New Century Hall, Corporation Street

A huge dance-hall with a sprung-floor, situated on the first floor of New Century House. Quite atmospheric despite its size. Resident DJ for a time was local favourite Dave Eager, together with Pete Doyle and Peter Lee. You name the act, they did the NCH - including The Small Faces, Bee-Gees, Hendrix (a very early Hendrix gig - Hey Joe had just entered the charts and he was top of the bill (only just) over Wrexham-based Opportunity Knocks soul band SILVERSTONE SET (with Andy Scott, later SWEET and Ted Yeadon, later LOVE AFFAIR)).

The venue was run by Kennedy Street, so the booking was always good - top bands on a very regular basis. Used to also hold a Monday night session with The Mockingbirds as resident band. Members included Graham Gouldman, who wrote many 60s hits for Manchester bands and formed 10cc.

Known Gigs

  • Sunday, December 5, 1965: Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Friday, May 7, 1965: The Small Faces
  • Friday, July 2, 1966: The Troggs
  • Saturday, January 7, 1967: The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • Saturday, July 15, 1967: Family
  • Wednesday, January 24, 1968: Status Quo
  • Saturday, October 26, 1968: Status Quo
  • Thursday, January 30, 1969: Status Quo
  • Tuesday, February 10, 1970: Status Quo 

"I can remember seeing queues right outside the building and round the corner to get in to see LIFE 'N' SOUL and, in the days prior to the Weights and Measures people getting involved with the agent London Attractions, seeing three of the FABULOUS TEMPTATIONS reappearing the very next week as THE INCREDIBLE ISLEY BROTHERS.

It was always my ambition to top the bill at the NCH which I first did on the Saturday between a mid-week Christmas and NYE (notoriously a dead night) with thick fog covering the north-west. 

It took us over an hour to get four miles to the gig and, needless to say, the place was almost empty. A major disappointment in life.

Another time, Phoenix City Smash were mistakenly double booked with the Staxx Club in Wythenshawe and replaced at NCH by a band called Penny Arcade."

Paul Mlynarz, Phoenix City Smash

"I can recall Lee Dorsey doing a wonderful set as also did Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, The Love Affair and Chuck Berry. The Bay City Rollers did their first ever gig outside Scotland at The New Century Hall."

Dave Eager

I used to go to the New Century Hall and other clubs between about '67 to '69. NCH mostly frequented by under 16's because it didn't have a drinks licence: the original teeny bopper place. Very much a soul music venue, and with its big floor, a forerunner of the Wigan Casino dance style.

Saw many great soul acts, but always remember Pink Floyd (It was a big name band, sure it was the Floyd), completely miss booked. All the teeny boppers left the room in boredom and went to the soft drinks bar outside it,. Pink Floyd did the full "Head" performance, with a big drama smashing of the kit as the finale. The venue was full, but no one was interested, so they did all this to about 20 people left in the hall. Then the soul dj started again and everyone came back in. Quite amazing, but absolutely true.

I saw lots of good soul groups at the NCH, definitely the Platters, The Drifters, - I believe at least one of the "Drifters" we saw was genuine; they were our favourite, plus more contemporary soul acts.
David LeesIn the late 1960s I saw Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band perform, on a Saturday evening I think. The times, however were a changin. Geno appeared in almost hippy gear and performed a rendition of John Lennon's Cold Turkey and not a great deal from his Marble Arch heyday. My girlfriend at the time Carol F, had blond feathered short hair. She had this great black PVC coat, pale lipstick, black mascara and wore black baggy trousers.

I think I had a green mohair suit and como plain toe shoes, hair was never that short but everyone looked like the Phoenix City band c1968. However, we were feeling our ages ie late teens as the teenyboppers, some probably 12-13 ages, in the other large disco had taken over, completely ignoring poor Geno, with a preference to theatrics to Funky Street by Arthur Conley etc.

Wonder what happened to Carol.

Warren Taylor

My favourites were Dixie's Don'ts, who were friends of Dave Eager. At the time many groups were doing the wreck equipment, start fires, sort of performance as favoured by the Who, Creation, etc. Such mayhem not permitted at the NCHall, so when the Dont's did "Painter Man" the paintings were on polystyrene ceiling tiles and then they sprayed them with acetone or nail polish remover!

Far Out, Man!!! Whatever happened to Dixie's Don'ts?

Another memory - that sprung dance floor.. Feeling the movement of it when we were all dancing to, for instance,"Tramp"by Otis and Carla. The little wheelie contraption as Dave and Pete came on. Saw Cat Stevens, Move, St.Louis Union - all for about half a crown or five bob a time, tops.12 and a half, twenty five pee.

Christine Oliver

First major club/dance scene I went to after I outgrew Brown's club in Stretford. Met my first wife there 7th October 1967. Can't remember who was on, to busy snogging at the back of the hall. 

The Who were billed to play there around that time but, being in love with my first real girlfriend, I went to Blackpool instead to see the lights with her.

Used to put her on the 10.45 train to Oldham and then sprint down to the Shambles for a pint before they shut. Thinking back, I can't believe that I was expected to be in by 11.30pm and so was Sue. I had just turned 18!!!

Peter Aisthorpe-Buckley - 10/1/09  

Another regular gig for the Manchester Federals, supported Screaming Lord Such and the Merseybeats here.The hall had a springy dance floor which was pretty innovative in them days. 

Chris Evans - 11/3/09

And this is where it all started! The beginning of 1965 aged 13 and all those Manchester groups - the Manchester scene; Wayne Fontana & later just the Mindbenders, The Hollies, Herman's Hermits, The Four Pennies, St Louis Union and then the shock of my life, couldn't believe what I was seeing, The Move. Came from Brum of all places and wow! They'd only been together 2 months and they got regular gigs in Manchester after that.

God, I remember many an hour spent on those steps round the back, waiting for someone to appear.

Don't remember much dancing - we made sure we all got there early so we were all squashed in at the front by the stage.

Liz Williams - 9/8/09

From the Manchester Evening News: Lee Dorsey and The Black Velvets on 29 October 1966.

Nick Warburton - 26/6/10

Me and my friend Janet used to come to NCH every saturday night. It was a great place.

One night on our way to the hall we were being followed by two scruffy lads (long hair etc ) and they were trying to chat us up. We got to the entrance to get into the hall and scruufy lads tried to get in too ... lol ... they said they were with us. Bouncers chucked em out and let us enter.

A few weeks later we were surprised to see same lads on stage ....they were in Joe Cocker and the Grease Band. One of them playing the drums lol.They kept waving at me and my friend Janet.

Good times hehehehehehehehehe 

Ann Horan - 26/2/11

My most abiding memory was seeing an awesome set from Joe Cocker and The Grease Band, they'd just released 'With a Little Help From My Friends', brilliant.

The soul night discos were superb too, I did see Love Affair, there was the controversy about whether they'd played the backing on the original recording of 'Everlasting Love' and so the band opened by leading with drums, then bass, rhythm guitar, keyboards coming in finally, I'm sure Steve Ellis attempted to vault the keyboards as he ran on stage, caught his foot and toppled the lot, then accidently disconnected his mic as he tried to recover, does anyone else remember that? None the less they were excellent!

Then the sprint for the last train home from Piccadilly.

Howard Jones - 21/9/11

I loved NCH saw The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Andy Fairweatherlow,The Equal's, it was great. That was about 1968-1969, went with my pal Denise Morgan. 

Maria Barlow Steele - 28/10/11

I spent almost every Saturday night at the NCH seeing bands like the Love Affair, Amen Corner, Jimi Hendrix, Geno Washington - I could go on and on. Favourite local band was Dixies Donts. 

Music was always great and that sprung dancefloor was something else. If you stopped dancing while the record was still playing, you could actually feel the floor flexing! A great, cheap night out.

Sue Robinson - 1/11/11

Remember going to the NCH with my friends to see The Pioneers who were in the charts with Let your yeah be yeah.

Sadly they had a breakdown and didn't make it but was the beginning of my love for northern soul x

Eve Fielden - 6/4/12

Does anyone else remember seeing the Bee Gees in 1966/67? I saw Bee Gees in 1966 or 1967 They were very young and were just starting. New York Mining Disaster had just been released and the New Century Hall had lots of new groups just starting out live on a Saturday night. We went as a group, brother, cousin, friends. My cousin and I were the only girls both aged 16/17. The boys were over 18 so we all paid to get in then the boys would get a pass out to the pubs and come back later to take us home. The Bee Gees didnt go down very well and even got booed at the end. Remember it was 1966ish so no electronic equipment. The twins would have been about 17 so they were just at the start of their careers and probably didnt get paid very much. They struggled to get some of the high notes and only had a few songs. They obviously improved with age and experience.

The New Century Hall had a history of getting new groups just starting and we saw quite a few who went on to bigger things later on but they got experience at places like this. We saw Procol Harem and they had just had Whiter Shade of Pale released. It was a great place for new groups to learn their trade.

Bernard Venice - 22/5/12

Just been to a reunion with 20 girlfriends - we are all 60ish but remember NCH as if it were yesterday. We saw Tremeloes, Ike & Tina Turner and loads more - we just danced all night. We used to q up to get in , sometimes all the way outside the building. There was some kind of innocence there that has now gone and I feel sorry for the kids of today that they have missed what we had. I am seriously thinking of getting a dance night booked there. Any interest?? Once more for old times sake!!

Gill Mortimer - 27/5/12

Used to go to NCH 68/69 after stopped going to Wheel but before Sound and Spring Gardens took over Sat & Sun nights. Saw Amen Corner,Crazy World of Arthur Brown and his fiery helmet. Remember one night this guy got thrown out by the bouncers must have been annoyed because shortly after one of the huge windows came crashing in. Everyone rushed down from the dance floor to see the spectacle this guy punching the huge windows. Think he did about 2 more windows before the bouncers got up the nerve to go out and drag him back in until the police arrived.

Special days - wish I had a time machine.

Dave Greer - 4/12/12

I remember seeing Edwin Starr at NCH when his backing band failed to turn up and he did a set with the support band which although was short it was very good. Also saw Jimmy Hendrix playing behind his head and throwing his guitar offstage because it wasn't right. Lots of people left because he was so loud and they didn't "get" him.

Alan Baylis - 11/12/2012

Yes Alan, Manchester wasn't QUITE ready for Jimi Hendrix was it? WHAT a performance - stood at the foot of the stage with our mouths open the whole night-incredible. I am even sad enough to remember what my friend and I wore! Made me a lifelong fan of JH.

Vanessa - 25/3/13

I was there for Hendrix and as a guitar player who thought I was pretty good he scared me to death and I left thinking that's it, I'm never going to play again. Of course I did but I will never forget that night nor the night I saw Procol Harum who were booed by one section of the crowd and ignored by the other. 

You couldn't dance to it so they were doomed before they started.

Paul Bradshaw - 1/6/13 

Can anybody recall the Radio one club being recorded there live? I recall it being on at around 1 o'clock in the afternoon, I think the DJ was either Dave Lee Travis or Emperor Rosko.

Paul Ebsworth - 19/5/13 

I certainly do! My memories of sometime around 69-70 and it was different dj's - can't remember who was live on most shows but certainly remember Sheffield band Bitter Suite (think that could be as late as '70) and also a very Regency style Status Quo doing "Pictures of Matchstickmen" (reckon that was possibly earlier as I remember we gigged Hawick Town Hall in 70ish and they had the Quo on the week before and by that time they were into the denim).

I worked at CWS Balloon St at the time, so a great lunchtime there!

Just a few notes - Radio One club launched in Oct 68, ended in 1973. Think Chuckles also did the "club", as did Dave Eager.

Paul (webmaster) - 19/5/13

Saw The Mindbenders there when Groovy Kind was at No 1, and Harmony Grass in 1970, Move in a Little Closer had just been released. I knew Tony Rivers from Castaways days at Princess/Domino/Georgian clubs. They loved the Beach Boys there ! And went with Nidge of The Factotums several times. 

My band Florida Beach, supported The Who twice at Belle Vue, we only had a 100 watt Fender PA, they had 800watt Marshall. That was the first time I'd seen musicians "out of it" on the weed. Times change eh?

William G Danson - 2/9/13

Re the NCH and the question re Radio One Club - I was working at a small advertising agency in Manchester and I recall most of the staff heading to the NCH for Radio One Club during our lunch break. I think we stayed for half an hour! It was 1968. Rosko was the DJ I recall probably with DLT. It was pretty packed and Nina Simone's Ain't Got No was definitely played that's how I know the date.

Tony Burke - 2/9/13

Just watched Paul Mason's Northern Soul prog, took me back to NCH 67/68 when we'd practise our dance routines at school all week ready for Sat night. Saw Love Affair, Amen Corner, Isley's, Inez & Charlie Fox, Geno, Drifters - 5 bob or 7/6 depending on who we saw and a couple of cokes. Half price on the bus back to Salford we knew how to party! 

Susie Williams - 23/10/13

The New Century Hall was a huge dance hall with a sprung floor situated on the first floor of New Century House, Corporation Street, Manchester 60.

The New Century Hall had a number of local resident DJ's in Dave Eager (b. David Eager, 1948), Kevin Lane, Peter Lee and Pete Doyle (b. Peter Doyle). Eager was also DJ at The Belle Vue Top Ten Club and an assistant to DJ Jimmy Saville (b. James Wilson Vincent Savile, Sunday, October 31, 1926, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England d. Saturday, October 29, 2011, Roundhay, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England). As for Doyle who was always smartly dressed and was DJ on Saturday nights.

On Saturday, January 7, 1967 The Jimi Hendrix Experience played one of their early gig's here supported by Wrexham, Mid Wales based Soul band The Silverstone Set, who included Andy Scott (later of Sweet) and Ted Yeadon (later of Love Affair).

John H. Warburg

 

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