from New Parks) and Kathy from Birstall…Ian

      Like

  4. Hi. I now own the Cobra Venom “007” Scoot pictured, and am trying to find the person who had it built at Classic scooters in Nottingham (no longer trading) Where was this pic taken ?? Previous owner ? any info/ help much appreciated.

    Like

  5. The Nautic and the Nocturn were the same place; just inside Wharf St next to the Three Cranes.
    After it closed they opened up again as the Long Ship, opposite the Odeon Cinema in Rutland Street

    Like

    • Hi Bobby ,didnt realise that.went to the nautique in 66 and used to go to the Long ship,so at least i know it was after 66 now,thanks

      Like

  6. I was in the same class at beaumont leys with Dave Buswell, scary lol.
    Spent most of my time int the Roman on woodgate, even scary Bus well wasn’t welcome there. We’d taunt the the bowler crowd for fun, usually two of us would walk in when it was crowded, buy a coffee and leave, could have dropped a pin.
    Saw love affair at il rondo, actually playing their instruments, saw Geno there.
    Best leicester group were Mozzletoff Wednesday night at the casino.
    Great times.

    Like

  7. I am Tim Coupe the first owner of the cobra venom ,you will see my name in the front mud guard paint work.Very nice to see the scoot looking really good ,is it still in the same condition.

    Like

    • Hi Tim great to see your comment, I now own the scoot. I bought it off e-bay from the guy you sold it to & had it shipped to Greece where I live and work now. I tried to trace you without any luck when I first bought it back in 2014 to find history & engine speck. The scoot is still pristeen with less than 100km on the clock. Would be great to get in touch to learn more about the scoot. Regards Pete

      Like

      • Chris nice job. Remember The Churchill on Silver Street. We used to meet up before shooting off to a party.

        Tony Weston Hal C Blake

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Tony,hope your well.yes I remember it well.are you in the states now,?
        Tosser,sorry Tony Dev told me you were there?
        Tony did we meet up at Northampton market around 92/3,Jim wasn’t there that day I believe,sure we did but you know how the pills fkd some of our memory cells lol.
        Great memories of you and Hal C.do you still have the Tele?
        Best
        Chris

        Like

    • Hi Steph
      I remember you well. Had some good conversations with you at the Fuddyduddy circa 1968! I remember you being a pretty good guitarist as well. Jelly used to talk about you a lot when we met up at the Roma cafe shortly before he passed away. How are things?

      Like

    • Steph did you go on and create Boy? If so I bought some of your stuff when I was living down in Camden for a time I remember you and Jelly (Nixon) in the Burlesque, he was DJ at the time, you were the first ‘faces’ I can recall in Leicester, I was 16 in 1964 so just a kid and just got my scooter, where did 50+ years go?

      Like

      • Hey Russ

        I remember Boy. Wasn’t the McClarren and Vivian Westwood???

        Tony (Hal C)

        Like

      • Hi Tony I recall Steph going to London and later getting into the fashion scene and punk culture, I think he set up Boy Clothing and maybe with those ‘names’ , he was always into his sense of style

        A quick question is there an archive of the Mod exhibition from 2019 at the New Walk Museum, wouldn’t mind a look at that.

        Like

      • Chris

        Thanks. Steph was ahead of the curve. Still can’t believe about Paul Smith.

        When you got to know him he was a pussycat.

        Like

      • Tony
        I’m glad you found the good side of Paul,Angie Pollock an old friend of us both saw that in him too, I caught a glimpse when 1 in the morning police were harassing me as I was a target for the drug squad and they stopped me down high st, Paul came along and told them to fuck off and let me stay at his mum and dads that night and made me egg and toast next morning,lol, Did you ever meet Ricky Millar in Skegness?
        Safe
        Chris

        Like

      • Chris

        I cant remember the name. I had a shop in the High Street…Bogeys…74 to 81..

        Knew a lot of the folks. Most of them into Northern Soul, Wigan and Cleethorpes. Made a lot of baggies for them.

        Tony

        Like

      • Tony
        Chris Epton was a good friend then and we’ve kept in touch, last saw him in Skegness 2013.I worked the donkeys with him ‘69, are you not on Facebook?if not why not? Lol

        Like

      • Working in the software industry and on the phones all bloody day, Facebook never appealed. Linked In I’m on. Get on and send me a link.

        You know I can’t believe our lives crossed and touched so much. Weird. You ended up in the industry too?

        Best of

        Like

      • Gonna order the book tonight it’s on Amazon, would have liked to see the exhibition when it was on and will visit the link. Thanks for the pointers

        I posted before, there was a mod coffee bar in the street running alongside New Walk. , can’t remember it’s name but I remember me & Mitch there a couple of times had a really good juke box of our music

        Like

      • Found the road Princes Road Backways but I don’t recall it being that name and can’t remember the name of the coffee bar
        Anyone remember Kenny from Francis Motors on Uppingham Road first kid I recall turning up in a customised mini really sharp dresser

        Like

      • Sounds right to me Chris, memory I have was Georgie Fame always playing on the box & Mitch ‘blocked’ sat on the step, 😊

        Noticed you got pulled by drug squad , was it a tarty young girl ? I saw her operating in the coffee bar under Lee Street car park back of the Palais, harassing some poor sod,

        My books’s on its way thanks

        Like

      • Russ
        No I was talking about in Skegness where I lived for a couple of years,got done eventually ,made the Leicester Mercury,I tried to arrest a copper,been on green and clears for 2 nights and was paranoid, he had a walk-in talkie with cello tape around it hence thought he was false copper so told him I was going to arrest him, unfortunately one of those tiny 7wt vans came along and arrested me lol.
        Tony Paul was well into the drugs at the time.

        Like

      • There was a Leicester band called Spring end of the 60’s when I came up from Clacton, never saw them though.
        Did see The Action at Boat Club in Nottingham and anyone remember a band called Fleur de Lys at Il Rondo

        Like

      • Hey Russ,

        Played a couple of times with Spring supporting us. The Action what a band the Il Rondo?

        The boat clubs, great nights. Played them too.

        saw Zoot Moneys Big Roll Band there.

        Romberg Wynder K Frog ?

        Mitch put his Hammond organ on his shoulder and carried it upstairs at the Burlesque.

        What a guy.

        Take care.

        Like

      • Hi Chris thanks to you and Tony for the link to Shaun’s books, half way through one now & realise I should have read it sooner as it answers a lot if my questions. Now I’ve seen your picture I remember you and did see you play abs on your scooter. I remember Tom introducing me to a girl down Ashleigh Road Aileen , I also went out with a Kathy from down Wilberforce Rd (your knack of the woods) I crashed my scooter in the Narborough Rd South dual carriageway when it was built too. Went to the Roxy with a girl from work a couple of times.
        As a barber did you know Graham Penny who set up Stag and Steve Wain? I was good friends with them when I came back to Leicester in 70’s

        Like

      • Hi Tony, thanks to you and Chris I have got Shaun’s books and reading one which I should have done sooner to answer my questions. It all comes back and so vivid when you read it, Chris’ bit about the life as a Mod is pure Quadrophenia and nails it, as you said you couldn’t make it up, it really did happen. Due to the passage of time I hadn’t put Otis and Hal C in context (although I knew it at the time), but of course you were not Tony to me! I can see you on your scooter and having seen the band picture I recognise you too and of course sat opposite the Cadena with Mitch and others – John, Frank etc just floods it back. I’ll probably give it a rest for a bit having got over excited, a couple of blues should sort me, lol

        Like

      • Russ

        It takes a while to clear the fog. Sean did another great book on the sixties and the music.

        High Flying Around.

        Chris I remember from the Churchill of all places and never connected him to smashing the TV set at the Casino until he mentioned it.

        Those times were magical and I feel sorry for the kids today. Nothing like the times we had.

        Stay safe.

        Like

      • http://jackthatcatwasclean.blogspot.com/2011/10/lost-tribes-of-leicestershire-mods-by.html?m=1
        This was the original article from the illustrated chronicle 2010.aMark Charlton from the Mercury asked me to say a bit about my memories.
        I remembered I’ve still got my blue knee length leather bought from Irish in 65. Came in blue black Martin or green, about £22 . I still wear it from time to time.
        Otis. I remember clearly you riding down Churchgate on your Vespa,looked ace. Made my LI 150 look a pile of crap lol.
        Also parked outside Cowlings across from Cadena and Alex Barrow pulls up in his big Yankee car a hooker on each arm lol. Brill

        Like

    • Hi Charlie,i dont recall your name but if you were a regular there our paths must have crossed because if i wasnt playing in the band i would be in the Bowler,any old photos from back then ?

      Like

      • Hey Chris
        The old days. . .
        I bought that Telly from the lead guitarist in the Bow Street Runners for 68 Quid. He had gotten it from Eric Clapton. I swapped it for a strat.
        Great days. Never thought they would remain so fresh.
        Tosser and some of the band stay in touch. I moved to the States in 93. I did bump into Rod Stewartbut we did not talk. He was always having around town at the Burlesque and the motorway cafe.

        Like

      • Hi Tony,great to hear from you.are you on FB?amazing re the Tele history.Tony tells me if hes spokedn to you,hes in mexico at the mo.anyway if your on FB hope to see you on there.
        all the best
        Chris

        Like

      • Lol no Tony,I’m talking about Skinhead Paul Smith from Skegness,originally from Sheffield and not someone to cross 🙂

        Like

      • Wow, yea he is also a great guy. We had a shop that made clothes for the Wigan and Cleethorpes Northern Soul guys. Another set of happy days. Seems fashion, and music go hand in hand.

        Like

    • Hi Charlie, I remember you. You used to live on the St Matthews Estate in Leicester didn’t you. Regards and best wishes Steve

      Like

  8. Wow, there’s a few names there I forgot. The Nocturne, The Fuddyduddy. Here’s two more I don’t see mentioned. The Latin Quarter on Belgrave Road near Abbey Park Road and Alex Barrow’s The Roaring Forties club near London Road Station. The Roaring Forties was probably inspired by the short period Family changed their name to to The Roaring Sixties, itself most likely inspired by the film Bonnie and Clyde. Alex Barrow used to play bongo with The Farinas/Family from time to time. There’s a bit more on the late ’60s in Leicester on my blog.
    https://bryanhemming.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/old-bones-put-leicester-on-the-world-map/

    Like

    • The Latin Quarter was small and we played there. We were down there to see Solomon Burke. in those days visiting Americans had to have equity musicians. A Scottish band called Clockwork Orange backed Burke. The was a definite organ sound present and we followed the leads to a back room, an old changing room and there playing away was a guy that looked like a schoolboy. He wore great and a small school tie and had short back and sides.

      I asked the lead guitarist who he was. They said the stage was so small they had to put him in the back and he didn’t get on with him. He said his name was… Reg…Reg Dwight.

      A few years later I saw him singing his first song on tv. He was called Elton John then.

      A lot of mention of places. What about bands like Fearns Brass Foundry… Duece Coup…

      Tony Weston. Hal C Blake

      Like

      • Loved Deuce Coup,great harmonies. Paul Smith died 2013. Mod exhibition is good,you would love it

        Like

      • Please,please, does anyone out there remember the name of the nightclub that was situated near the old Provincial Garage, Uppingham Road, Kitchener Road area? It was there mid to late sixties. I think the opening band was the Animals and I do know that Pink Floyd played there before they were well known.

        Like

      • We were the resident house band, along with Ten Years After. It was the 5th Dimension.

        Tony Weston. Hal C Blake.

        Like

      • Hey Tony, I was there that night, and if I remember correctly, and it was the same night, it was Bluesology backing Solomon Burke. He was incredibly late as their kit got stuck on stage at Clouds, Derby I think. Tried to talk to the band, and all were amicable, apart from one obstreperous person; guess who? lol.

        Like

      • Hey Fred. That’s the night. He was an asshole then and has not changed. He was down the BlueBoar one Saturday after a gig and he crying eyes out because his boyfriend, one of the saxophone players in Geno’s band had blew him out.

        What unbelievable days.

        TonyW

        Like

      • Only got to 5th Dimension once, in 1967, went to watch Herbie Goins as Id’ seen them before and a bit of a cult following, did you support them on this gig Tony, I never got to go there again though.
        my book’s just arrived too!

        Like

      • Russ

        No we did not. We were the resident Sunday night band every two weeks. I was stopped coming off M1 by the guys from Pink Floyd, Waters and Sid Barret. They were playing the 5th Dimension. Took them there and went back later. We had great night partying. Great guys.

        What a fun night.

        You just can’t make this shit sound real. But it was.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi, Someone on here mentioned the Peep Hole Club Wharf St Leicester.
    Yes I can remember going to it in 1963 or 64; It was a terraced house down Wharf St on the left hand side maybe 250yds from the Three Cranes. Everything
    painted black, no lights only dim light over the DJ Tony Gobi who was shit faced as usual and he had just got Al Capone by Prince Buster which he played every other record. A great time but got me loads of trouble with my parents as my elder sister spotted me coming out in the morning and told my parents. The Burlesque on Humberstone Road was also a great place while it lasted, its now a petrol station. What was the name of the Beatnick place just down Churchgate on the right or was it Bond Street? Cant remember but they wouldn’t let me in. Also I went to the Back Door Club somewhere around Albion / Chatham St in a pub but again cant place it now as it was 63, 64, 65 ish. Regards to you all John

    Like

    • Bryan,was the roaring forties where an everton supporter got killed about 67? so the House of Happiness was around the corner from the station?

      Like

    • The beatnik place you mention was probably in Bond Street, opposite the Bond St Working Mens’ Club. Forgot the name. The back door club was upstairs in the De Montfort, Wellington St. So called because the entrance was around the back and up fire exit stairs

      Like

  10. Yes I saw Geno Washington in The Peephole Club, I seem to remeber it was in an old house scheduled for demolition, My brother in law to be Scots Jim Rosen ran it. I was there with Andy Doolin. good old days. My brother Bob Sutton used to flog his striped tank tops around the Churchill and Il Rondo from the back of his Reliant Robin. Talking of Rockers what about the Castle Cafe!!

    Like

  11. Jim Roseman worked at the Peephole, seem to remember Geoge the hairdresser was doing the entrance at the Burlesque. Farinas playing at the Casino, late night picture shows at the Cameo High Street.
    Everyone just mooching about from clubs to coffee shops and back ,

    Like

  12. I enjoyed reading Kenny Wilson’s blog as I too grew up in the 1950s/1960s and lived in the Knighton area. In my teens I played rhythm guitar and sang vocals in a group called the Three Quarters the line up of which was Pete Gumley, myself Gareth Mills and Johnny Haynes. Pete played lead guitar and Johnny was on percussion. We mainly played Shadows instrumentals. Is the Pete Gumley who replied to Kenny’s blog the Pete Gumley I used to play with in the 1960s ?

    Like

  13. Anybody at the Stax Roadshow at Granby Halls. Booker t, The markets, Aurthur Connelly, Carla Thomas, Sam and Dave and Otis Reading.

    Incredible night.

    Tony (Hal C)

    Like

      • Nice to hear from you. I’m great. How’s things back home?

        Did you get to the Ike and Tina Turner Review at the Granby Halls too? Fabulous night.

        Like

      • Emigrated to the US 26 years ago. What a brilliant move. They love the Brits and my career took off. Retired now. What a life. Funny thing we were asked to open for the Stax show at the Granby Halls, I turned it down. How could we go on doing Booker T and Otis Redding covers when the real thing, my heroes were up next and in the wings.

        What a time the late sixties were in Leicester.

        Like

    • What about Steam Packet ( Brian Auger, Rod the Mod etc) also same gig with Arthur Brown (with his head on fire) Cream & local band Broodly Hoo! Phil on vocals /brass, his dad had electrical shop on Green Lane Road

      Like

    • Tony did you do a gig Peterborough way in 67 or 68, my sister lived over there by then and went to see Peter Green and she says there were some Leicester bands on but can’t remember who they were ? I was down in Clacton by then I think.

      Like

      • Russ

        Yes. Whittelsey. Fleet wood Mac, Fairport Convention. Check it out on ukrockfestivals.

        The Move, Amen Corner. Great couple of days.

        Like

      • Thanks for that Tony, she’ll be pleased to hear she remembered right, I’ll have a look at that link. How did a big gig like that end up out there in the sticks. We did live in funny times though.
        Did you ever support Chris Farlowe, he was the first band when the Nite Owl opened around Christmas 66, I was there and at a few others too.
        In answer to earlier yes I do remember Wynder K Frog saw then at Nite Owl and at Clouds Derby

        Like

      • Hey Russ

        No never supported Chris Farlowe. Did support Eddie Floyd, Alan Bown, Jimmy James at the Nite Owl.

        You think back and how many superstars played the same gigs, too many. Rod Stewart still owes me for a bottle of whiskey…

        The George Ballroom Hinkley another great spot. Saw the Who the Saturday after their first Ready Steady Go spot were they smashed their equipment.

        Wow.

        Like

  14. Just seen this site! Wow! I was a big Il Rhondo fan… lived at Thurnby Lodge .. my sister and I used to walk 8 miles home after a great nite in Leicester… Hazel and Barbara Shewring… we were good friends with Jim and Terry Gannon.. but in those days, a lot of people were ! Brilliant memories xxx

    Like

      • I lived in Goodwood and walked home from the Rag Balls at Granby Halls not as far though, used come through Charnnie passed Paddy’s Swag Shop, laughing all the way

        Like

  15. Hi Russ
    Yes saw that Corn Exchange gig. seem to remember it was afternoon sat?
    Kenco Cadina Green Bowler Chameleon scooter,Do you remember Tom and Plumb, rode SX200? I used to cut Mitch’s hair, what happened to him?

    Like

      • HinTony,
        I must be thinking of another Mitch who worked at the BU, often wore a green leather,tall lad dark hair looked a little like John Entwistle..
        Yes was a hairdresser from ‘74-2018
        How you doing. Must ask you. Were you still with Hal-C at a gig Frollicking Kneecap Xmas eve snowing your van broke down and you all had to hitch a ride back home, my band was on also and iPad and Gray Morris had an altercation with your bassist John Savage lol

        Like

      • Yes I remember being stuck outside Great Glen and we walked home in the bloody snow. Left the van.

        Everything is good and staying safe. How are you. As soon as this crap is done I will be coming over so Tosser and the old band will get together . You’d be welcome. What a night, parkas and old mods…

        You can still recognize them, it’s the old haircuts.

        Nice one Chris.

        Tony (Otis)

        Like

    • It was a Saturday
      Yes I remember Tom (Hunt)?) & Plumb rode with Dick Hollis another madman. and Mini (Marsden?)
      If I’m remembering the right guys, so many come back to me
      You must have been a decent hairdresser as Mitch was very fussy about how it looked. See the other post from Tony about Mitch’s sad passing.

      Like

      • Hi Russ and Tony(Otis)
        Russ it was a different Mitch,I realised when sadly Tony mentioned his early passing. I didn’t take up the scissors till ‘74, Still wonder what happened to the Mitch I’m referring to.Yes it was Tom Hunt with Plumb.I also in very later years had a guy come to my barber shop asking if I knew how to get hold of a guitarist from the Beatnicks, this guy was the bass and was writing a book.anyhow I then cut his hair for about 2 years but sadly he died and he never finished the book.Russ !I know Tony from his Band Hal C Blake,my band Cert X,later Vrpfranie often did gigs together, Tony do you remember at the Casino London Rd,I smashed a telly with an axe and cut straight through I think a speaker lead or maybe guitar lead of HalC’s.those rag ball Granby Hall gigs with The Who usually topping the bill were great. My mate asked Jon Entwistle to give him his union jack jacket as Hohn passed to the bar,he told him to fuck if lol.Tony do you remember we met at Northampton mkt ‘93, Jim wasn’t with you that day.and that girl from Skegness surname Smith you went with was the sis of the real hard case Skin Paul Smith,you got away with that,I’ve seen him take some tasty lads down with one habpnd behind his back.
        Who was in the Palaus in a Sunday when we heard tragic news on a mod lad getting killed coming back on a ride to Skegness,must have been ‘66?
        Saw Danny Norman in Town the other day,he’s still got a good head of moddushky cropped hair.
        Be good to see you Tony if you get back to leicester.
        Happy days

        Like

      • Hi Chris
        Mitch was a big lad and had an Entwistle look but more a Moon the Loon, his on/off girlfriend Jenny used to nurse him through Sunday ‘come down’
        The scooter lad killed wax with me that morning in Skeg and , was coming back to see his girlfriend Sheila Hit a fire engine head on at Wainfleet double bends , police rousted us on the seafront to go and identify him, bad scene, , he was Mick? from up Scraptoft way and we all went to his funeral
        Some Bad times as well as good , I think I remember Pete Smith could be a nasty bugger

        Like

      • Russ, weird that both Mitch’shad the entwistle look,tall and long green leather,I worked the donkeys in Skegness 69/70/ stayed winter ‘71 ,.big amphet scene over that time, did you work in Skegness too? It was Paul Smith ,originally a Sheffield lad and Chris Kirk Ricky Millar Pedro Smalley etcetc were the gang, great days.

        Like

    • We’re you ever at Moto Baldets in Northampton, I remember meeting a Chris there when getting some chrome for my GS that Readers couldn’t get?
      Tom lived down Narborough road way j think, went to a new year party in a girls house with him and others Dick set the house on fire , by accident I think.
      What was the little clothes shop opposite Lewis’ next to Bell Hotel, I bought some stuff there that The Irish hadn’t got

      Like

      • Yes Tom lived off Hinckley Rd ,used to go in the Modena before heading to town.no I lived in Northants for a year but that was 92/3 ,I lived Evesham Rd back in 60’s near the Roxy
        Where area did you live,

        Like

      • Just seen a very old photo and the little clothes shop in Humberstone Gate was also the Irish (must have been part of the Silver Arcade setup, ) I bought a leather Levi jacket there , still fits like a glove 😊 I wish,
        Mad Dick put a pair of trousers under his own in the changing room and walked out, got away with it too!
        Pub next door was Admiral Nelson which served me at 16!
        I had a girlfriend in Loughborough (cousin to Chris Hawker a mod girl from Leicester,) used to meet at a coffee bar on the corner of Leicester rd and Ashby rd & get chased off by Loughborough greasers , gotta laugh now.

        Like

    • Chris

      Yes I remember. The Casino you guys borrowed our kit and Ray Percival rushed over to tell me you were smashing up the tv. I remember you had a nasty cut from the screen explosion.

      Northampton I remember. Now I’m putting names to faces. Is Jimm still going? He had a heart attack years back.

      That Paul Smith. I was with his sister for eleven years. He was a hard case but he was older than the mod days I would have thoughtand hung out local. Hard but we got on on.

      I bet you knew him from the days you were there.

      Take care dude, you nearly gave me a bloody heart attack with the TV stunt. Bless Carl Wayne and Ronnie Wood.

      Tony

      Like

      • Hahaha Tony
        Yes fun wasn’t it.
        In fact Paul Smith was younger by about 2 years than us.
        Him and Chris Kirk were the 2 skinhead leaders of the Skegness skins but this was only from 70/72 then as you know it faded and most of us started to grow our hair again lol.
        I spoke to Jim 2 years ago ,was supposed to meet him at the New walk Museum Mod exhibition but we missed each other.
        He’s doing ok though.
        If I remember my Marshall cab went flying that night too lol.
        I looked Paul up in Skegness 2013,sadly missed his death by a few months. Did you know any other Skegness lads back then?
        PS. Anybody here on Facebook,if so please send me a friend request

        Like

  16. Was the lad killed at Wainfleet’s girlfriend called Sheila Murray.I was in the Palais when she came crying telling me and they played a tune for him after announcing it

    Like

    • Not sure of her last name but she was from around County Arm Blaby area.
      I lived up on Goodwood , Uppingham Road & Evington area, then hit a flat off Highfield Street (very rough). I remember being with Tom in Modena and Chucky In for late nite faggots & peas!
      I came back at the end of 1st season, but all seemed to have changed in those few months or maybe I changed? Got in a bit of bother nothing too serious and went back to Butlins. They kept me on full time and I did a stint Skegness & at most camps ending up at Bognor Regis
      Just for interest I saw Geno live in Liverpool fairly recently same show great stuff! We also have an old rock club Tivoli Buckley, local bands, tributes and old rockers, best show was From the Jam with Bruce Foxton one of the best bass players ever, I know second wave mods but all the local scooter boys and mods still turn up, like a Night Owl gig.

      Like

      • That would be good to know. Dick was also a great character and wild man. Him and Plumb were always around the Cadena.

        Chris stay safe. Let us know if their were two Mitchs who crashed away. Sounds very much like it.

        Tony

        Like

Leave a Reply to Kenny Wilson Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s