The Princess Theatre Club (Barlow Moor Rd, Chorlton)
I worked as a waiter at the Princess Club in Chorlton during 1963-4. Eventually I had the prime pitch at the front of the stage.
It was hard work and you had to be fit but having previously worked at Belle Vue on the dodgems , it was no problem for me. You were expected to be able to carry 9 pints in the old Dimpled Pint Pots ,which were very heavy , on 1 tray over your head to squeeze past the crowds. Also you had to know and add up the price of the drinks in you head.. a task which most modern bar staff would fail.
You could serve a whole row of tables first and then go along to each table afterwards and collect the money . People were honest and would tell you if you had missed a drink off the bill or forget to collect money for a previous round. Everybody and I mean everybody tipped you well. Usually giving you the price of half a pint, in today;s money at least a quid.Again this is unlikely to happen today.
On stag nights you sometimes had a tray of 9 pints in each hand.
The money was good you could sometimes make a fiver in a night and in those days that was week's wages for a 16 yr old in a"normal" job.
It was situated in an old cinema facing the small bus station and one story police station on Barlow Moor Road.
It was owned by the "Moss Empire" a father and son set up. They also owned the Domino Club on Greymare Lane at the same time. It was a typical converted cinema club but unlike a lot of the small Manchester coffee / bar clubs it was licensed and bitter sold for half a crown a pint and about 5 bob (25p) entrance fee.
They had top acts on at weekend and thriving stag night with comedians and strippers on a Thursday. Coaches came from all over including Liverpool for the Stag dos.
It was very similar to the Northern Sporting Club (Dougie Flood's place), The Southern Sporting Club near Belle Vue and a bit more upmarket than Genevieves (The Old skating Rink on Anson Road) and The Embassy Club: Manning's place where the "turns" and the beer were both bad.
I suppose its main claim to fame in its later years was Del Shannon who appeared in December 1972 with a backing group called the John Mac Flame Band and a live recording was made which was released on vinyl in 1973.
Trevor Booth - 29/7/11
The Princess Theatre Club, One of my first gigs with "The Banshee Band" 1961 / 1962.
I remember arriving at The Princess one Thursday night and not knowing it was a Stag Night, so here we were, four sixteen year old lads and seven strippers, bloody great, We thought! this lot are not going to want us on a Stag night ? How wrong we were, thankfully they loved it. It was only later in life that I realised that once you had seen one Jack the Ripper you really had seen them all, and you were a bit bored and fed up with it, I suppose the band was a welcome interlude from seeing ladies take their clothes off. Fabulous days for us.
In support of Trevor and all the other waiters at most of those clubs, they were incredible guys, with memories like bookies, never got an order wrong and never got ripped off. Pity we don't get service like this today.
David Roylance - Under The Wire Band. And still gigging in Manchester 2012 - 14/4/12
I remember the Princess Club so well. I would be there Friday Sat and Sun most weeks, front row backing onto the tables, I remember the waiter, Jeff, sorry cant remember his last name but he had a nick name (barabas), a stocky guy and a really great bloke. We would arive usally about 7:30 and in no time at all our drinks would be lined up in our usual places, that would be about 6 of us in all and he (Jeff) always knew where each pint went.
They would pull the stage out for the acts and push it back for dancing, ah! we had the best view in the place, I also remember the Ponderosa the cassino gaming room to the left of the stage,and if you were on the pull as most of us guys were then they reckoned the prinny was 3 - 2 females, what a place! we saw many many top names of the time and they and the fabulous prinny as we knew it will remain with me always! rock on!!
Keith Roberts - 11/3/13
I was a regular at the Stag Nights with all my mates every Thursday night. What I remember well were the great comedians, Johnny Goon Tweed etc, The M/C whose name I can't recall was a real Pro, then there were the Tom & Jerry cartoons that always went down well.
I remember the Burger bar that sold the weirdest tasting Burgers ever, god knows what they were made from.
Then in 64 or 65 the Band I was in The Oddments were booked to support the singer Chris Andrews of I'm Her Yesterday Man fame. It was a great night and our singer and Chris Andrews took a couple of the young ladies who had performed that night into Manchester gambling. Great days.
When I was going there no DJs, just a big Hammond Organ and a drummer, at least on Stag Nights. And every Thursday we always thumbed a lift home to Wythenshawe in the early hours. I never got to the Princess on Fri/ Sat/ or Sun, too busy playing in the band.
Rob Shorrock - 19/7/2013
- Friday, September 9, 1966: Episode Six from Hatch End, Middlesex, who included Ian Gillian and Roger Glover of Deep Purple fame.