Bolton Palais

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 awfu!

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

Paul Mlynarz
Phoenix City Smash

Bolton Palais 4/1/07

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 !

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)

Myself and my wife remember with great fondness the fabulous saturday nights at the Bolton Palais when Phil 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

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

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

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 Phil 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 neuk and cranny from the basement to the roof.


Pictured above is s Alan Haven and one other member of his trio and their wives with my mum and dad in the Bolton Palais.
My dad who's in the dinner suit, was the manager of the Palais. The woman on the far right is Alan's wife. I thik her name was Ella. The picture was taken in 1961.
Kind Regards

Bill McLeish Jnr

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

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

“The day they knocked down the Palais” - November 2017

Courtesy Maurice Newton

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Comments (11)

Topic: Bolton Palais
Neil Smith says...
I played at Bolton Palais with a local band called Johnny Lee and The Falcons and we met Alan Haven then. He took me aside and told me to take up guitar professionally (which I did). Later, I came back as a resident playing guitar for Les Moss. We ... Read More
4th May 2014 10:07am
Paul webmaster says...
Please note Neil's new website is
30th July 2017 9:54pm
June Knight (St Leonards on Sea) says...
Hi, Can you help me. My cousin and I are compiling out family tree. Both our fathers are gone now. We are trying to find our uncle Ronnie Knight who played with Carl Ward band at Palais in 1960s. He went off to Greek Islands we think. Is there ... Read More
5th November 2017 10:42pm
Janet Baron formally knight (Bolton) says...
Great nights jiving at palais 1963ish friends with John Hamer who was in palais dance team.Later about 1966 worked in Carl Ward group loved it great atmosphere.Ronnie Knight (Carl Ward) has also passed away.All original 1966 members of group have ... Read More
25th November 2017 12:36am
June Knight (St Leonards on Sea) says...
Hi Janet, I remember you when you went out with my Uncle Ronnie and came round to Grandmas. I was only young and thought you very pretty and glamorous. Yes I found out Ronnie died last year and his second wife earlier in Spain. All the brothers are ... Read More
25th November 2017 1:27pm
Janet Baron formally knight (Bolton) says...
Thanks June uncle Ronnie never wanted children I desperately did that's why I left him.I have a son Neil who is 33 my husband died died 13 years ago always cared about Ronnie was gutted when he died was with him 13 years in total would not have ... Read More
26th November 2017 5:12am
June Knight (St Leonards on Sea) says...

Very fond of you.

I called my favorite Dolly Janet after you, Still got her.

I wish you every happiness. Noted reply switched off last response.

I respect that.


26th November 2017 6:42am
howard says...
Yes the Palais was ace and the first club starter for Bolton teenagers in the 70's and after a few "under age pints with a wary eye on the door for an underage Police raid " at the Star and Garter around the corner; you were then all ... Read More
15th January 2016 3:39pm
Norma Derbyshire says...
I hope everyone enjoyed the programme about Bolton Palais shown this month. Memories, I could see my self on the balcony walking around it many times a night. A swift half of mild in The Founders Arms was all we needed ,the atmosphere ,dancing ... Read More
24th January 2016 11:06pm
Gillian Halloway (Bury) says...
I went to Bolton palais in the 70s. Denis Langfield took over from Phil Moss. I used to go with my friends Carol McEntee Joyce?? & a few more . The Dj was Gareth Sinclair & his then wife was called Barbara. Anyone remember??
3rd August 2017 8:06am
John Coley (Hamilton) says...
I remember well Bolton Palais, the band I was with The Generation played one gig there. What makes it so memorable was that damn revolving stage. The idea was that you set up and got ready with the stage facing away from the audience.Then, it would ... Read More
13th October 2017 1:29pm

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