The Princess Club
Barlow Moor Rd, Chorlton

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.

Trevor Booth
29/7/11

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. 

David Roylance
Under The Wire Band. And still gigging in Manchester 2012
14/4/12    

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!!

Keith Roberts
11/3/13


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.

Rob Shorrock.
19/7/2013

Known appearances

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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Comments

Bill Heslop
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.
9th February 2016 12:10am
Sandra smith nee jackson
Hi, I'm the daughter of Brian (bj) Jackson, drummer of the bryn Bennett trio, I have his drum kit ( black premier) also some tv scripts, he went on to work with Jess Yates and did many tv shows,
27th June 2016 5:33am
Chris G
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.
21st December 2015 12:01am
Geoff Stringer
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 !!!!!
12th December 2015 6:03pm
Ian Dudson
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
22nd November 2015 11:55am
Karen Jessop
My mum, Lydia Dixon was a singer in the early 60s and I think she performed here.
11th September 2015 6:46am
Don Levitt
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.
9th May 2015 7:24pm
Brian Crossley
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..
1st January 2015 10:48pm
brian owen
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
1st December 2014 3:30am
Steve Williamson
Yes Brian, most interesting times. My Dad was Frank Johnson the boxer who worked on the door at the Prinny..

britishboxers.co.uk/2011/02/master-craftsman-frank-johnson-british

kind regards.
22nd March 2017 1:16am
Annette
In the 60's and 70's there was a mini disco inside the Princess Club in Chorlton that was called Drake's Drum.
2nd November 2014 9:53pm
Geoff Parkinson
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!!!!!!

If you get a chance buy it — you won't regret it.
25th March 2014 9:38pm
Tom McNally
The resident drummer was my dad Chris McNally and the organ player was Brian Crowdy. Any one got any pictures?
15th March 2014 8:33pm
barney
i remember your dad Tom, I was dj in the early seventys along with Brian Bookbinder the compere, who I worked for during the day as well. Think you had a brother called Tony,
24th May 2014 5:28am
Tom McNally
Yes barney tony and Chris and sister julie
18th August 2014 11:26pm
Andrea McGuirk
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
25th August 2015 9:44am
Steve Williamson
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-british

kind regards,

Steve.
22nd March 2017 1:22am
Sheila Guy
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!
10th June 2016 8:03am
David Dora
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.
16th December 2015 9:43pm
Tom mcnally
I remember Brian and Maureen Debbie mark and I think peter
16th December 2015 10:10pm
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