Ashton Palais (Gas Street, Ashton under Lyne)

The Ashton Palais de Dance was in Gas Street off Old Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire and opened on Friday, February 20, 1920.

They had a highly polished rock maple sprung dance floor, which was said to be the largest in England, and also the new premier ballroom for local dancing.

The Ashton Palais de Dance was on the corner of Cotton Street East and Gas Street. By 1959 Raymond Woodhead became the club's manager and had a new floor fitted along with a Reigg organ, that had the capacity to play ballroom, Rock n Roll and dinner dance music.

The Ashton Palais De Dance closed in December 1961 for a refurbishment and after a £25,000 face lift was reopened as The Ashton Palais in January 1962 under the new owner Mecca.

It later became The Birdcage which opened on Friday, September 20, 1968.
It later became Wheels, a roller-skating rink with a roller disco.
In 1985 it was demolished.

John H Warburg October 2023

It became The Birdcage in the 70s. We used to watch Paper Lace on there. The lead singer had left them by the time they had BILLY DONT BE A HERO out, the original lead singer used to sing with a false arm (should have used a mike really). The drummer had already took over lead vocals after they made it.

The Palais/Birdcage was demolished sometime around the early 80s I think. I saw The Small Faces and The Yardbirds on there.

Philip Hindley - 25/1/10

Here's a great band guide from Steve Hadfield:

Groups seen at Ashton-under-Lyne Palais. 1966/7 ?? I obviously fancied myself as an A & R man as I made a few comments at the time!!

THE AVALONS. From Widnes. Great sound and entertainment. 9/10
THE BEES KNEES Quite good. Bit gimmicky but good value and good sound. 7/10
THE CYMARONS Lousy as a beat group but very good ballads. Great singer. 6/10
THE DETOURS. Excellent! Good choice of songs. Very entertaining. 10/10
THE FOUR BLADES. From Sheffield. Neat clean sound. V.good guitarist 9/10
THE LANCASTRIANS. Top pop group. Worth the money. 9/10 (seen twice)
THE METEORS Too loud! Give out a great beat though. 5/10 (seen twice)
Mr SMITH & THE SUM PEOPLE. Good. Great sound 7/10
THE ORIONS. Alright but nothing special. 5/10
DAVE PLUM AND THE STONES. Far too loud. Can’t hear them clearly. 4/10
WYNDER K FROG. Very good group. Includes sax, organ. 9/10 (seen twice)
THE STIX. Not bad, but too much of the same type of songs. 6/10
REV BLACK & ROCKIN’ VICARS. Great! Excellent beat & songs. Exciting to watch. 10/10 (3 times)
TERRY KING & THE SAINTS. Good sound, but they don’t look right! 7/10
THE SILHOUETTES Quite good. 7/10
THE NITE PEOPLE. Very good instrumentals. 8/10
IVANS MEADS Very good indeed. Well worth watching. 9/10
THE WARRIORS. Good. 6/10 (seen twice) From Blackburn, featured Jon Anderson, later YES
THE SIDEWALKERS Ordinary. Not good sound quality. 5/10
THE DOLLIES. A bit different, but not as good as a group! 4/10
THE COUNTRY GENTS. Too loud! 5/10
DAVE DEE, DOZY, BEAKY, MICK & TICH Very good. Just like the record. 10/10
THE TROGGS Too loud. Rather drowned themselves 7/10
RICHARD KENT STYLE Too loud. Distorted sound. Not much variety 6/10
DAVE BERRY & THE CRUISERS Professional act. Very entertaining. 9/10
THE MEASLES. Good. Did a comedy routine! 7/10
THE NEW VICKERS. Tried to copy the originals but not a patch on them! 6/10

Groups seen at various other venues
THE MISSING LINKS. Good sound, good singer. 6/10 (Delph White Elephant )
REV BLACK & THE ROCKIN VICARS 10/10 (Delph White Elephant)
THE STYLOS Good choice of songs, but nothing special. 6/10 (Oasis)
REV BLACK & THE ROCKIN VICARS 10/10 (Seen three times) (Oasis)
THE CHUCKLES OK. Beach Boys Numbers. 6/10 (Oasis)
THE MEASLES Very good. Used a comedy routine. (Seen twice) (Oasis)
HARI KARI. Manfred Mann numbers. Quite good. 7/10 (Belle Vue)
THE MOVEMENT. Sax band. Not too bad. 6/10
THE MONTANAS. Comedy group. Take offs of Batman, Goons etc. Quite enjoyable! 7/10 (Belle Vue)
THE SHANNONS. Very good. Girl guitarist. “Lets Hang On”, “Monday, Monday” 8/10 (Belle Vue)
THE EXECUTIVES. Sax band. Ordinary. 5/10
THE ORIGINAL CHECKMATES. Very entertaining. Cabaret rather than beat. 6/10 (Belle Vue)
SPENCERS WASHBOARD KINGS. Cross between Dr Crock and Temperence 7. Very good entertainment. 7/10 (Belle Vue)
THE GAMBLERS. Very good indeed. Sax, guitars, etc. 9/10 (Belle Vue)
BILLY FURY (AND THE GAMBLERS) Very good, like the record. Bit dated! 9/10 (Belle Vue)
THE SCOTS OF ST JAMES. Tamla stuff. Not too bad! 6/10 (Belle Vue)
LEE DORSEY. Not my type of stuff. 6/10 (Belle Vue)
THE BOSSMEN 4/10 (Ashton-under-Lyne College of Further Education ) For some reason I never added a comment on groups that we booked at college.
KINGS THINGS 5/10 (Ashton College)
THE JOKERS 6/10 (Ashton College)
THE SAINTS Jazz band 7/10 (Ashton College)
THE POWERHOUSE 9/10 (Ashton College)
WATSON BROWN 8/10 (Ashton College)
THE ZOMBIES 8/10 (Ashton College) I was on the Students Union and we made a profit of £70 on the first “name” group we had booked.
ART NOVEAU 6/10 (Ashton College)
THE NASHVILLE TEENS 8/10 (Ashton College) This was the second “name” group we booked. We lost £70. So we went back to less risky local groups!!
BAGS GROOVE 7/10 (Ashton College)
THE RUMBLE FAT BAND 8/10 (Ashton College)
MIGHTY JOE YOUNG 5/10 (Ashton College) Merseyside band

The Birdcage took over from Ashton Palais on Friday 20th September 1968. It was my 21st birthday and also my friends batchelor night.

Mike Duffy  - 3/4/10

According to the Manchester Evening News, the Fleur Dy Lyes played here on 13 November 1966
Nick Warburton
26/6/10 I only did 1 gig here, it was June 1966, supporting the Yardbirds. I believe this was Jimmy Pages first with them on bass guitar,. It was an audition for Don Read Agency. We were only kids & its an ever lasting memory, our group name was Blues Action & we came from the Atherton area. We never got paid but we had a lot of fun.

Josh Price - 30/10/10

A scene from the film Billy Liar starring Tom Courtney was shot here in the 60's.

Geoff Chisnall - 8/7/11

Started going to The Palais 1964 or 65,Sundays. The resident DJ then was Alan Garner who I knew from working at Mosley Rubber at Ardwick.Another DJ was The Baron,bit more modern than Alan who was more 50s than 60s in style. Stopped going for a while than started going again occasionally 67-70 on Saturday/Sunday.

Great place. Anyone remember Pete Stratton, Ian Gardner, Carol Tassaker?

Mike Cooney - 25/7/11

Remember a college mate of mine called Jeff Kirk (he was from Dukinfield). He was with a band called, I think, The Fat Sound. They played this place on Christmas Eve in, I would guess, 1965 (might have been '64). It'd be good to hear that they are still rocking!

Allan Jones - 19/7/12

I was the drummer with the Hornets. We used to play there most Saturday afternoons 1965/66ish, great times, good crowd.

Alan Cottam - 1/8/12

Regular bands at the Palais in the 60s were The Hollies and Dave Berry and the Cruisers who i would always go to see, both top quality bands even before they were famous, a great night out and all for about 4 shillings entrance fee "20p in today"s money" not a bad deal eh!

Geoff Kershaw - 8/8/12

My thanks to Steve Hadfield for the excellent list of groups at the Ashton under Lyne Palais and I would just like to make a comment to make at least one entry historically correct. I refer to the entry about The Four Blades. I played Lead guitar for the Four Blades and remember well the night at the Ashton Palais. The date of the Gig could not have been after June 1964. Steve asserts that the list covered 1966/67. By 66/67 I had left the Band, as had, Graham, (Rythm) and Phillip (Drums) and in effect the band had ceased to exist.

All the original Members of the band are still the best of friends although scattered around the north and midlands.

I will send a photo of the last time we all met at WH Smith in Meadowhall Sheffield, August 20th 2009.This was at the book signing of Bobby Knutt. He used to sing with us under the name of Bob Andrews and had left for pastures greener by the time we went to Ashton Palais. 

Roger Bailey - 30/1/13

I remember playing there with my band Hobo Flats. All the girls dancing round their handbags. We went down pretty well as I remember.Think it was part of the mecca circuit, probably through Kennedy St. I always remember a crazy fat guy in a red suit. He had two dustbins full of petrol soaked rags which he used to set on fire as a climax to his act. This on a wooden stage in a wooden building !.Health n safety, those were the days.

Les Crompton - 16/2/13

I remember going here in 1958/9 and Johnny Dankworth was playing. My boyfriend at that time got the autograph of the drummer who was Kenny Clare and I kept it for many years.

Greta Halliday - 19/3/13

The Ashton Palais was in Gas Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire. The club's manager was A. Coulson and the resident D. J. was Al Garner. They also had D. J. Gordon Norton.

John Warburg
14 April 2020
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