Top Twenty Club (Tollbar House, Ashton New Road, Droylsden)

Very popular in the Manchester beat boom but when I visited it towards the end of the sixties, it was very run down and on its last legs. Deserves a much bigger mention as it was a great place in its day. "Dixie's Donts and the Chuckles were regulars there, as was Dave Eager a few years later. I used to accompany him in his bubble car."


We were very lucky growing up in Droylsden in the Sixties as the Top Twenty Club was a really great place to go. I remember seeing lots of groups there including St. Louis Union, Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Tich, The Rocking Vickers, The Orions, etc. etc. Wonderful memories.

Pauline Yates (nee Crutchley)

I spent 2 years as a warm-up DJ at Top Twenty for both Ray and Tony (and occasionally at Beat City too) under the stage name of Terry Lean (Terylene ~ geddit?) at the same time managing the All Blacks. I even got paid by Barry Collens once in a while! I eventually escaped by joining the French Foreign Legion ~ well, the British Army anyway in mid-65.

Terry Pastore - 20/10/09

I used to go to the Top Twenty Club,and I saw many groups there. I saw Brian Poole and The Tremeloes in March 1964, it was bloody freezing in that dancehall that night, still got his autograph.

Saw The Kinks they were terrific, Dave Dee etc, ex Searcher Tony Jackson and the Vibrations - he was good but I remember being dissapointed that he didnt play his Hofner violin bass guitar! Got his autograph as well, couldnt believe how small he was too!

Used to love seeing The Dollies - they were fit, saw the Rocking Vicars still got thei single which was written by Ray Davies.

The Factotums were always on there. Hi there Steve Knowles bass guitarist with them, remember Dave, Pete, Johnny Holden from Fold st?

There was a bit of a con one time when the club flyer had The Walker Brothers announced to appear but in small print below it said their backing group.

Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders made many appearances there.

Even the BBC turned up once to film what the youngsters of Droylsden got up to. We saw it on tv a few days later but it was only on for a few minutes - I think the programme was something like Look North and I think it was done about 1967 or 68? Wonder if it exists in the archives?

Oh yeah I always tell this one. I had a pee next to Mick Avory of the Kinks. I was in the toilet and he came in next to me, and I still remember he had a green shiny suit on. (Try saying that last bit after a couple of drinks).

I loved those days it was magic, my one wish though is I would love to see a photo of The Beatles at the Oasis Club in Manchester or even a pic of inside the club, I never got the chance to visit this beat venue. more stories and flyers about the Top Twenty.

It became the Carlsboro and the British Legion and now its the Starlight Club .. keep on rocking...

Philip Hindley - 30/12/09

Bet I'm the only person to ride a motor-bike round the Top Twenty dance floor. Got it up in the lift and away I went, not for long though and it was only a practice night for Merv's Bardots.

Mervy Horrocks -  6/1/10

Think I mentioned it on another page that we used to watch Mervs Bardots practice at Aldwyn primary school. That guy in one of the top twenty photos stood from the side looks like Steve Knowles bassist with the Factotums?

I remember Johnny Hart well he used to have a garage business on Albert Street, Droylsden, sadly he died about 3 or 4 years ago. He was a nice guy, always let on.

Saw The Applejacks on the Top Twenty, once, The Merseybeats,The Big Three,Dave Dee etc, they went down a storm, they had just released Hold Tight which I still think is fantastic!

Saw Emile Ford on there when it became The Carlsboro Club, but it was cabaret! Keep on Rockin'

Philip Hindley - 13/1/10

How the memories have come flooding back of the Top Twenty, seeing many of the famous groups of the time locally, The Kinks, that was a big event that night, regulars included Rocking Vicars, Factotums, Mighty Avengers, all great musicians. The DJ's also made for great nights, Ray Teret, being our favourite.

Remember Screaming Lord Sutch, and Frankensteins Monsters, but did'nt get too near the stage as you got splattered with fake blood.

The fun started when you got out of the lift, and the daunting Barry Collins and his mother collecting the entrance fee. All the girls used to fancy Barry Wrigley, whatever happened to him ?How many couples met there, and are still together.

Being a Droylsden girl, all my memories are of there with my mates, Mary Hindley, and her sisters Winnie & Marlene, Pauline Crutchley, Marjorie Broadhurst, this is to name but a few.

Once again thanks for the memories. I am not almost 60, I'm 17 and getting ready to go out.

Kath Oatway (Frost)

14/1/10 I first started going to the Top Twenty when it was a rockers club in 1966...I was 12!! I remember a motorbike being taken up in the lift. I never saw any of the bands/groups that were on there. 

For me though the special memories of the Top Twenty was when it became a disco and played mainly Motown. We paid our threepence entry fee and had a fantastic night dancing to all the tunes. 

There were lads from Gorton, Clayton Droylsden all there for the music.

The DJ was Graham Briggs and sometimes Pete Smith. There was a little bar that only sold mars bars and soft I met so many people there including my husband and we are still together 35 years later!!

Happy happy memories and everytime we meet anyone from those days we always talk about them. I remember Barry Collins he used to have rocker cafes in Gorton and Bradford I think one of them was called the Top Ten.

Around the same time we used to go to Slattery's Youth Club which was held in Fairfield Primary School and Splinters in Levenshulme.

I remember having to walk past the rockers cafe and they always wanted to kick our heads in cos we were mods....happy days lol.

As I got older we started going to the Birdcage in Ashton and the Moon in Dukinfield. The Elizabethan at Belle Vue was a great place. 

Later still it was Northern Soul all nighters at the Torch in Stoke and VaVa's in Bolton with many more clubs in between.

I can't believe it can be the same for kids today in terms of places to go and if that is the case they will never have the memories that I have and thats a shame.

Judith Worley  - 8/8/10

Had many good times in Top Twenty. Met a lovly girl called Carol there, she lived on Edge Lane.

Does any one remember a lad called Harry Smith - g8 dancer. How the years go.

Regards to anyone who knows me.

Frank Stelfox - 15/9/10

Anyone remember Billy QT?

Bretta Berry - 15/1/11

I remember Billy QT. He used to DJ at Birch park roller skating rink when it changed into a club. Saw Freddie and the Dreamers there, also Screaming Lord Such. Billy went out with my best friend but I don't know what happened to him later on.

Angela - 29/1/11

I really did have some good times at the Top Twenty and just looking at those few pics it brings it all back, Wayne Fontana, The Factotums, etc.

I can still see that cold March night in '64 when Brian Poole and the Tremeloes appeared they were riding high at the time but I remember the place wasn't packed but it was good ... aah ... memories, by the way Droylsden dunt ave an e' in it. (fixed - thanks!!)

Philip Hindley - 5/2/11

To answer a previous post I know Harry Smith....hadn't seen him for years then he came to Denton Soul Club a couple of months back - I recognised him straight away and he can still dance great - he has got to be about 60 now but has barely changed.

Judith Worley - 12/3/11

I so enjoyed looking at the site today which brought back so many memories!

I am originally from Droylsden and my family are still around that area. I now live in Staffordshire which isn't too far away but I get to 'come back' to Droylsden once a week to visit my mum who now lives in Audenshaw.

I remember seeing the Kinks at the Top Twenty Club and wonder if you knew the exact date of this and if there are any tickets from that night? I looked on your site but didn't see one. The Kinks were my heart throbs . . . . . especially Dave!

I remember the night well with me and my friends standing on chairs and screaming during their performance. A couple of the crowd I was with were allowed into the dressing room after the performance to get autographs . . . . alas I wasn't one of them and missed this golden opportunity to meet Dave.

I've never gotten over it!!

I also remember another night when we'd seen Herman's Hermits and afterwards they turned up in the Moorside Street Chip Shop. We'd called in after the club and was walking out with our eats when they walked in. I couldn't believe seeing them there too!

It would be lovely if you could provide me with the date of the Kinks appearance at the club. Best wishes,

Joan Blackhurst - 18/3/11

Just found your web site,reading it brings back alot of memories of the nights spent at the Top Twenty Club plus the youth club nights at Aldwyn Primary School.

Yes I remember Johnny Hart. Sorry to hear about his passing - went to school with his brother Phil Hart.

I now live in Oakville.Ontario.Canada and have done so since 1972 but still rememeber the good old days of growing up in Droylsden and Audenshaw. 

Phil Parkin - 30/5/11

Our group (The Saracens) had a regular Monday night slot at the Top Twenty in 64/65. Had my brand new suede jacket pinched from the dressing room upstairs (but got it back).

I particularly remember twin girls who came regularly (mmmmmm... nice!).

Geoff Peack - 17/6/11

I know The Top Twenty Club very well. It was the brainchild of an ex boxer/chip shop owner and a ex joiner/doorman. The latter made the double turntable record payer and they advertized it as" The Worlds First £1000 Pound Record Player". Six months after the club opened 3500 people had paid 5 shillings membership fee.

Hope some of this info is helpful.

Brian Wrigley  - 3/8/11

Thursday nights at the Top Twenty. I remember the bikes going up in the lift. Great music. Helga, all the bikers, Janice, Sandra, Lynn... and me.

Leather jackets, skin tight jeans, knee length boots, masses of miners black mascara, hair backcombed and a fringe down to the end of the nose. Loved every moment.

Where are they all now? Big Al, Alan, Mad dog, Canadian Fred. 

Christine Lindsay - 19/11/11

The Top Twenty club opened at 11pm sat night untill 7am Sunday morning, then closed for 30mins and opened again at 7.30 till 12midday for the morning session,always busy, people coming up from Manchester allnighters that had just closed.

Had some great DJs, Duke Ozzie, Clarence two of the best. I was there when cops raided it in 69.I think it closed in 71? Not too sure.

Dave Smith - 7/1/12 

Brian Wrigleys dad was the original co owner along with Barry Collens. Ronnie was a tall ex park policeman living in Audenshaw. His wife used to tell Barry off and reduce him to tears.

Brian was my best mate and he could always pull the girls whereas i was the specky "ugly mate". I lived at the Halfway house pub on Ashton Old Rd.

I was in love with 2 women at the time, June Wrigley( Brian's elder sister) and her mate Jean Stewart, who was the sister of the famous Eric (10cc).

In 1964 when they opened Beat City on Fountain St I won a singing competition. I sang Confessing the blues and brought the house down. When asked would I like to join the Motown Sect as a vocalist/harmonica player I had to refuse, as i was 13 or 14 years old!! Happy days!

Andy Shield - 22/4/12

I was saddened to about the passing of Jonnie Hart. I remember him as the drummer of Mervs Bardots. A massive mane of fair hair, he used to sit with us in the club sometimes. We never had any money in those days and Jonnie used to keep us supplied with ciggies. I gave up smoking in 1969!

Somebody mentioned the twin sisters. They used to work in the cloakroom along with a girl called Janet.

The most popular band at the club was definitely the Factotums. They covered lots of coasters numbers,Yakkety Yak, Young blood,etc. Bassist Steve always fancied himself as a ladies man and wore his bass slung over one shoulder (before Pete Hook was thought of) Nidge was my favourite as you could always talk to him. Look forward to read any more memories.

Andy Shield - 24/4/12

We (the Saracens) had a Monday night 'residency' here in 1964/65, as well as playing other nights. I particularly remember having my brand new suede jacket stolen from the dressing room (dressing room? the room upstairs with the mattress!). Memories are also of triplets in the audience - 2 girls and a boy - don't remember much about the boy though! Happy days.

Geoff Peacock - 5/9/13

The Top Twenty Club, was in Tollbar House, Ashton New Road off Market Street, Droylsden, Lancashire now Manchester 41, Greater Manchester and opened on Friday, March 6, 1964 with Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders.

The owner was Barrie Collens who would later own The Beat City, 64 Fountain Street off Market Street, Manchester 2 which ​opened on Friday, August 28, 1964 with Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, The Traders and D.J. Jimmy Savile (b. James Wilson Vincent Savile, Sunday, October 31, 1926, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England d. Saturday, October 29, 2011, Roundhay, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England). This club had started out as The Three Coins at 64 Fountain Street off Market Street, Manchester 2 which opened on Tuesday, November 29, 1960 with Eduardo Martinez and his Steel Band. 

Collens was also manager of the group The Factotums, who he had seen on Friday, December 13, 1963 at The Manor Road Girl's School, Manor Road, Droylsden, Lancashire. He liked what he saw and agreed to manage them even though the gig had to be abandoned half way through the performance when girls invaded the stage.

The Top Twenty Club opened on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday 7.30pm to 11pm.

The D.J.s were Jimmy Savile and Ray Teret (b. Raymond Teret, Friday, October 24, 1941, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England). The two guys at the time shared a flat in Great Clews Street, Broughton, Salford, Lancashire. Teret also became becoming Savile's support DJ, assistant and chauffeur. In 1965 he joined Radio Caroline North till 1966.

Teret had began work as a warehouse clerk, apprentice heating engineer and a waiter at The Ritz, Whitworth Street West, Manchester 1. Teret had met Savile after winning the Savile run contest at The Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester 1.

John Warburg
13 April 2020



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