I worked as a waiter at the Princess Club in Chorlton during 1963-4. Eventually I had the prime pitch at the front of the stage.
It was hard work and you had to be fit but having previously worked at Belle Vue on the dodgems , it was no problem for me. You were expected to be able to carry 9 pints in the old Dimpled Pint Pots ,which were very heavy , on 1 tray over your head to squeeze past the crowds. Also you had to know and add up the price of the drinks in you head.. a task which most modern bar staff would fail.
You could serve a whole row of tables first and then go along to each table afterwards and collect the money . People were honest and would tell you if you had missed a drink off the bill or forget to collect money for a previous round. Everybody and I mean everybody tipped you well. Usually giving you the price of half a pint, in today;s money at least a quid.Again this is unlikely to happen today.
On stag nights you sometimes had a tray of 9 pints in each hand.
The money was good you could sometimes make a fiver in a night and in those days that was week's wages for a 16 yr old in a"normal" job.
It was situated in an old cinema facing the small bus station and one story police station on Barlow Moor Road.
It was owned by the "Moss Empire" a father and son set up. They also owned the Domino Club on Greymare Lane at the same time. It was a typical converted cinema club but unlike a lot of the small Manchester coffee / bar clubs it was licensed and bitter sold for half a crown a pint and about 5 bob (25p) entrance fee.
They had top acts on at weekend and thriving stag night with comedians and strippers on a Thursday. Coaches came from all over including Liverpool for the Stag dos.
It was very similar to the Northern Sporting Club (Dougie Flood's place), The Southern Sporting Club near Belle Vue and a bit more upmarket than Genevieves (The Old skating Rink on Anson Road) and The Embassy Club: Manning's place where the "turns" and the beer were both bad.
I suppose its main claim to fame in its later years was Del Shannon who appeared in December 1972 with a backing group called the John Mac Flame Band and a live recording was made which was released on vinyl in 1973.
The Princess Theatre Club, One of my first gigs with "The Banshee Band" 1961 / 1962.
I remember arriving at The Princess one Thursday night and not knowing it was a Stag Night, so here we were, four sixteen year old lads and seven strippers, bloody great, We thought! this lot are not going to want us on a Stag night ? How wrong we were, thankfully they loved it. It was only later in life that I realised that once you had seen one Jack the Ripper you really had seen them all, and you were a bit bored and fed up with it, I suppose the band was a welcome interlude from seeing ladies take their clothes off. Fabulous days for us.
In support of Trevor and all the other waiters at most of those clubs, they were incredible guys, with memories like bookies, never got an order wrong and never got ripped off. Pity we don't get service like this today.
Under The Wire Band. And still gigging in Manchester 2012
I remember the Princess Club so well. I would be there Friday Sat and Sun most weeks, front row backing onto the tables, I remember the waiter, Jeff, sorry cant remember his last name but he had a nick name (barabas), a stocky guy and a really great bloke. We would arive usally about 7:30 and in no time at all our drinks would be lined up in our usual places, that would be about 6 of us in all and he (Jeff) always knew where each pint went.
They would pull the stage out for the acts and push it back for dancing, ah! we had the best view in the place, I also remember the Ponderosa the cassino gaming room to the left of the stage,and if you were on the pull as most of us guys were then they reckoned the prinny was 3 - 2 females, what a place! we saw many many top names of the time and they and the fabulous prinny as we knew it will remain with me always! rock on!!
Advertised Sat, 19 Aug 1967
I was a regular at the Stag Nights with all my mates every Thursday night. What I remember well were the great comedians, Johnny Goon Tweed etc, The M/C whose name I can't recall was a real Pro, then there were the Tom & Jerry cartoons that always went down well.
I remember the Burger bar that sold the weirdest tasting Burgers ever, god knows what they were made from.
Then in 64 or 65 the Band I was in The Oddments were booked to support the singer Chris Andrews of I'm Her Yesterday Man fame. It was a great night and our singer and Chris Andrews took a couple of the young ladies who had performed that night into Manchester gambling. Great days.
When I was going there no DJs, just a big Hammond Organ and a drummer, at least on Stag Nights. And every Thursday we always thumbed a lift home to Wythenshawe in the early hours. I never got to the Princess on Fri/ Sat/ or Sun, too busy playing in the band.
Friday, September 9, 1966: Episode Six from Hatch End, Middlesex, who included Ian Gillian and Roger Glover of Deep Purple fame.
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Spent many a great night at the Princess Club back in the 60's. Remember the compare Bobby Campbell and the Bryn Bennett trio who backed the artistes. Saw "little "Stevie Wonder when he was about 13, what a talent. My mate Ken and I used to work the clubs in those days and I always remember we did a double for Bernard Manning at the Embassy and then the Carlton club one Saturday night and we were still in the Princess by 10.00pm to join our mates. Happy days.
Used to go to the "Prinny" most Saturdays a dozen or so of us on our table reserved for us by our waiter Bob. He was our hero and made us feel special and refused tips once he though he had been tipped enough. Eight acts four each side of the break with some top names heading the bill. I remember James Brown, Lulu, Ben E king ,Tarbuck, Bonzo Dog, Mandy Rice Davies ? and many others plus local regulars Johnny Goontweed Sid and Eddie Jack Diamond , the Calafornians and the hilarious juggler Joe Ruggles. Great times. Also remember the free Meat and Potato pie which meant you could drink later as you were "Dining". Also the Gents which often couldn't cope with demand and had a tendency to flood.
I and my mates were very regular visitors of both clubs. Bill Kerfoot and Danny miller were terrific hosts. We saw good, up and coming acts and personalities growing up and becoming famous. To few to mention. Tarbuck. Hacket. Little and large, (or sid and Eddie) as they were, and many, many others. The time was great and it was.......in my opinion the best era aver. but. Like the man said..........opinions are like arsholes..... everyone has one. The late fifties and early sixties, WERE THE BEST !!!!!
How well I remember the Prinny club.Mid 60's Friday or Saturday nights with mates at the club, early on in the casino (sometimes win sometimes loose)then sinking a few pints and having to walk (stagger) home to withington. But it all came back to haunt me, late 70's, married, kids and a new job, Saturday night at throwing out time outside the club in a blue suit, yes a copper, it brought back memories then and now
The Embers in the 60's played at the Princess and Domino quite a few time one stands out the most at The Domino we was waiting behind the curtains ready to perform when a girl came through the curtains and fell over the drums legs in the air this got a great laugh i bet there are a few people out there remember this well we do. The other one that stands out is we was support band to Screaming Jay Hawkins when he was touring here from the USA. His wife was very nice person with hair down to her ankles never seen hair as long as that. Great times the 60's great memories.
I used to play football for the Prinny Club in 1973 when i was 19 - on the park next to the Feathers pub.Great bunch of lads and we had big Barry at the back in defence - he also doubled up as a bouncer at the Prinny too.Happy days..
I am 77 now I remember the club well.We used to go in the early 60s. It used to have boxing ring in the middle of the floor comediens and strippers did their acts in the ring. i remember johny goon tweed,another regular was the late ken goodwin.The 2 boumcers were a mcginty and johnson .who put an exhibition on in the interval.it was 2bob apint those were the days
I bought a scroll Mandolin the other week and went to Didsbury, passing through Chorlton and when we passed the MacDonald's, which is on the site of the old Princess Theatre Club. My mind wandered back to a cd at home which was recorded there. It is Del Shannon Live in England and pretty good it is to. It even has that canteen/social/Cabaret club sound complete with a Hughie Green type compere intro which goes something like this — And here he is — A man I know you are going to give a real Manchester welcome to - DEL SHANNON!!!!!!
my dad worked at the princess club and later valentines for over thirty years he started out with frank Johnson the bouncer mentioned in earlier posts frank was also my brothers godfather he died in an accident at home my dad was Tommy Hanily
Hi Andrea, yes your Dad Tommy was a great bloke and a very good friend of the family. I hope you and your family are all well. p.s. My Dad was Frank Williamson aka Johnson. Copy and paste this link into your browser.britishboxers.co.uk/2011/02/master-craftsman-frank-Johnson-britishkind regards,Steve.
Brian Bookbinder was my partner. You probably heard he died in 2004. He told me lots about the Princess club and what he got up to in his days as a compere - what a character! Loved that man to bits and miss him still. Hard act to follow!
Hi Tom. Brian Crowdy was my uncle and took me, many times to the Club. Temptations, Mary Wells and other Tamla performers. He used to arrange the music for Dorothy Squires and others. He died some years ago after divorcing my aunt.