Rowntrees

 

Above membership cards courtesy Malcolm Thompson

Courtesy Alan Fildes

3 December 1965
3 December 1965

10Dec65
10Dec65

10Dec65
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18December1965


1966

Rowntrees owned four popular clubs,

  • Top of the Town
  • Sound
  • Seen/Takis and
  • Spring Gardens

with all but the last featuring groups two or three nights a week. Top of the Town was my favourite venue - the clientele a little more "souly" than "poppy".

I remember working there with Jimmy "What becomes of the brokenhearted" Ruffin, very much down on his luck and coming over to us as a bighead.   We had to clear the stage for him and then found out his band - Campus, a Manchester based backing band  - had arrived with no gear. Out it all had to come!

Paul Mlynarz
Phoenix City Smash

Phoenix City Smash outside The Spin Inn record shop, managed by DJ Gary Laine and next to Top of the Town (hey that's webmaster Paul, crouched on the left)

 

I particularly remember Top of the Town on Cross Street which used to have a record shop called Spin Inn at street level. The DJ in the late 60s and early 70s was called Gary Laine, I seem to remember and he managed the shop too.

My friends were Glenys Withington, Kath Walker, David Holt and Mike Curtis. Happy days!


Melanie McNeeney


I remember so fondly Top of the Town on Cross Street. I also remember the DJ, Gary Laine, where is he now, does anyone know. My friends at the time there were Brenda Smith, Leslie Cooper, danced many a night away there. Happy days.

Catherine Barrow (nee Dillon)


I remember many enjoyable nights spent in my youth at Rowntrees Spring Gardens, after travelling down from Rossendale and I bought most of my early soul records for deejaying at the Spin Inn.Fond memories indeed.

The rest I got from FL Moore in Leighton Buzzard, who had a mail order business at the time.

Those were the days.  The strange thing is I am still playing some of these records which I played as 'new releases' then, to this day.

Keith Gunton


I have just read Paul Swarbrick's account of when he was working on Whitworth St in Manchester and how he used to go to Takis at lunchtime and enjoy the music. I was really pleased to read that as I was the DJ during those lunchtime sessions.

My DJ name was Pete Roscoe and as well as the lunchtime sessions I also did Top of the Town,and Rowntrees in the evenings. Does anyone recall the Miss Supertakis beauty contest that we had, I arranged that together with Mr Paul Partakis who was the Manager and part of the family that owned the group of clubs 

Peter


Just to say after having lunch at Sam's Chophouse with a friend who works at 15 Cross Street.  I asked him if i could take a nostalgic walk around. Such memories  - we stood where the bar was as I remember it, needless to say it's now an internal car park.

But never mind, I still felt in good spirits.  The dance floor is now offices - none of the wall plan remains.

I can add it to my yearly sojourn to the Oasis which as you already know is a car park.

What have they done to Manchester? 

Alan Fildes
28/2/09


I spent every Friday and Saturday night dancing to Tamala Mowtown at Takis.

As you walked down the stairs to enter the club There was a minor bird in a cage on the wall. It would whistle at the girls coming down the steps in the dark.

I remember being there the night Otis Reding died and the DJ Paul Pender anounced it. Everyone was so shocked.

I remember the dinnertime sesions. As I worked on Lever street i would nip in for the lunch break.

Takis and Tamala Mowtown were the best times of my life.

Anne Bostock
11/4/09


I remember Gary Laine when he was DJ at the Can Can in early 1967. He then did a stint at Sound but came back to the Can Can for a while. I went to Takis in late 67 and it was always really busy. Great times, great music.

Liz Williams
2/8/09


I think Top of the Town was one of the best clubs in Manchester when they became mainly discoteques after 1966.

All the guys wore brown or green mohair suits, with Jaytex or Sherman shirts with Slazender v-neck jumpers or slipovers. The girls often in mohair suits too with short feathered hair like Julie Driscoll.

The music was great not just soul but lots of Bluebeat, Carolina by the Folks Bros, Ethiopians etc. The DJ Gary Laine was great too.

There was an upstairs a kind of long room with a bar at the end, was this the Red Barn of the former Bodega? 

Warren Taylor
9/8/09


My brother was a dj at Roundtrees Spring Gardens for a few years, his name Malcolm Just.  He went on to be a doorman at Rountrees Hanging Ditch, plus other clubs.

9/8/09


Top of the Town was THE best club in Manchester, I used to go every Saturday with my friend Lorna, travelling on the train from Bury - and getting the last possible one back which was probably about 10:30 in 1968!!  Well, we were only about 15......

The soul music played there set me on a lifelong love for Motown - I have lived down south for many years but have happy memories of this club. 

Also can remember DLT at Mr Smiths I think it was, and used to go to the Twisted Wheel, and Rowntrees Spring Gardens.  I have never seen any pics of Top of the Town - do any exist?

Kathy
27/5/10


Love this site. I used to go to Rowtrees Sound 1967/8/9/70. Wwe all went every Saturday night then after it closed, we went to a mini club on Spring Gardens forget what it was called now but you had to knock on the door to get in and they only sold Doubble Diamond - used to make you sick after a skinfull lol.

My favorite songs from then were Chairman of the Board.

John Walker
8/7/10


Started going to Top of the Town in 1970 with my friend Margaret. I too still play the records I bought from The Spin Inn on my lunch time. This for me was the start of a lifetime passion for Northern Soul!

When I hear The Elgins 'Heaven must have sent you' I'm there on that dance floor again wearing my Ossie Clark dress!

I was there on the night it closed, broke my heart.

Lorna Simpson
5/9/10


I also used to get the late train home.........Kathy.........was Bridge your second name , did you live on Bolton Road. My first taste of soul music, had to borrow a birth certificate as id.

Jess Fisher
25/10/10


Rowntrees Sound, makes me laugh when i think back. I took a girl and had a meal there ( trying to impress lol) In them days I used to wear the starched detachable collars, the waitress while serving tillted the plate and gravy went all down my collar.

(wasn't funny at the time though lol)

Chad
11/2/11


I used to go to Rowntrees Sound with my friend Kay Hyde,we were 15 then and used to get the last train home around 11.30.pm.. to Hollinwood then walk the rest of the way home.Never felt threatened on walks home in those days.

I also used to go to The Magic Village an underground club that was open all night,they used to throw us out at 7.a.m. then the long bus ride home to Oldham on a Sunday morning.

Can anyone else remember going to the Village? They used to sell underground papers like Rolling Stone in that club. Saw lots of great bands there..

Jean Jesson
9/4/11 


I came from Ashton-under-Lyne and was really lucky, I was only about 15 at the time but used to pal about with lads who were 18-19. One of them had a Ford 1600e with a phillips record player under the dash, where they played all the the Motown hits and Otis Redding plus all the Stax stuff. They used to get me in to the Twisted Wheel, and I used to go to Rowntrees Sound, Spring Gardens on a Friday.  Used to go to Manchester Boys Club for their Northern Soul nights and to the Birdcage in Ashton-under-lyne. Great Lads, Great days.Great music.Rowntrees was class.

JohnJesson
9/4/11


68 - 69 - 70 - the best time! Does anyone remember Frank Healy, Dennis Wilson & Jimmy Grimes?  Also Time and Place and Nice and Easy - brilliant memories!

Jim Neild
27/4/11


Attended the Wheel from 63 with the Eccles/Salford crew - most passed on now. Anybody remember me?

Mike Leonard
27/4/11


When the Twisted Wheel closed, we spent some of our time in our (local) in town The City Arms.  One night my old mate Johnny Richards came in blue mohair suit,and white stiff collar shirt, we all had to change, we got hair cuts, new modern clothes, we went to the Top of the Town.

We were amazed lots of attractive grown up girls, it was a great place, slightly different music, met new people, fitted in with our new lifestyle, it was more for the weekend rather than mid week but a good night out.  Happy days.

Peter Byrne
26/5/11


Went to Sound and Spring Gardens circa 1969/70.  I remember at Spring Gardens they used to play Albatross as the last record of the night the other favourite at the time was Heard It Through The Grape Vine.

Me and my mates Fozzi, Phil, Col and Geoff all the Bees Knees in our £2 Everprest suits (they only did sand and light blue) Ben Sherman check shirts and brown brouges. Come out of Spring Gardens and into the Wimpey Bar before catching the allnight bus home. Great times.

Dave Greer
11/7/11


I worked at Top of the Town 1970/71. There was two bouncers I knew Jimmy and Mike, they did Spring Gardens and Sound as well. I went out for a short time with a barmaid who worked at TOTT,she was called Brenda and lived in Middleton.

Does anyone know of whereabouts,I would love to know,what happened to her since then. I remember her coming to my house Xmas Eve 1969,good party had lots of beer because most of the guests myself included worked at Wilsons Brewery.

Paul Hopkinson
26/9/11


I used to go to Rowntrees Sound in the late 60's and I went out with a DJ called
Georgie Powell (bet he does not remember me).

I used to go to his mother's house in Whalley Range, and he used to hang out of his window smoking a cigarette!!!! waiting for me.   I loved going to Sound. I used to go with my friend Valerie McGowan and we would buy 2 halves of cider which would last all night.  Money was very tight in those days as my wage at that time was £5.10s and most of my money went to my mother for my keep.

I also used to go to Time and Place, Takis, Rowntrees Spring Gardens, Bier Keller in Wood Street and Piccadilly.  I loved Clubland. Danced and Danced  !!

Good Old Days !!

Alma Rowlandson
26/2/12


Another great club, Rowntrees. Used to go in the late 60's, dance all night, then thumb a lift home, not recommended these days. I had a few scrapes, but nothing serious. We used to stand outside the club and just thumb, never had Sto wait more than a minute.

Amy Harris
22/4/12

Anyone remember Jimmy Howarth or Howard. He worked on the door at Top of the Town.  He worked with my dad and used to let us all in for nothing, great for impressing girls. All it cost was a half of guiness, and leave it on the fag machine.

I was 15 when we started going in there, we all thought is was the best thing ever, the music was brilliant, the atmosphere was was always good, also we went in Spring Gardens and Sound, what a time that was, it will never be replaced, loved every minute of it.

Pete Connolly
25/5/12


Top of the Town was my fav place.  Used to like a boy called Lyn Harding - he was Welsh but I went out with Mike Scott and married him.  Went to all underground clubs some are opening again, like the Gas Lamp on Bridge St.

Margaret Morton now Scott
27/5/12


I went to Nice and Easy in 1971. I used to go every Saturday and when it closed at 11-30 I would go in Time and Place after.

I remember one Saturday I had to stay in to finish my file work for college  - it was half price drinks that night.  It killed me to stay in.  All my friends from college who had already finished their work were there phoning me saying "Great night you're missing".  It was torture.

I remember a lad there called Glen Beckett - great dancer. Itt was a great place.

Miss those days so much.

Irene Attenborough
29/5/12


Guess who I am POSITIVE I saw in Marks and Spencer on Sunday.  Gary Laine, the DJ from Top of the Town. Still good looking after all these years.

Catherine
25/01/2013


I used to go to Top of the Town in the late 1960s early 1970s and remember another dj there called Jimmy Rydell.  Also after him a guy called Dave the Rave, also remember the Spin Inn and as you walked down the steps a huge glass window full of american import singles and all the top Tamla and soul singles.

There was always one with a big arrow pointing to it saying record of the week.  This was usually played by Gary Laine on a sat/sun night in the club.

Happy memories of a great time in my life.

Alan Kelly
24/3/13


I was one of the djs at Rowntrees/Nice and Easy/Time and Place.  I rember all the good sounds that we played .

Montz Carn, Stue Dean, Mike Shaft - any one know where they are now?  Would like to meet up again and talk of old but good times.

Also would like to see Linda Jackson again to say sorry  - it was the worst thing I ever did. Linda knows what I mean.

Paul Bates
31/3/13


Top of the Town ... very happy memories of dancing the night away there.Fab music and also saw a few groups there including Edwin Starr.

I just have to hear any Tamla music and I am transported there.Met loads of handsome blokes (one a life long flame) there dancing around our handbags...
There was always a good crowd and a fantastic atmosphere and no trouble ,or am I remembering thru rose coloured glasses?

Seems like only yesterday but it was 40 plus years ago!....

We used to spend all our money so never had the money for bus home our answer was to take our slippers in our handbags! and walk home in them.We wore platforms, clogs and Derber wedges....which were great but hard to walk in at the end of night.Happy happy times thank you TOP OF THE TOWN X

Christine Rogers (was Shipley)
9/4/13


Oh my word - all the people that went to Top of the Town.  Any one remember me and mary worked behind bar in 1967.

Mary went on to live with Jimmy the doorman.  I also worked at Rowntrees Spring Gardens.

All four clubs where owned by greek family.  In 1975 I got a bar job at Gennives? spelt wrong!! on Dickenson Rd, the old Oceans 11 which they also brought after they had sold off the other clubs.

I worked tues/wed 8-1 for £3 a nite!! When we worked at Top of the Town as it was only open pub hours went on to Mr Smiths or Time and Place!! Mad happy times! 

Ruth Hayes
8/6/13


Top of the Town was the first real club in the city centre I ever went to in 1972.  I worked with a guy called Les Jones from New Moston and we took two girls from work whose names escape me.

I was 17 and didn't really drink but managed to get really drunk on the Double Diamond they were serving. I remember  staggering round the bus station trying to find the bus to Urmston and then completely trashing my bedroom "sleepwalking" after the beer ... a lot of explaining was required in the morning.

I also remember buying lots of motown in "Spin INN" which was run by Gary Laine. Who was probably the Peter Stringfellow of his day !!!! Sorry Peter!!

Les Whatt
2/9/13


My favourite memory of Top of the Town was a Friday night in September 1967.

We'd played there & gone down really well with the regular crowd. This was when "Andy" Anderson was still with "Oliver's Twist" (before he joined "Phoenix City Smash").

Our crappy van was buggered, so after the gig we had to wait in the back alley guarding our equipment until friends could come & rescue us. We eventually stored the gear at Andy's office in Burnage, collected our Lambretta's & headed back towards Andy's house. I unfortunately didn't make it; I was on the wrong end of a "Hit & Run" on Stockport Rd in Levenshulme.

I ended up in Withington Hospital for months; fortunately for me they mananged to save my leg. I ended up going out with a staff nurse & we used to get all the gigs for the nurses dances; which were brilliant! Great memories!

Dave Tommins
2/9/13



Had many a great night in the sixties at Spring Gardens, you did not see the drunkenness as you see now in the cities, and the sixties is always considered as the wild time generation, us young ladies, looked like young ladies, and we did not want to bare our backsides or anything else to anyone.  A brilliant era....

Louise Leak
11/9/13


Friday night was always top of the Town night for us, dark green suit with 8 buttons on each sleeve,(my mate Roy P had 10)brogues, ben sherman shirt button down collar felt on top of the world, a pass out to the thatched house pub round the corner for a bar football mini tournament what was that bar attached to the top of the town with the entrance at the rear but you could get in and out to the topper (slang we used for the top of the town) then down to Super Takis on Saturday night (which was always a trek from Victoria bus station & Round trees Spring gardens Sundays

A meat & potato pie at Louis van (a tight man never got away with a penny less)at Victoria bus station & onto the late night number 8 bus on Friday & Saturday night to Bolton (miss that last one at quarter 3 and it was  a long walk across chapel street dropping off at Ali Ga) was entertainment plus & it dropped us off at the top of langworthy road Salford for a walk down as far as the Langworthy hotel where we lived neareby

Fortunate enough to go out with Miss takis in 1967(or maybe she was the lucky one, she was older than me )whatever did happen to Linda Bridle who worked at Edna Glynne clothes shop corner of St Annes Square Manchester, lived in Swinton and whose father owned the Ellesmere Cinema on the East Lancs Road. 

Mike Reilly
21/9/13


Started going downtown in about 67 with my great mates Martin Mcann and Eamonn Kavangah. We were regulars at Top of the Town, Sound, Spring Gardens, Wood Street Bier Keller, Nice and Easy, Time and Place and many many others. Great times, met my wife at Sound 40 years ago. Miss those days.

Mark Serridge
30/10/13


Reply to letter from MIKE LEANARD 27/4/11.

I remember and know you Mike from Brookhouse Estate. You will remember me for sure. GRAHAM WESTALL our dad's worked for LUT.

I have lived in Australia since 1971.Now living in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Tasmania is the island under Melbourne Victoria.

Graham Westall
3/11/13


 

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Comments (9)

Topic: Rowntrees
Colin Law says...
In reply to Kathy on 25/5/10.
I remember DLT at The Cavern in Manchester, not Mr Smiths.. Mr Smiths was a bit more ' up market' than the Cavern, as I recall.
Twisted Wheel was good for all nighters.. Takis was more soul than Tamla Motown.
11th January 2015 1:41pm
Paul Bradley says...
Went to all the Rowntrees clubs great times Top of the Town was second home to me as ab17 year old Tuesday's and Thursday quiet cool nights , Remeber Gary Laine breaking Grapevine by Marvin Gay , great nights safe and happy brill music Do unto ... Read More
25th January 2015 7:43am
Paul says...
Top of the town second. Home to me as a 17 year old
25th January 2015 7:46am
Roland Towey says...
I was very fortunate to live in Mancester during the 60s&70s. I Started going to Takis when I was 16, with schoolmates John Rush,Andy Moran,Alouyios Nelson. We then went onto top of town,Spring gardens,Sounds. It was the best time of my life. ... Read More
2nd March 2015 1:59am
Dorothy Lemoignan says...
I went in both Rowntrees where I met my first husband 1960. And Top of the town .went to N.S.C. In Harpurher as lived just across the rd.very Conveiniant .Then Broadway.
22nd March 2015 6:28pm
Mark Dutton says...
What year did Top of the Town close
13th January 2016 10:16pm
Christine says...
Does anyone remember a club somewhere on or near Brown St late 60s /early 70s? Great Tamla music and a dj with a beard I think!
13th February 2016 5:24am
jo shrop says...
Gary Laine now lives in Shropshire. The Spin Inn was his shop and he was deep into the American Soul, his music was imported from the USA and his shop was the only one to sell this.
16th August 2016 9:04pm
John Hayes says...
When I first came to England from Scotland in 1967, I started to frequent Rowntree's Sound and befriended the lovely girl on till. Her name was Sheila Rhuan. She got me to learn French at Salford Uni. A year later, I got a full time job at ... Read More
14th January 2017 4:52am


 




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