The Nelson Imperial

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Courtesy Dave Wood


I never attended the Nelson Imperial, Nelson but  I was there when the Otis Redding Show was there on Saturday April 1st 1967 (but I was only 13years old then so they wouldn't have let me in!).

I worked there when it later became Nelson's Column in the early seventies, when Paul Manning purchased quite a few nightclubs (The Manor House,Thornton In Craven, Circulation Club,Burnley and a few more including one in Heywood whose name escapes me!) from Ken Leary (all the records had a sticker with Ken Leary Entertainments stuck on them - some still turn up to this day).

Sadly the former Nelson Imperial burnt down on 18th March 1976 and is now the site of some sheltered accomodation.

Bo Diddley, who sadly passed away only a few weeks ago, was an artist who appeared there in the 60s, amongst many others like the Kinks, The Small Faces, The Walker Brothers and, of course, The Beatles.

Keith Gunton

I gigged there in the late '60s with my band The Manchester Federals. We supported P.J.Proby and his orchestra.

It was a revolving stage, and we set up on one side and the stage rolled round when we were due on. Then the next band would set up whilst we performed. All good stuff, but when you were waiting to go on, you never really knew which direction the stage would turn!

Happy memories.

Chris Evans

The name of the club that Keith Gunton can't remember in Heywood waas called "The Richmond ".  On the site now is a supermarket, either Lidl  or Aldi I think. Hope this helps you.

Brian Cordwell


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Comments (19)

Topic: Nelson Imperial
Joe Cooper says...
I remember Ted Heath coming to the Imp about 1949 - a Friday night. Price if I recall right was 5/6d
11th March 2014 10:58pm
Stephen Hey says...
I saw the Beatles at the Imperial in May 1963, along with my mate. (We were 14 years old). We knew an employee who got us in at teatime, before the doors opened. When we entered the ballroom everything was quiet because the staff had not arrived. We ... Read More
17th August 2014 12:28am
Keith Alexander says...
I got a job on the floor staff at the Imp and was there for the Beatles' second show in July. I was on stage helping to carry the fainting girls out to the back of the ballroom for fresh air. I carried no less than 12 out!
19th January 2015 8:28pm
Ronnie McCarthy says...
I lived at 9 Gordon Road, right across from the back doors of the Imp. We stood at an upstairs window to watch them arrive. We saw the throng of people on Carr Road bridge moving down the road as the Beatles arrived then turn the corner and up into ... Read More
7th May 2015 4:12am
richard ashworth says...
the fourways also did this venue if i remember right backing Bo Diddly it was the week before or the week after the beatles appeared there missed out their didnt we ha
28th December 2015 9:07pm
David Dugdale says...
There used to be a free bus from Clitheroe every Saturday night
The most popular groups when I went were local group the Hollies and US soul singer Geno Washington and the Ram Jam band...
28th February 2016 7:04am
Jean Booth says...
I went every Saturday for years with my friends we saw most artists favourites the Stones & Jimmy Hendrix . The best place of its time Xx
28th February 2016 10:09am
Ted Baxendale. says...
We played the Nelson Imp in 67 and after watching many acts appear on that revolving stage it was a big thing for us to be on it at last,as I recall you could feel all the machanicals working hard as the stage turned,great atmosphere in that ... Read More
4th March 2016 7:46pm
Jean Booth says...
What was the name of your group.
5th March 2016 8:01am
Ted Baxendale says...
Hi Jean, I'm nearly sure that the group was the Webb but it could have been the Hurt (I was in both in 67 ) I am 68 now and the memory is not what it was,but one thing is for sure we played the Imp a great experience, Rgds Ted
6th March 2016 12:41am
John Helliwell says...
Do you remember our group The Wayward Sect ? We supported The Who, The Walker Brothers, The Hollies, Tom Jones and Especially Eden Kane on Christmas Eve 1965 ?
20th January 2017 4:31am
Ian says...
Can anyone tell me of an opening band at the Imp called the Dalesmen. Unable to find any race of this band anywhere
17th June 2016 2:02am
Mike wilson says...
Hi, I was the bass player in the Dalesmen. Also in the band was Alan Waites the pianist, Terry the singer, John Day was lead guitarist and Bob Aitken was rhythm guitar. We had several drummers. We played various venues in The North west.
19th June 2017 12:33pm
Frank Howarth says...
No mension. Of the Ponderosa Cartwrights a local group who would often be the support act . Remember seeing bill Halley , gene Vincent & Chris Montez amongst many others . Superb venue .
6th February 2017 6:39am
Keith Alexander says...
I worked part time at the Imp for a couple of years or so. One Saturday I arrived early for work to hear Gerry and the Pacemakers doing a song as a sound check. It was great! I carried 12 girls from the ballroom to get smelling salts outside after ... Read More
6th February 2017 8:43am
Ray Pickering says...
Used to take a trip to the Imp nearly every weekend night. Most of the bands mentioned I remember clearly after paying a visit to the Nelson Hotel and then the Imp. Many a time I caught the late night bus at closing time. From about 1960-1964 I was ... Read More
13th February 2017 10:21pm
David Manley says...
I worked there when it became nelson column and imperial beer palace I was one of the DJs along with Dave Cave and Teapot Phil I was sugar puff we had many great nights with big groups and putting on the loon shows miss those days
4th May 2017 2:50pm
Pat (Nelson) says...
Hi Phil,

Do you still have your records from the days of the Imp?


10th November 2017 10:53pm
Mark Lawson (NELSON) says...
Can anyone help please! I'm desperate to get hold of a book called "Goin Down Th'Imp by the late Steve Chappels. I want to give it to my mother who was called Pamela Grible back in the days of the Imp. Any help would be great as I have ... Read More
15th December 2017 7:44am

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