Heaven and Hell

My clubbing began at " THE RINK " in Birchfields, a roller skating rink that was just dipping its toes in the entertainment water at the time.

Here I saw " THE PRETTY THINGS ", "THE IN CROWD " and also had a ticket to see " TOM JONES " but he got a hit with " ITS NOT UNUSUAL " and bailed on the gig.

The first club I went to in town was " THE HEAVEN AND HELL " which was situated close to where Chorlton Street bus station now sits. In the picture its the bluilding on the left with two upstairs windows.

I never saw any bands at this club but the music was always the thing and there were some interesting times to be had for a lad of seventeen especially downstairs or " HELL ", what with the total darkness and all.

The next clubs were the ones that really turned me on to LIVE music were " THE CAVERN " in Cromford Court where I saw, among others , " THE GROUNDHOGS " (still gigging as far as I know ), " THE EDGAR BROUGHTON BAND " (out demons out !) and "THE STEAM PACKET " with jULIE DRISCOL AND THE BRIAN AUGER TRINITY , LONG JOHN BALDRY ,AND THE KING OF THE MODS ROD STEWART.

Then there was " THE TWISTED WHEEL " at that time on Brazenose Street where I first saw " THE GROUNDHOGS " supporting " JOHN LEE HOOKER ". There seemed to be legends on at some club every weekend in those days. Just a couple of hundred yards away from " THE WHEEL " round the corner in Jacksons Row was " THE OASIS " where I saw a very young looking " IKE AND TINA TURNER " - not to mention places like " THE MAJESTIC " on Deansgate, " BEAT CITY " on Fountain street. MANCHESTER was a terrific place to have spent one's youth - later getting into the seventies the main venue was " THE FREE TRADE HALL " but that is another story . Jim Massie

he Heaven and Hell Beat Club. Wow! What a dive that was! It was situated next to Chorlton Street bus station and is now a car park. It was an old office building and was on two levels - heaven on the ground floor and hell down below (naturally enough). I used to go to school in Rusholme and passed the club everyday going to and from school as I caught my second bus from the bus station.

I saw it first being decorated and asked if I could join (still in my school uniform, of course). I think membership was about 2/6. I went later the same week with my friend Graham Hunt who was surprised to see his old pal Dave Smithies working there and dishing out bacon butties. Like most of the clubs at the time, it wasn't licensed. The first record I heard played there was Little Richard, Bamalama Bamaloo. To me the sound system sounded incredible after my own Dansette. The manager told me it has cost thousands. Downstairs was furnished with double seats which originated from double decker buses and legend had it that much strange behaviour took place there. It was also mentioned in the Houses of Commons when there was an outcry against the clubs of Manchester - I can't quite remember why. I am fairly sure it became a hangout for the Dosser movement (`I'm on the road') and was pretty much dispised by Mods at the time. Bob Cummings

Hi everyone, I remember the Heaven and Hell club very well. I was on the darts team at the Kingston pub just across the way on Bloom St long before it became Paddy's Goose and was taken over by the Canal St brigade. I'm pretty sure Heaven was opened in mid to late 63 as the Greek guy (can't remember his name) that owned it asked me to go on the door at weekends - which I did for about 3 weeks - then realised I would rather be out with the crowd than trying to control them. I remember seeing lots of local & international artists there such as The Hollies, Herman & the Hermits, Danny and the Dominators (I worked with the drummer at Clifford Whatmoughs in Ancoats) and yes it was a real dive downstairs. Yyou couldn't see a thing only the stage but thats what it was about then. Does anyone remember the Green Door on Shudehill, Donovan used to sit on a big old wooden chair in the middle of the room, another dark place from the 60s.

Jim Mason - 29/3/10

My God - I'd completely forgotten the Heaven & Hell club. How on earth could anyone forget such a God-forsaken "dive" as that. You always had to have a good scrub when you got home, just so you'd feel clean again. Yet we actually handed over money to go in!!! We must have been nuts. I'm shuddering here as I type just thinking about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Joanie Thompson - 2/12/10

I used to hitch-hike from Nottingham the Manchester to go to the heaven and hell club , I remember laying on the floor snogging girls Poping pills and listening to loud music all through the night , to us it was an amazing place , frightening to think that we didn't have a clue what the pills was we was taking , it was a bit of a dump but I loved it ....

Geoff - 29/12/10 

The Greek guy who owned it was called George if memory serves me, the last day before it closed he stood outside in tears thanking everyone and apologising for the closure. 

The group who used the club were mixed with the majority being rockers and a sub-culture calling themselves dossers who seemed to spend their time trying to bum money off anybody who moved.

Just inside the door there was a football machine that was a favorite of a big bouncer with a pock marked face and you did not get in his way when he was playing

All in all it was a shit heap but I had some good times there.

Ken Fisher - 29/1/11

I remember it well, used to go to the all nighters. In fact I remember people I knew coming up to me asking if it was they saw on tv when they made a documentory.

Chad - 11/2/11

Hi everyone as we were born and bred in Hulme right on top of town so it was easy to get involved in the Manchester club/beat scene back in the sixties.

Although the Heaven & Hell was a little before my time my elder brother John and his mates went to the Heaven and Hell club on Chorlton Street, facing a pub called the Thompson Arms.

I remember my brother coming home on a Sunday morning around 6/7 o'clock and my mam going mad. He used to wear a beatle jacket with the round collar buttoned to the top and a ban the bomb badge pinned on, supporting a beatle jumper with a roll neck collar, tight pants and a pair of beatle boots with pointed toes and cuban heels (all black).

When he finally arose late Sunday afternoon, being curious where he`d been all night, he said "Don`t tell mam if I tell you" then out it came that he was in the this club called the H&H, going on to tell me about The Pretty Things who were playing there and the puple hearts they used to pop.

From memory Heaven was street level (soft drinks and chill) and Hell was in the basement were the bands played. He also met the love of his life there Shiela.

Finally it was George Lucas (Teeshirt George ) later from the Auto and The Century who was the gaffer at the H & H.

Alan Forrest - 10/4/11

I played there in about 1965 in a band called The Hickory Stix, from Stoke. It was a dive. I remember the police coming round, before which the manager would go round getting the audience up off the floor to make the place look more respectable. We played on a stage upstairs, not downstairs though.

John Egan - 27/6/11

It's funny how everybody remembers it as Dive because it really was. Dark sweaty and smelly but although the atmosphere was bad , it was Brilliant if you know what I mean. Two things I remember about the place were firsts for me.

1, The ultra violet lights that made anything white shine violet and could see through the girls white blouses. Everbody would wear something white at first until the novelty wore off for the regulars.

2, The pass out system if you wanted to leave the club, usually for a pint at The Britons Protection. The doorman stamped your hand with indelible ink that would last for days.

The people went there were great and it was a nice change from the posh Plaza dancehall on Oxford St.

Trevor Booth - 29/7/11

The H&H was great,(although nobody could deny it was a dive). I loved it, because of the atmosphere, music, and good friends we met. We always had a good time there. We were Hippies, and hitch-hiked a long way to get there, every weekend. Sometimes falling asleep in a field on the way back. Great memories.

Dodie - 23/5/12

I am 63 and ran away from home (Newcastle on Tyne) going on the road sleeping in derries. The Heaven and Hell was like a club. I used to go to all-nighters in n/c the h&h was for beatnicks the pretty things viv prince had the longest hair of any band member of that era i got collared and done in manchester mag court for vagrancy i was accused of selling illegal tobacco (duty free)and having passed the evidence to someone through the bars on the window of the underground dance floor i was totally innocent but silly to have dropped my money which did fall through the said window as the bogie man approached me.i had arranged a name of a local pal and managed to avoid detection using his address with the excuse my family had moved back from tyneside cos granny mammys mum wasnt well and needed looking after,the said bogie man decided to take me home as the h&h wasnt the place for one as young as i appeared to be i got rumbled when we got to the area and couldnt direct them to my house they almost believed it was because i had never came home in a car and couldnt identify a bus stop .then when they woke my mother who disvovered i was still in bed.they were not stupid because i wasnt who i said i was in the first instance they got promotion for their amazing piece of detectivity but i remermber the heaven and hell with fond memories

John Fitzpatrick - 16/6/12 

I used to go to the Heaven & Hell in the early 60s. It was so dark, I never really saw what it looked like! I was a school girl at Macclesfield County High School for Girls at the time but in my own mind, at the weekend, I was a starving dosser. Long black duffle coat, unwashed jeans, long blonde hair & "cool". I hung around with Gypsy Dave in Piccadilly Gardens & I used to buy a bag of broken biscuits nearby & pretend I was a suffering,poetry reading dosser. Why I thought this was impressive God knows. A short time later, I cut my hair, scrubbed myself & became a Mod living for the Twisted Wheel alniters, my dosser days over. I'm still that Mod inside!

Linda Thomas - 7/10/12

We used to hitch up from Kirkby or Liverpool in all weathers for the saturday all nighters. Music, dancing, table football and diverse chemicals and herbs (no booze) made this place a heaven for me and my mates. I always think of those days as I come out of the coach station on my monthly trip to Manchester. I rememeber the stamp on the hand and the tea and toast in the morning. Sometimes, we actually walked back to Kirkby if no one stopped to give us a lift.

Sometimes, mid-week, we would visit the Sovereign cafe on Shude Hill and mingle with the print workers, lady boys and other denizens of the night.

We went because all the beat clubs had closed in Liverpool and the stark alternatives were a stay behind in a local pub (not cool) or the hitch to Manchester. I remember the freezing fog on the East Lancs.

Chooch - 11/10/12

I was in the H+H on the night of the live documentry, (16 and blocked). The Tv guy in the club was saying to the panel in the studio 'So you think that we should just write this generation of young people off then?'

I remember being really shocked because I thought that we were just having a load of fun and I was part of that pre Hippy on the road the road scene, dossin in Rhyl North Wales workin on the fair ground and hitchin to Manchester for the weekend. It all came to an end when a group of us went down to Margate and were busted for sleepin in an empty house, problem was the police down there were on edge, still lookin for just escaped Ronnie Biggs. They actually asked me if I knew were he was.

I was given a discharge and a ticket home to liverpool, but I kept coming back to the Manchester scene The Twisted Wheel (too many suits for my liking), and then a bit later The Magic Village. I'm now 63 and live in Australia

Roger Green - 14/11/12

I remember going to the Heaven and Hell on Chorlton Street to see 'The Pretty Things' and seeing a guy who I met in Bournemouth. He was a hippy and was on the road like most people who met there .. Weird but different.

Dot Lowe - 16/2/13

I played in a group called the Oddments, we used to play the Sat allnighters at the Heaven and Hell.

We played many times there after playing at another club or pub first.It was hard work and a long night. The club was the biggest flea pit in M/C.

I remember one all nighter playing with a dead rat under the stage, the DJ kept pouring disinfectant on it to keep the smell down. The cops were there nearly every week checking for drugs,and knife fights were not unknown.Thinking back we must have been mad.The groups played upstairs in Heaven and in Hell downstairs just records.George the owner certainly made his money. It should have been called The Hell Hole.

Rob Shorrock - 24/7/13

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