Tow Bar Inn, Nethertown

Nethertown is a small coastal village (or was, perhaps its now a huge Wimpey Estate) in Cumbria. If I remember correctly, it boasted a shop, a pub and a barren rocky beach. Nethertown is close to Eggremont famous (or perhaps, infamous) for its Gurning competition - the art of face pulling.

The caravan site was home to the Tow Bar Inn. With its curved roof and small bar and stage, it didn't look like much of a gig on first visit. However, come opening time, coaches from all around filled the carpark and the place was packed.

Prior to the place being "modernised" about 1970, the ceiling was covered in posters designed by Kenny Hughes - used to advertise bands from the early '60s. Many of Manchester's top sixties bands featured on those homemade, yet highly decorative, posters. Sadly, the posters were destroyed following a refurbishment in 1977.

You name the band - they will have done the Tow Bar Inn (Stranglers, Black Sabbath, After the Fire, Ultravox, etc, mention the club on their websites)

Additional info and image (right) courtesy David Tangye

Memories

We used to play here with Powerhouse quite often, usually en-route to Scotland. We normally stayed in a caravan or chalet then travelled on the following day. I recall one time we finished the gig and asked the guy in charge if the bar had a "Lock in".

The only draught beer was Guiness so I got stuck in. Can't recall what time the session ended but I was ABSOLUTELY BLITZED. The headache the following day was awesome and we'd left the gear set up so we had to break everything down, load the van and set off; probably for Elgin or somewhere equally God forsaken.

I never touched Guiness for nearly thirty years after that, honestly. Having said all that, it was a really good gig, always packed out.

John Firth

I remember the Tow Bar Inn in the mid '60s. I played there with the Manchester Federals, and we stayed in a caravan en-route to Elgin. Played in Elgin, Nairn and Lossemouth, and stayed in a B&B in Elgin called Mrs McBeans.

Does anyone ever remember staying there? 

Chris Evans
7/2/09

My father Don Kernot owned the Tow Bar from 1964 until his retirement in 1974 when it was taken over by my sister Barbara and my brother in law Frank Gannon.

In my father's time we had so many bands whose members went on to be famous in other bands including Eric Clapton, Elton John, Black Sabbath, Status Quo, Emerson Lake and Palmer to name a few.

Kenny Hughes' posters were legendary.

It was an amazing place for a 14yr old to grow up with.

Long Live the Tow Bar!!!!

Bunty Kernot
20/2/09

We were a band based in the Middlesbrough area called 'The Fremonts' and played several times at the Tow Bar in the early sixties.

We tended to play Saturday night at the Tow Bar and Sunday night in Carlisle (two gigs) at the Cosmo and The County Hall to make a weekend of it. 

They used to let us use one of the caravans on the site to sleep for what remained of the Saturday night after the gig and lock in.

The members of the group were Dave Lewis, Bob Green, Jeff Ellis, Peter Laverick, Ray Harris latterly replaced by Brian Fletcher.

Peter Laverick
15/8/09

The Freemonts outside (above) and inside (below) the Tow Bar Inn

The Tow Bar Inn is the place where my life began!

As a young girl and not from around this part of the world but working in a nearby hotel in Seascale, this is the place where I could let my hair down. I met a local guy there, got married, had two children, emigrated to South Africa in 1974 and returned to Cumbria in 2007.

Now after all these years I work as a the Site Manager on the original site which is now a Residential Park Home site.

I have a huge chunk of glass which was part of the dance floor, which I will treasure always.

Long Live The Tow Bar Inn.

Gaynor Hawkins
5/1/13

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Manchesterbeat

I was working in a hotel in Blackpool in 1977 the road manager from a famous pop/rock group was getting married. We didn't know who it was but I was on the door taking tickets off who came into the hotel. that night. 

recognised Smokie the famous pop rock band coming in.  They played the Towbar as Kindness.  I remember their poster with a lot of others there as well.  On visiting the toilet Alan Silson,  Smokie's guitarist, came in and said to me "hello".  I said hello back and he said "Where are you from?" I said you probably won't know - Whitehaven in Cumbria. Two seconds later he said "Is the Tow Bar still going and the Cosmos in Carlisle"

Amazeng - I could have fell on the floor. I know Smokie played the Tow Bar after they had a couple of hit singles.

John O Brien
11/1/13

The Tow Bar was the place to be in the 1968-70 era. I was always there. I remember seeing great bands who are now legends.

Walking home to Whitehaven was always slow though as I missed the bus once in a while if I got lucky in the caravans.

Best regards to all who are still alive from the Tow Bar experience.

Jim Watson
Whitehaven Grammar School 1969
12/1/13

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Comments (14)

Topic: Tow Bar Inn
Brian McCusker says...
Built in the middle of nowhere with the field of dreams philosophy - build it and they will come. They did, bus loads every weekend. I used to travel from Whitehaven and go to the Kellhead first for a game of three card brag and a few pints of ... Read More
28th April 2014 9:47pm
Wayne mcmaster says...
Bloody good memories!
26th April 2015 8:30pm
Howard bell says...
Started going to the tow bar in 71/72 and for a few years after that. The tow bar was the place to be nothing will ever beat the tow bar ,great bands great pastie's too lol and nearly always, we slep't in the barn at middle town on the way ... Read More
21st October 2014 10:16am
Veronica Dunn Nee Burns (Calpe Spain) says...
Loved going to the Towbar every week with my sister Lorraine and friends, the bands were brilliant. We used to travel home in my sister's boyfriends van, about 10 of us in the back haha a tight squeeze the was. Best place on earth at that time, ... Read More
31st August 2017 10:03am
Dietmar says...
The Police played here: http://thepolicewiki.org/Police_wiki/index.php?title=1977-04-09 I listed it as "Egremont" (as this was written in Stewart Copeland's diary), but will probably change it to the correct "Nethertown" ... Read More
10th April 2015 4:08am
matthew gannon says...
Time of my life,
26th April 2015 5:53pm
matthew gannon says...
Time of my life
26th April 2015 5:54pm
Estelle Nock says...
Are you Tracey Gannon's brother?
27th April 2015 3:31am
Jeanny Mathieson says...
Im wondering if this is the tow bar which had the multi coloured dancefloor? . I was staying there in a caravan as a wee girl with my family coz my dad was a crane operator doing work at the then windscale nuke power station. I remember there were ... Read More
14th October 2015 9:06pm
Phil Powe says...
Yes same place. But was then a disco called the Village Inn
11th February 2016 10:05pm
Andy Stephenson (Warrington) says...
By the early 80s, as mentioned, it had become The Village Inn with Sean(?) Gannon as the resident DJ. I used to come up every few months and do guest spots on Fri and Sat. It was still drawing coaches of people in mid 80s. Wasn't there a leisure ... Read More
17th August 2017 2:06am
Arthur Robinson says...
worked for Don and Nora,at the Tow Bar.Frank used to call me luigi. great times in the restaurant and in the club.Regards to the family.l
1st September 2017 5:33pm
Mary (Warrington) says...
I started going in 1971 you were supposed to be 21 years old but I don't think on a Friday night anyone much over 20 evere went. How the buses got up and down the Road is a complete mystery but once you were inside in the Dark with the music ... Read More
1st September 2017 8:59pm
Tol says...
Cool
I remember, somewhat hazily, their 25p nights. 25p in, drinks 25p all night. Night out plus taxi there and back for under a fiver. And an awesome band too.
3rd September 2017 7:24am




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