Palais (Bolton)

I used to enjoy the gig - the first few times. However, as we seemed to be there very regularly, the interest started to wane for me and, I suspect, the rest of the band. Once we had sussed out the palm trees were plastic and there were no coconuts to be had and the novelty of the rotating stage had wore off, we got bored.

To liven up our night, we used to do odd things - like doing a set sat down on chairs or, as we did once to a stunned audience, open up playing each others instruments. Sounded awful!

But we still got re-booked. We must have been really cheap.

Paul Mlynarz - Phoenix City Smash

I recall our Roadies setting up the p.a Speakers on the outside of the revolving stage. The result...our BIG Intro, the stage starts to turn, Speaker leads are ripped out, stage stops halfway, Stage then revolves back ( with a tremendous jerk ) Sax Player Mev Booth bangs head on stage side, Utter mayhem, then deadly silence ...

Split my sides laughing when I think of it !

Hadge - Santa Fe Reunion.

By far the most spectacular gig we did at Bolton Palais, we literally brought the house down. If you recall, it was a revolving stage and the half of the stage that you left you gear set up on, while th DJ or other band did their spot, was overlooked by a balcony. 

Well, on this particular night it would appear that this section of balcony was overloaded because down it came whlie we were enjoying our break. As I recall, my drums copped for most of the damage but I was able to replace broken stands and fittings via an insurance claim. I don't think we ever played that gig again. Can't think why!!!

John Firth (Drums, The Powerhouse)  - 25/8/09 

Myself and my wife remember with great fondness the fabulous saturday nights at the Bolton Palais when Les Moss was resident band! Alan Haven was the hightlight of the night, taking and playing requests, along with singer {very tall girl whos name escapes me}

This is where Ii met my wife after one of our beer fueled nights out [all my mates from Kearsley used to get the bus from the Blackhorse Pub in Farnworth] and hit about 10 pubs from the Balmoral opposite the Odeon [New Zealand Chief, Wheatsheaf, back to Swan Tap etc terminating at the Peel.

Brian Nuttall - 29/12/10

In the early sixties I started as a bouncer at the Palais, the assistant manager, Barry Keho, figured since I was involved in most of the scraps anyway, I might as well be on their side.

So I donned the scarlet jacket which was miles to big, the sleeves hung down to my knees. I was only sixteen but I'd been a boxer since ten years old so it wasn't anything special, most of the time I was pulling my mates out of scraps they'd started because I was there to rescue them, so getting paid for it was a bonus. After a while I was getting along with most of the staff and the manager

Mr Gooding offered me the full time position of bingo security officer, which I accepted. The hours were from 1pm till closing, I'd set up the bingo equipment on stage, pay out the winners, then clear away everything afterwards, then have tea with bingo caller and band leader Les Moss.

We opened for the evening session at 7pm, mostly pop evenings, except Wednesday, Friday, Saturday ballroom dancing.

My next job was given to me by Barry Keho, he figured I could be DJ as well as light technician on top of my other job, all for the same pay, £10 per week.

Jack Stokes - 19/7/12

Some of the best years (and times) of my life were spent in this fantastic old place. Started going on Sundays and Thursdays in about 1963, aged 14. Would have crawled there on broken legs rather than miss a night.

Met my first husband there in 1966. Soon after the birth of my first child I returned to work there after being offered a great job by my old friend Les Byron, who was the manager there. I got a very generous allowance for lovely evening dresses to wear on the door. Again, working six nights a week into the early hours,I would have crawled over broken glass to get to work.

Many of my happiest memories are of the Palais. One day I intend going back there to try to persuade the present manager to let me have a wander around to soak in its atmosphere. I made loads of great friends who I would love to meet again (you know who you are ;-)) I left in 1975 to have my second child. Happy days! I'm sure when I depart this life my soul will visit there.

Judith Barker - 21/9/12

My dad, Bill McLeish was the general manager of the Palais from 1957 till 1963. My parents were great friends of Alan Haven, who along with his trio, had a residency there. I also remember Les Moss and before that the Peter Leigh Band. My dad's secretary's name was Irene Bickerton.

One other memory of that time was when dad came home one morning soaking wet and covered in mud after helping to pull people and bodies out of the river beneath the Top Storey Club when it went up in flames.

My dad never forgot that horrible night. He always said it was started deliberately.

Although we originally came from Glasgow when I was 4 I still thnk of Bolton as my home town as I loved it so much and was heart broken in 1963 when we moved to Sale so my dad could manage the Sale Locarno. Happy days in the fields behind Crompton Way and exploring the Palais of which I knew every nook and cranny from the basement to the roof.

Bill McLeish Jnr - 15/7/13

Thursday nights were brilliant at the Palais;they had some great groups playing including The Four Pennies. A lot of girls used to go with their hair in rollers under a chiffon scarf with not a trace of being at all bothered at how they looked. In the powder rooms, everyone was back combing like crazy and there was a thick cloud of BelAir hair lacquer as girls competed to get the biggest beehive! Eventually we all made our entrance onto that wonderful bouncy dance floor and danced round our handbags!

There was a guy called John Hamer who was a brilliant dancer and every girl wanted to dance with him, but he only danced with the girls who were up to his standard.

The Palais was a great place to go in my early teens and I have some lovely memories of nights there.

Sandra Olive - 24/5/13

Many great nights out at the Palais on Saturdays and Sundays washed down with draught Double Diamond. Also the Nocturne downstairs was a fabulous disco, frequented by Bolton Wanderers players of the 70’s.

David Brown - 20/10/13


The Bolton Palais de Dance was in Bridge Street, Bolton, Lancashire and was opened on Friday, October 19, 1928 as The Astoria Palais de Dance. It was on the corner of Bridge Street and St. George's Road.
When the Palais was built it was state-of-the-art with a sprung dance floor, an underground car park that could hold 100 cars with turntable to make parking easier. It also had its own kitchen and restaurant. 
In 1957 Mecca Dancing took over the Palais. In 1966 it had to close its doors after a fire broke out, causing loses in the region of one million. The venue was reopened two years later in 1968 as a bingo hall and disco called Cinderella Rockafellas. Mecca Dancing kept the Palais until July 1977 when a mystery blaze wrecked the building.
The final incarnation of the venue, Ikon, shut its doors one last time in January 2012.

The building was demolished on Friday, September 29, 2017.

John H. Warburg - August 2022

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