Dancing and romancing at Genevieve’s

Genevieves got a massive response when we asked you to share your memories of the place.
Genevieves got a massive response when we asked you to share your memories of the place.
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You danced the night away in your thousands at this popular nightspot.

But Genevieve’s was more than just a nightclub for many of you, and when we asked for memories of it, 120,000 of you saw the post.

The bowling alley in 1964.

The bowling alley in 1964.

More than 400 of you shared your recollections and ten of you even told us it was where you first met your husband.

What great memories you had of Genevieve’s which was just one of the names this venue had in its heyday. The building was also known as Locarno and the Mecca.

But whatever its name was, it prompted great responses from Echo readers.

“It was mint,” said Ann Lee. “heavy night on Fridays. Denims and long hair on standby :)”

Met my husband on that ramp when I was 17 queuing up for The Bay City Rollers. No tickets so we never got in! Ended up with Pie and Peas in The Vestry! And the rest as they say is history!

Janice Paul

While Janice Paul said: “Met my husband on that ramp when I was 17 queuing up for The Bay City Rollers. No tickets so we never got in! Ended up with Pie and Peas in The Vestry! And the rest as they say is history!”

Maureen Errington remembered: “Went there in the seventies ,seen Rod Stewart I was only 16 thought we were great with our mini skirts and black platform boots on - met my husband there 44 years ago.”

Julie Cowie recalled: “Some of my best memories from my teenage years were spent here,at least twice a week, both upstairs and downstairs in this fabulous nightspot. Great music and bands. Met my hubby here too.”

Another who found love there was Jacqueline Sherriff who said: “Went there it was the Mecca and also Tiffaneys upstairs in the 70’s met my husband there.Been married for 40 years now,so it’s all thanks to the Mecca.”

The demolition of the old Excel bowling alley and Locarno in Newcastle Road, Sunderland.

The demolition of the old Excel bowling alley and Locarno in Newcastle Road, Sunderland.

Kath Walsh had her own special reason for remembering the venue. “Met all 1973 Sunderland f a cup winning team there, Dennis Tueart signed my arm.”

Gordon Willis had recollections of the “palm trees and revolving stage.. the only place to be on Friday nights. Monday was second division night, thin lizzy,alex Harvey band, genesis with Gabriel playing flute and bass drum...all manner of delights....

Joyce Sheriff Ord recalled “getting the pit bus home every one running down ramp to buss stop out side of wheatsheaf to get home.”

Val Ross said: “Yes, this is where I spent most Saturday nights from the age of 16 - 17. One week saw the Bay City Rollers and the next Thin Lizzy. Great times! Val Ross (Valerie Belton as was).”

Tom Woodward chipped in with: “Saw led zeppelin ,Mott the hoople ,slade ,there ,great nights on a Friday ,couple pints in the wheatsheaf then headed to the Mecca ,happy times.”

Fiona McNichol never forgot those halcyon days and said: “Still reminisce about this place if a song comes on the radio that they played on a Friday night, wonderful, wonderful memories..”

Deborah Jones said: “Oh yes.... On a Friday night, all roads led to Mecca! Stopping off at the Wheatsheaf on the way, of course. Heavy night in the Mayfair Suite was the highlight of the week!”

Andrew Dawes’ reason for being there was a little different. He said: “My father did a lot if the artwork and publicity and so as a child I spent a lot of evenings in there when he was delivering or seeing the managers - fascinating as a small boy with all the lights and glamour remember the metal staircase with lights behind it like stars. But never went there as an adult interestingly.”

Peter Maggiore recalled: “Friday night and everyone sitting down to Stairway To Heaven after headbanging session.”

And Jan Foley added: “OMG spent n any nights here. Heavy rock on Fridays watching the hippies swaying their hair then up to Tiffs for soul and motown. Saw a number ber of bands in tge Mecca and enjoyed my first taste of Northern Soul.”

Mark Wright said: “Went bowling there when I was a student. Saturday nights were spent at Fusion nightclub and Sunday lunchtime at the Boilermaker’s club. 70s were great in Sunderland.”

William Topping told us: “Yes, Genevieve’s had the best entrance and staircase, the best dancefloor and the best music and djs. Many a night sitting above the tree at the top of the spiral staircase and looking down at the dancers before joining in when Shalamar came on!”

The Newcastle Road building was demolished in 2012 to make way for a new superstore.

Thanks to everyone who shared our trip down Memory Lane.