St Bernadettes (Withington)

St. Bernadettes Youth Club was in Princess Road, Withington, Manchester 20. On Friday, September 3, 1965 saw the reopening of St. Bernadettes Youth Club staring The Swinging Blue Jeans with DJ Jimmy Saville. 

It was advertised in The Evening News and Chronicle on Friday, August 27, 1965 as Stand By For Action Next Friday (Sept 3) When Jimmy Saville Will Be Appearing At The Grand Reopening Night Of St Bernadettes YC Princess Road Withington. Starring The Swinging Blue Jeans Watch This Column Next Week For Further Details.

John H. Warburg

Although basically a church run Youth Club, Friday nights saw some great bands over a long period of time. Many top acts were featured, especially in the early sixties.

I can remember seeing the Measles, Silverstone Set (Opportunity Knocks winning soul band from Wrexham - members included Andy Scott (Sweet) and Ted Yeaden (Love Affair) and in a moment of crass stupidity went to see Karl Douglas and the Big Stampede (later Mr "Kung Fu Fighting") there instead of Pink Floyd who were on at a small club in Stockport (Pyramid Club?) the same night. I must have been daft.

Paul (webmaster)


We went to Old Moat school round the corner from Bernies, so some great bands - Family, Life 'n' Soul, Hermits (we never went to see the Phoenix, we weren't keen on their sax player). I wore my first pair of Levis there. Made sure we called in at the Prinnie first. Only trouble with the place was all the girls came from Wythenshawe - hell off a bus ride and an even longer walk back to Platt Lane.

If I remember rightly, some guys came in and smashed the place up. I think The Exits were on stage. No need for that they were a excellent band and it all went down hill from there.

John Edwards - Focal Points

1965-66. Remember when live music lived in Manchester? I do! St Bernadettes, Princess Road, Friday nights, what line ups; The Measles, Powerhouse, Ivans Meads, St Louis Union, The Britton's The Tornados, Tommy Quickly, The Myaks, etc. Can anyone supply anymore??

Keith - 29/1/09

I remember seeing Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich there, before they were big. They were a really excellent live act; their version of The Beatles "This Boy" always stayed in my memory - excellent harmonies. I saw Freddie And The Dreamers there too.

I didn't see them myself, but I'm sure The Herd played there (with Peter Frampton of course), and possibly Dave Berry And The Cruisers.

Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Searchers all definitely appeared there

Chris Jones - 24/4/09

As a young teenager in south Manchester in the 19'60s SBYC was to place to be at. Friday nights could not come around quick enough for me. Especially when you could see bands like Searchers, Hollies, Big3, Swinging Blue Jeans, Wayne Fontana..etc etc all for about 3 or 4 bob...!

After we would walk home down Princes Parkway, then along Barlow Moor Rd to "The Oaks Supper Bar" for the best Fish & Chips in the area..eating them on the way home and arguing which guitars were best..and what amps the bands used..and who was gonna be No1 in the charts that weekend..teenage life in the '60s was just the best thing to me then...what would I give for another Friday Night at SBYC in say..1965.!

Derek Alltree - 6/1/10

Early 1965 am sure it was a Friday night went to see the Toggery 5. It was packed - they had a great following in South Manchester. Paul Young I went to primary school with out front and Frank Renshaw looked like a young and raw John Lennon, Great group that should have gone all the way.

St Berns wasn't a big hall but down below street level which gave it some atmosphere, always saw friends from Sharston and Benchiill there, although had moved to Handforth Estate by then. 

Billy Masterson - Benchill boy now an Aussie - 6/11/10

SBYC was THE place to be on Friday nights. We lived on Old Moat Lane near the School. My older sister ( A "Beat") and her friends introduced me and my friends and taught us the essential dance steps. They went on to Manchester after SBYC and we thought very grown up! 

Bernadettes was the start of our club life and ahhh! first real girl friend. Although there were great groups (Manchester Playboys) we started to appreciate soul music and Tamla which gave us the chance to enjoy the dancing. Remember those long leather coats with the fox fur tops - must have been donated from GT Aunt Ada! Many of the clothes were made or invented in peoples living rooms. Manchester/Liverpool started the explosion of disco, fashion, youth culture etc but the media continue to see the 60s through London eyes.

My Dad laughed at my winklepickers, beatle jacket and Rupert the bear trousers!! Mum knitted my high neck roll top jumper in bright red! Happy days - can picture it all.

Geoff Broad - 15/5/12

I went every week with my mates from Merseybank Estate - Dave Smyth, Mike Newbery, Pete Bradley, Paul Smith and Danny Brogan - 1965 to 1970. 

We remember the bands, Richard Kent Style, Ivans Meades, St Louis Union, The Stylos, The Herd, Chuckles, Country Gents, Manchester Playboys, Merseybeats, Dave Dee, DBMT, and The Rocking Berries. The list is endless and they were great.

We went about with Susan Donegan, Linda Hadfield, Bula Fox and friends. I helped the dj Alan Melling on occasions. We had a single deck record player. Those of us who were young mods went on to clubs in Manchester to follow the soul bands at the Oasis club, Jungfrau, the Twisted Wheel and Disco Takis. Good old days and great clubs.

Stuart Holmes - 24/2/13

As many others I saw the Myaks at St Bernadettes all those years ago. One of the best bands I've ever seen, comparable with the (Pretty Things) First band I ever saw live to break the rules, how they missed the boat and didn't make the big time still astounds me.

Of all the Friday night bands...(sorry GROUPS) they were the most outrageous and when the curtain opened there were gasps of disbelief and even bigger gasps when they hit the first cords. What a great memory for this 64 year old!!

Keith - 13/10/13

Great venue to be at on a Friday night. Used to go with Stuart Holmes and the "gang". I eventually started DJ'ing there and ended up on a committe helping run the club under the guidance of Father Murphy.

Each year the people who helped to run the club were treated to a night out in Blackpool. Great times...

Paul Smith - 13/10/13

I was a regular St Berny's from about 1967 - 70. Had great times watching Phoenix City Smash with Ian (Andy) Anderson on the Hammond, Life and Soul giving their version of Albatross contrasting with the rest of a tremendous soul set, Exits etc..  The Pop Inn in Fallowfield was another favourite place at the time.

Steve Plant - 1/12/13


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