Days Gone By - More memories of great nights out at the Manor Ballroom
PUBLISHED: 14:30 02 May 2020
Readers have been sharing their memories of the Manor Ballroom in Ipswich, following our look back at some of the big stars who have appeared there over the years.
Graham Day from Stowmarket wrote: “In the 1960s I recall seeing Chicken Shack, featuring Stan “the man” Webb and Christine Perfect (who later became Christine McVie and found fame in Fleetwood Mac) and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers- excellent original blues.
“The sessions at Bluesville were run by Nanda and Ron Lesley - Nanda always seemed to be the boss! They retired eventually to Torquay. A friend I grew up with from my early days, Eric Fleet,spent a lot of his free days listening to music at home. He became supremely knowledgeable, and it was not long before he was spinning the discs to the Bluesville crowd between acts, both at the Manor and at St Matthew’s Baths Hall.
“In more recent times I have seen at the Manor Dr Feelgood, and Southend rockers The Hamsters on many occasions. I also saw Ian Hunter from Mott the Hoople - his final song was David Bowie’s All the Young Dudes, which he introduced as his pension! I also saw country musician Hank Wangford who introduced his set by saying most country songs were certain to make you feel miserable, but of course he didn’t.
“The last time was just after Lemmy from Motorhead had died, and I went to see the band Grinder, playing a Motorhead set. The band is the brainchild of Ipswich man Alan Davey who was a bass player with Hawkwind and latterly Hawklords. The Grinder set was heavy entertainment, as only Motorhead could be.”
As well as musical memories, Graham has also visited the ballroom for several wedding receptions over the years. He said: “My first visit was for my sister’s wedding reception on April 2, 1966. Then my school friend David Parker was married at nearby St Pancras Church in 1968, and held his reception there. Finally, one of my adult literacy students, Eddie, again used the Ballroom for his reception after getting hitched in Debenham in 2010.”
Ron Brett from Stowupland said: “In the mid 60s, I remember seeing The Hollies when they were on the way up in popularity. They arrived late, having broken down in their “clapped out van“ (their words, not mine) - you could tell they were going places.
“The best memory of all was when Rod Stewart and Long John Baldry were appearing. At half time, I needed to go to the gents. Who came in behind me? None other than Rod and Long John. They stood either side of me at the urinal, as it was in those days. Very surreal having those two so close to me. Happy memories.”
READ MORE - Ballroom by name but remembered for its nights of rock and roll
David Butler has special memories of the Ballroom during the years when his father was in charge. He wrote: “My father was Stan Butler, who was chairman of the ITFC Supporters Association for many years in the 50s and 60s, and who used to run the dances at Manor Ballroom.
“The building was leased from the Royal British Legion, and as chairman of the association my father’s name was on the lease. My father was certainly not a worrier, but I remember back in the 1960s he was very concerned about the structural integrity of the roof and whether he could be personally financially involved, as he had his name on the lease documents.
“He has been dead for 28 years now, and I live in “enemy country”, but whenever I return to Ipswich and drive past the building, I always look up at the roof and am relieved to see it still surviving.
“Incidentally, there were two bar licences in operation at that time. One for the ballroom bar, in what was called the supper room, and one for the social club bar. The police always insisted that the door between the two should be kept locked, which would have been easy if it was not for the fact that the fire brigade insisted that it should be kept open for free passage.
“My father used to joke that he had to see what sort of uniform came through the door before deciding on whether to open or shut the door!”
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