Redcar Bandstand on a Sunday Evening
A seaside town, Redcar has always reverberated to music in Clubs and Pubs, especially those pubs which had dance halls on their premises such as The Swan, The Red Lion and The Queens. Also the Coatham Bowl and of course the two major Dance Halls in the town, The Pier and The Windsor Ballroom in The Coatham Hotel which was also the home of The Redcar Jazz Club. Finally, don't forget Redcar's old theatre The New Pavilion and The Band Stand, pictured above, where it all began.
My name is Dick Fawcett (see link below) and I attended school in Redcar although I lived in South Bank and later attended various pubs, usually as a warm-up before going to either the Pier Ballroom or the Windsor Ballroom in the Coatham Hotel. The Pier bounced to the music of Danny Mitchell and His Orchestra, accompanied by beautiful vocalist Brenda Oliver. Occasionally other "turns" appeared for our entertainment and I recall seeing Ray Ellington there in the early sixties and Screaming Lord Such!
Over in the Windsor it was Harry Gold and His Pieces of Eight until Charlie Amer took over with "His Band of Renown". (The first thing you encountered in Amer's days was his brother-in-law Bob Campbell on the door as bouncer. A body builder, Bob was a strong bloke and often he would pick someone up in fun and hold him at armslength above his head. Yes, me included!)
I never went to the New Pavilion but they used to feature groups at times and the Dallas Boys made their first professional appearance there before becoming popular on the television - some time ago!
The bandstand was built on top of public toilets on the beach and had been very popular many years before. I remember hearing brass bands swinging in the summertime in the late forties and into the fifties but that all ended when the stand was demolished and later Leo's pub was built over the toilets which ceased to be used for their original purpose and instead housed the beer cellar.
At first Leo's was quite a good venue with some good artistes appearing. I remember a very good night with Wee Willie Harris wowing the audience. However, something has gone wrong since then and the building is now the biggest eyesore in Redcar.
All the clubs in Redcar used to book singers and groups and a lot of pubs followed suit.