Club 43 (Amber Street)

Originally the Club 43 was in the upstairs room of the 'Clarendon' on Oxford Road, opposite Stock and Chapman's. 

The 'Clarendon' was demolished to make space for the Mancunian Way in the early sixties and for a time, the proceedings adjourned to the room above Burtons the Tailors on the other side of the road. I've got a feeling that I might have played there with the Denis Range Seven, but I'm not sure.

I have a feeling that I might have done quite a few things in the sixties but like they say, if you can remember it, you weren't there. Eventually the 43 moved to a cellar on Amber Street which was between Shude Hill and the Co-op.

Everyone thought that the boss man at the 43 was Ernie Garside and he certainly fronted the operation and did most of the bookings but, I think that Ernie was originally the doorman and the man with the money was 'Scrivens'. When I first met Ernie, his proper job was painting and decorating but he'd been a band boy for the Stan Kenton Orchestra when they came over here on tour. He knew all the local jazzers, most of the London lot and quite a few of the Americans. He was a friend of Maynard Ferguson, the high note trumpet man from the Kenton Band and when Maynard moved over here, he at first lived with Ernie. Ernie managed Maynard for a while and sometimes played fourth or fifth trumpet with Maynard's big band.

When the 43 was at the Clarendon both traditional and modern jazz bands used to play there but eventually the club concentrated on the modern stuff.

In the late fifties, the stupid MU rules prohibiting American musicians from playing over here were dropped and the 43 became a good place to hear some of the top American jazzers who were 'doing Europe'. This was often moonlighting on the part of the Americans and I believe that the promoters who'd paid for them to come over here in the first place were often somewhat miffed. The visiting Americans were almost always complimentary about the local musicians that Ernie put up with them, not least was the late Joe Palin, a fine piano player.

Another of Ernie's friends was the great Dizzy Gillespie. Dizzy has always been one of my heroes; he proved that jazz can be great entertainment as well as great art. Ernie has some good stories about Diz which are perhaps best not repeated.

I think that Ernie is now living down South and that he's not been too well in recent years but he's still involved in the business. One of my lasting memories of him is going to his bungalow in Romiley; there was thick snow on the ground but there were beautiful flowers poking up through the snow. Plastic flowers. Another memory is Ernie sitting in with the band that I was playing with, the Denis Range Seven. Another trumpet player cam up from the audience and the two of them performed a rousing version of the Dizzy Gillespie tune, 'A Night In Tunisia'. Unfortunately neither of them could remember how to end it. It was a long, rousing version.

I only have one memory of the 43 Club at the 'Clarendon'. I went to see Tubby Hayes with a London rhythm section, the drummer being Phil Seaman. Phil was not in great shape that night and spent the entire first half trying - and failing - to put his drum kit together and leaving the band drummerless. My mate, drummer Benny Dennis (see my bit on 'The Crooks Brown Band') was a friend of Phil's and used to look after him on these occasions and there were plenty of 'occasions'. Like the time that Phil broke a needle off in a vein and Benny had to take him to A & E. A great drummer but a sad man.

I believe that a few years ago, a group of local jazzers gathered together under the arches of the Mancunian Way on the site of the 'Clarendon' and had a jam. I expect that the ghost of Miss Chapman was on the other side of the road tapping her ghostly foot (out of time) and beaming at 'her boys'. I hope that some of them felt suitably guilty - they probably still owed her for their instruments.

Pete Crooks - 10/1/10

I remember the club on Amber Street. I only went once because I was into the Shadows at that time! Probably about 1963.

I was also into jazz organ (Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff) then and went to see Alan Haven with Tony Crombie on drums. My girlfriend wasn't too keen and persuaded me to leave before the end of the second set on the basis that we would miss the last bus home!

Bob Ainsworth - 6/02/10

I was prompted to find out more about Club 43 after seeing the excellent Jazz in Manchester exhibition at the RNCM during the 2010 Jazz Festival.
There was no mention of Club 43 being at Amber Street near Shude Hill and this was the area where my memory suggested I had seen Ben Webster so I am grateful to Pete Crooks.

I would love to know the date of Ben Webster's appearance.

Also at the RNCM there was a photo of Jimmy Witherspoon along with Gary Cox and I would like to know the location of Club 43 for this gig and a date.

I hope that Pete or someone can help.

Brian Carlyle - 30/7/2010

Very fond memories of the Club 43 and Ernie Garside - who I still used to see occasionally when he came to London until a few years ago.

I used to go to the 43 and then on to the all nighters an hour after the 43 closed, telling my parents I was staying at a friends house.

I remember dancing with Doodyo, Phil Seaman drinking pernod in pint pots, Joe Harriot, Tubby Hayes, Pete King et al. Then later, when it moved, Ben Webster, Mark Murphy and many others.

Wonderful nights. I remember Eric Scriven - particularly his awful teeth!! Great guy though.

Jean King (nee Readman) - 21/9/10

One of the abiding memories I have of my youth is sitting on my own in the company of about two in Club 43 till the early hours of the morning and listening to Joe Harriot blow solo after solo of stunning jazz. One of, if not the only true great of British jazz.

David Walker - 15/6/13

Anyone remember this club? They had great modern jazz live music I used to go with a guy from Blackburn called Ged Cunningham on my Honda 90 motorbike. (where are you now Jed?) . I used to go to the all nighters at the old (Brazenose St) Twisted Wheel until they moved to Whitworth St .All great times

Pete Sansom - 23/10/13

We put on a small jazz supper club the last Sunday of every month at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel in Manchester and call it Club 43. Partly in hommage to the original club and it's incarnations, but also to pay hommage to the Free Trade Hall, which houses the hotel now, and its huge history with Jazz Legends that performed here. Many of which also would make visits to Club 43.We are not trying to recreate the club. Just another incarnation of it and somewhere in Manchester to catch the up and coming today.

The reason I am posting is in answer to the question about a photo and which Club 43 it was taken in. There is a book about the history of Jazz in Manchester 40s to 60s - called 'Keeper of the Flame' by Bill Birch. It concentrates very heavily on the Free Trade Hall and a few other venues, but also on Club 43 and all it's locations. He has over 300 photos in that book. I bet there is a very good chance the photo is in that book. If not he has many ticket stubs and programs - you will likely be able to figure it out from his book. just go to the library and check it out. Literally.

Jo Brown - 19/1/14


The Club 43 was in a up-stairs room at The Clarendon Hotel, Oxford Road, Manchester and opened in 1955. The Clarendon was opposite Stock and Chapman.

The Club 43 was originally opened on Sunday, December 2, 1951 at The Stage and Radio Club at 43 Port Street, Manchester 1 by Eric Scriven (b. 1926 d. Monday, October 13, 2014 at his home in Brooklands, Sale, Greater Manchester, England), who started presenting Jazz here on Sunday nights. The number 43 was etched in the glass front door. Scriven who lived in Sale, Lancashire ran the club for 22 years. In 1955 he moved the club to The Clarendon Hotel. Here Scriven featured the finest local and national Jazz musicians. 

Scriven who grew up in Manchester was the son of fireman and train driver on the LNER Gilbert Scriven and his wife Mary Scriven. He was educated at Wheeler Street School, Openshaw, Manchester 11 and Ardwick Central School, Ardwick, Manchester 11 (or 12). He served in the Royal Navy (1943 - 1946) on minesweepers in the North Sea.

Scriven had started out in 1948 when he set up Club 24 at The Grove Inn, Fairfield, Manchester 43, arranging for sessions on Thursday nights at 7.30pm. By 1950 The Club Reno was set up.

Later the 43 Club at The Clarendon Hotel was demolished to make way for the Mancunian Way. So then the club moved to the other side of Oxford Road above Burton's the Tailors. 

Eventually in 1963 the 43 Club moved to a cellar on Amber Street off Shudehill, Manchester between Shudehill and the CWS and behind CIS. Scriven opened the club with Ernie Garside (b. Earnest Garside) who had started out as a doorman.

Scriven's who was a good friend of Ronnie Scott's was married for 54 years to Maggie Scriven (b. 1937) from 1960 who he had met at the Clarendon.

John Warburg
13 April 2020

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