Tow Bar Inn (Nethertown)

Nethertown is a small coastal village (or was, perhaps its now a huge Wimpey Estate) in Cumbria. If I remember correctly, it boasted a shop, a pub and a barren rocky beach. Nethertown is close to Eggremont famous (or perhaps, infamous) for its Gurning competition - the art of face pulling.

The caravan site was home to the Tow Bar Inn. With its curved roof and small bar and stage, it didn't look like much of a gig on first visit. However, come opening time, coaches from all around filled the carpark and the place was packed.

Prior to the place being "modernised" about 1970, the ceiling was covered in posters designed by Kenny Hughes - used to advertise bands from the early '60s. Many of Manchester's top sixties bands featured on those homemade, yet highly decorative, posters. Sadly, the posters were destroyed following a refurbishment in 1977.

You name the band - they will have done the Tow Bar Inn (Stranglers, Black Sabbath, After the Fire, Ultravox, etc, mention the club on their websites)


We used to play here with Powerhouse quite often, usually en-route to Scotland. We normally stayed in a caravan or chalet then travelled on the following day. I recall one time we finished the gig and asked the guy in charge if the bar had a "Lock in".

The only draught beer was Guiness so I got stuck in. Can't recall what time the session ended but I was ABSOLUTELY BLITZED. The headache the following day was awesome and we'd left the gear set up so we had to break everything down, load the van and set off; probably for Elgin or somewhere equally God forsaken.

I never touched Guiness for nearly thirty years after that, honestly. Having said all that, it was a really good gig, always packed out.

John Firth

I remember the Tow Bar Inn in the mid '60s. I played there with the Manchester Federals, and we stayed in a caravan en-route to Elgin. Played in Elgin, Nairn and Lossemouth, and stayed in a B&B in Elgin called Mrs McBeans.

Does anyone ever remember staying there? 

Chris Evans - 7/2/09

My father Don Kernot owned the Tow Bar from 1964 until his retirement in 1974 when it was taken over by my sister Barbara and my brother in law Frank Gannon.

In my father's time we had so many bands whose members went on to be famous in other bands including Eric Clapton, Elton John, Black Sabbath, Status Quo, Emerson Lake and Palmer to name a few.

Kenny Hughes' posters were legendary.

It was an amazing place for a 14yr old to grow up with.

Long Live the Tow Bar!!!!

Bunty Kernot - 20/2/09

We were a band based in the Middlesbrough area called 'The Fremonts' and played several times at the Tow Bar in the early sixties.

We tended to play Saturday night at the Tow Bar and Sunday night in Carlisle (two gigs) at the Cosmo and The County Hall to make a weekend of it. 

They used to let us use one of the caravans on the site to sleep for what remained of the Saturday night after the gig and lock in.

The members of the group were Dave Lewis, Bob Green, Jeff Ellis, Peter Laverick, Ray Harris latterly replaced by Brian Fletcher.

Peter Laverick - 15/8/09

The Tow Bar Inn is the place where my life began!

As a young girl and not from around this part of the world but working in a nearby hotel in Seascale, this is the place where I could let my hair down. I met a local guy there, got married, had two children, emigrated to South Africa in 1974 and returned to Cumbria in 2007.

Now after all these years I work as a the Site Manager on the original site which is now a Residential Park Home site.

I have a huge chunk of glass which was part of the dance floor, which I will treasure always.

Long Live The Tow Bar Inn.

Gaynor Hawkins - 5/1/13

I was working in a hotel in Blackpool in 1977 the road manager from a famous pop/rock group was getting married. We didn't know who it was but I was on the door taking tickets off who came into the hotel. that night. 

recognised Smokie the famous pop rock band coming in. They played the Towbar as Kindness. I remember their poster with a lot of others there as well. On visiting the toilet Alan Silson, Smokie's guitarist, came in and said to me "hello". I said hello back and he said "Where are you from?" I said you probably won't know - Whitehaven in Cumbria. Two seconds later he said "Is the Tow Bar still going and the Cosmos in Carlisle"

Amazeng - I could have fell on the floor. I know Smokie played the Tow Bar after they had a couple of hit singles.

John O Brien - 11/1/13

The Tow Bar was the place to be in the 1968-70 era. I was always there. I remember seeing great bands who are now legends. Walking home to Whitehaven was always slow though as I missed the bus once in a while if I got lucky in the caravans. Best regards to all who are still alive from the Tow Bar experience.

Jim Watson - Whitehaven Grammar School 1969 - 12/1/13

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