Monk Bretton Miner`s Welfare Club Barnsley. Not exactly the cream of the Bailey clubs

shane fenton

Monk Bretton Bailey`s – a former miner`s welfare club on the outskirts of Barnsley, allegedly bought by partner John Smith (New Faces) without agreement from fellow partner Stan Henry. The manager had been sacked after a police raid relating to customers selling stolen goods, so a manager was needed quickly. Who they gonna call ?

Stuart Edwards

Stuart was initially asked to cover as two week holiday relief, which evolved into a request to take over the venue fully, to which he gave a determined “No thank you”.

Which brought on the sweeteners;

If he would take the job on a temporary basis he could live in Stan Henry`s luxury flat at Hallam Towers Sheffield, complete with black satin sheets and waste disposal. And Bob Monkhouse had stayed there!!!!

Well somehow that clinched the deal. Not bad for a former band singer from Eccles!


The club was surrounded by busy cabaret clubs – the Fiesta Sheffield, Wakefield Theatre Club, Batley Variety Club, and Baileys Sheffield – which was later to become Romeo and Juliet`s, then Cairo Jacks

Only two things of note had happened at this venue (other than the police raid). When playing there Shane Fenton had apparently been persuaded by the previous manager to change his name to Alvin Stardust, and a 500 strong stag party descended onto the venue every Sunday for breakfast, a serious drinking session and a bevy of strippers.

A far cry from the bustling cabaret world of Hull, but not for long; Stuart was to return in January 1974

At which point Stuart grinned and muttered something about “a reduced sentence for good behaviour”.

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Saturday 25th of October 1997 – a night out in Barnsley – what could go wrong?

We had heard a great deal about club Hedonism – so off we went – Saturday the 25th of October 1997 – a night out in Barnsley.

What could go wrong – especially with a dictionary definition reading – Hedonism  (noun)- High Living – The Seeking of Pleasure – Philosophy of Pleasure.

It was the day that Barnsley had been beaten 7 – 0 by Manchester United, but that had not dented spirits with the Barnsley pub/club crowd.

They were out to enjoy themselves – it was Saturday night!

Throughout our visit we did not see any anti-social behaviour in the Wellington Street area, but we did see thousands of people filling the streets, bars and clubs. And we saw the Hedonism venues!

The Tommy Wallocks pub was very busy. Everyone seemed to know each other. Chennells opposite was full, but The Ticket Office (with a mock Dickensian theme) was busy to the point of dangerous overcrowding. Mustang Sally`s was also extremely busy, with huge queues outside. And the street was packed!

We had also looked into the Tut and Shive, Corner Pin, The Shakespeare and Bar No 1. With the latter having the youngest clientele. Then at 9.30pm we entered Heddon Rock Cafe.

Two unfriendly no-nonsense door supervisors stood at the door talking to girls, amid an abundance of empty beer bottles and glasses. Once inside the venue we found it to be lacking in atmosphere, and only half full of people, many of which looked to be underage. The DJ was overpowering, the sound system “muffled”, and the atmosphere best described as “yobbish”.

Originally the building must have looked beautiful, with copper clad pillars and a warm “jewelled” warm earth effect, and flickering mock candle lighting.  But tonight we found dirty floors, bottles and glasses everywhere, and the filthiest of toilets imaginable. However by 11pm the room was very busy.

And it was time for Spin the Wheel!

Tonight`s winner (male) had to race to the bar – then purchase a ridiculous amount of pints and spirits for 10 or 20p (all to be downed in one), then kiss a male member of bar staff “full on t` lips) – and once this was done a discount drinks price for everyone came in.

Of course all health and safety precautions were taken –

The crowd was moved back in case he “chucked up”!

We entered Club Hedonism shortly after 11pm. The clientele was young, many with jumpers tied around their waists, wearing jeans and T shirts. Admission was £4.00, and the cloakroom 70p.

The place was absolutely filthy. Toilets reeked, and the ventilation in the kitchen fed out into the main room, mixing with the over enthusiastic burst from the smoke machine, and leaving everyone smelling of greasy beefburgers. A door supervisor was stationed in one of the gents toilets, where he ignored the blocked urinals, bottles and glasses, doors half hanging off cubicles, but he was very popular with the huge number of males who queued to speak to him!!!

And there were drug awareness posters everywhere!!!

Young scruffy customers roamed the room carrying bottles of water, or dancing euphorically in a trance like state. Hundreds of empty “Wild Brew” bottles littered the room. Other customers huddled in corners, some appearing to be sleeping, and there was no sign of any door supervisors anywhere in the main room.

Nevertheless the building was jammed full by 1.30am, and we decided to leave.

Probably best. The air was much fresher outside.

And that`s where we found all the door supervisors!

After all – who wants to go home smelling of stale beefburgers?





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One minute you are up – the next you are down. Riding the DJ lift at Pagoda Park

It looks as though the former Pagoda Park club has reopened under another yet guise and with another image.

Yet of all the images it has portrayed, Pagoda Park will take some beating.

The first club on the site was La Dolce Vita, which was a tremendous success, bringing star cabaret into the centre of Birmingham as part of the Bailey chain of clubs, with Tony Spragg as General Manager. Romeo and Juliet`s, and  then Steptoes followed, under the management of Peter Clements.

Then along came Pagoda Park.

The name clearly gives the theme away and it was manager Mike Hilkene who powered the club into the higher echelons of UK clubbing, where the legend still lingers.

Set on two levels, the DJ worked on what may have been the first moving consul, as he entertained customers on two floors. Andy Foster was resident here for quite some time, but the involvement of DJ extraordinaire Chris Sharples – pictured below is an huge asset to any business.

Chris is seen here working on the Pagoda Park moving DJ consul, at a time when DJs didn`t  travel light. Note the telephone handset for cueing and mixing!


There are many more tales to tell about Pagoda Park, and certainly many more from Chris about the Birmingham club world . One of the most entertaining night club raconteurs you will every meet.

One minute you are up – the next you are down. Riding the DJ lift at Pagoda Park – home of great entertainers.

Note – Barry Smith copied the Pagoda Park club at Japanese Whispers in Barnsley.


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