15 of your memories about the Locarno in Sunderland - from the best bands to those 'up and down' stairs

Wow what a response!

Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 6:38 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 6:40 pm
Your memories of the Locarno ballroom and nightclub in Sunderland
Your memories of the Locarno ballroom and nightclub in Sunderland

We asked you for your memories of the Locarno ballroom and nightclub in Sunderland and you responded in your usual style.

Our story last week – about the club in its heyday and then its fall before its demolition in 2012 – reached more than 110,000 people and hundreds of you left comments.

They were full of lovely memories and we just had to share them, so here are 15 of the very best recollections that you had to offer.

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Many of you had memories of the club which had changes of names such as the Mayfair and then the Palace, before closing down for good in April 2003.

Dave Emmerson: “Great bands and walking the circuit of up the stairs and down the stairs and on and on it went.”

Tony Hunter: "Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Tygers of Pan Tang for free. Twisted Sister, the Stranglers and let's not forget the Toy Dolls.”

Mick Lindley: “Hats off to Geoff Docherty who brought those great bands there. The legendary John Peel said that the best gig he ever saw, was Rod Stewart and The Faces at this venue . That's some accolade.”

Jacqueline Thompson: “Loved a Monday night there. Remember getting the pit bus home too to Hylton Castle.”

The Locarno ballroom in 1964. Photo courtesy of Bill Hawkins and Sunderland Antiquarian Society.

William Gaff: “Saw Led Zeppelin and many more great bands there. Iconic place in the 70s.”

Lorna Walton: “Loved it, lots of happy Saturday nights there and 10 pin bowling during the week - memories.”

Magenta Jo: “We always went on the Saturday night - loved the big dance floor compared to pokey little night clubs.”

Philip Scott: “Great place to be. Saw great bands led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart and the Faces (cup final year), Genesis, Queen, The Kinks, Status Quo, Wishbone Ash, Lindisfarne , Nazareth, Maggie Bell to name a few.”

The Locarno private function room and Bar Grill from 1964. Photo courtesy of Bill Hawkins and the Sunderland Antiquarian Society.

Brian Naugher: “Great way to end our Friday nights, couple of hours at Gens, rocking the night away, the burger van at the bottom of the walkway, and usually ended up walking home...very slowly.”

Denise Christie: “Yes went there most nights saw Free, Rod Stewart and The Faces, Led Zeppelin and a few other bands. Ued to dance in Tiffanys met my first boyfriend there. It was my second home. I also worked behind the bar.”

Sonia Thompson: “Brilliant memories saw Rod Stewart there. Was our go-to place Friday and Saturday nights in the 70s. Used to get the pit bus home.”

Graham Burrell: “Felt like Royalty when I had enough money to buy some food on Friday nights!”

The Mecca Centre, Newcastle Road in March 1979 formerly known as The Locarno.

Gary Lindley: “Very happy memories. I was a regular visitor from Durham in the late 70s/early 80s. Saw some great bands ... Alex Harvey springs to mind.”

Joyce Welsh: “Great memories worked there from 1970 saw some great bands. Loved the team I worked with. We had some great parties after our shift on a Saturday night x.”

Denise Lawson: “On its opening night the BBC news was there and interviewed me and others. So I was on the 6 o’clock news. Famous!!!”

We would love to hear from more people with Sunderland nightclub memories from the past. To share them all, email [email protected]

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