The Mayfair Banqueting Suites and the Locarno Ballrooms

Welcome to Locarno Boy. We hope you enjoy our site.

We’ve been up and running for over 5 years now, so we thought it high time we paid tribute to the amazing Mecca Ltd banqueting teams.

So we’ve started off with events from the Mayfair Birmingham.

The first image is of Princess Ann stage side with the Joe Loss Orchestra at the Mayfair Birmingham. A fabulous night, but not an unusual one. Simply the Mayfair doing what it did best. First class hospitality, food and atmosphere, all under the guidance of exceptional management, chefs, entertainers and staff. Often the same management who sat beside the emerging bands of the day; Queen, Cream, The Faces, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Kinks, Black Sabbath, The Beatles – and the list goes on. But does anyone recognise the man in the Tuxedo second from the right??

The second image is again of the Mayfair Birmingham. The afternoon audience is made up of staff from the Coca Cola factory, being entertained by The New Seekers. A “thank-you” show for helping them reach number one in the charts with “I’d like to Teach the World to Sing”

The Mayfair Suites were located at Newcastle upon Tyne, Birmingham, Bristol and other key major cities, and doubled up as entertainment and dancing venues as bookings dictated. Locarno Ballrooms, and larger Tiffany’s also had dedicated catering facilities. High profile London Mecca dancing venues also had benefit of the organisations quality restaurants and staff.

The Locarnos were the flagship dancehalls of Mecca Ltd – where Managers trained in every aspect of ballroom/nightclub management from how to defuse conflict and manage security staff to overseeing dinner dances, stage presentation and much, much more. The key to it all being their own personality and style to find different ways each week to make their venue even more interesting.

Sir Alex Ferguson met his wife at Glasgow Locarno. Julie Walters danced at Birmingham Locarno, security was maintained at Bristol Locarno by Darth Vader (David Prowse) and we are told, Edinburgh Locarno by James Bond (Sean Connery)

The BBC televised “Come Dancing” from Mecca venues, while the Miss World competition showed Mecca flagship premises such as Hammersmith Palais, The Empire Leicester Square, and The Lyceum ballroom to world audiences.

Locarno Boy is currently working on an exciting new project, and we really would appreciate your help –

We would like to make contact with anyone who worked in a Mecca venue between 1961 and 1974. Could you help us? Be great if you can!

Note – we cannot trace the origins of the images in this post. If anyone has information contact us. It is not our intention to infringe copyright.



The Dome – truly a New Years Eve to Remember

New Year`s Eve at The Dome  Birmingham was always a memorable occasion.

It was made even more special towards the end of the 1980s by the skill and showmanship of resident disc jockey Franklin Hughes.

Franklin was one of the great names from Radio Trent, and unlike many radio DJs at that time, could produce a brilliant club show.

There was also something special about the actual Dome itself. Even without customers, lighting or music, it had an amazing atmosphere all of its own.

Add this to Franklin`s talent, throw in the excitement of New Year`s Eve, then stand back to be absolutely amazed.

And this particular night truly was amazing – in more ways than the huge audience anticipated.

Franklin could really sing.

So he stopped playing music after the countdown to midnight – and he sang.

And the whole room joined in with him – and continued to do so for almost half an hour.

Now that really was a New Year`s Eve to remember.

Mecca Dance Halls and Managers from Summer 1961

We thought you would like to see a list of the Mecca Dance Halls and Managers from Summer 1961.

Clearly there are many town and cities not mentioned – such as Bristol, Birmingham, Glasgow, and many many others, but perhaps there is a clue in the number of planned openings highlighted in the list below.

Basildon Locarno – Town Centre – Manager     M Green

Belfast Plaza – Chichester Street – Manager    D R Clark  – Phone Belfast 25294

Blackburn Locarno – St Peter Street – Manager B Gee – Phone Blakewater 85538

Bolton Palais – Bridge Street – Manager W. McLeish – Phone Bolton 1451

Bradford Locarno – Manningham Lane – Manager Alan Boyce     (Opening 9th September 1961)

Burnley Locarno  – Manchester Road – Manager  C Isherwood   (Formerly the Mechanic`s Institute)

Bury   Prince`s Ballroom – Bolton Street – Manager L Byron – Phone Bury 1705

Coventry Locarno – Smithford Way – Manager R Bloxham – Phone Coventry 24570

Derby Locarno – Babington Lane – Manager A Ferris – Phone Derby 41441

Edinburgh Palais – Fountainbridge – Manager G Knowles – Phone Fountainbridge 7427

Hull Locarno – Ferensway – Manager J Munro       ( Opening 16th September 1961)

Ilford Palais – High Road – Manager B Foster – Phone Ilford 3128

Leeds Locarno – County Arcade – Manager J Savile – Phone Leeds 31046/7

Leicester Palais – Humberstone Gate – Manager G Pickavant – Phone 69967

Liverpool Grafton Rooms – West Derby Road – Manager T Reid – Phone Anfield 3928

London Lyceum – Wellington Street, The Strand – Manager D Preedy – Phone Temple Bar 3715

London Carlton Rooms – 140 Maida Vale, W 9 – Manager J H Richardson – Phone Maida Vale 5289

London Empire Rooms – Tottenham Court Road – Manager C Self – Phone Euston 4173

Manchester Plaza – Oxford Road – Manager P Wild – Phone Central 7441

Newcastle upon Tyne  The Mayfair – (Planned for opening during October 1961)

Norwich  Sampson and Hercules Ballroom – Tombland – Manager R V Shackell – Phone Norwich 21541

Norwich Norwood Rooms – Aylsham Road – Manager G Barbour – Phone Norwich 46751

Nottingham Sherwood Rooms – Greyfriar Gate – Manager N F Kemp – Phone Nottingham 50555

Nottingham Locarno – St Anns Well Road – Manager G Lloyd – Phone Nottingham 44354

Rochdale Carlton – Great George Street –  – Manager E Mills – Phone Rochdale 3347

Sale Locarno – Washway Road – Manager J Goodings – Phone Sale 1508

Sale Embassy Rooms – Washway Road – Manager H Burnett – Phone Sale 7522

Sheffield Locarno – London Road – Manager M S Proctor – Phone Sheffield 22586

Stevenage Locarno – Manager B A Elmer-Smith   (Opening September/October 1961)

Wakefield Locarno – Southgate – Manager R Keith – Phone Wakefield 6515/6

Some great pictures came into Locarno Boy this week……..

Some great pictures came into Locarno Boy this week………………   Can you guess who it is yet???

We`ve lots of follow up on one of these “stunnas” – but we need a few days to get organised.


The following two pictures show first of all how seriously a new customer care package was received – and a very smart management team from……..

More to follow!


What a team. Jacqui and Mark.

Shanghai Sams Peterborough – great times – great people!
















A New Years Eve to Cherish – Mike Hilkene at Pagoda Park

When I think of a Birmingham New Year`s Eve, one of my happiest  thoughts is of Mike Hilkene and Pagoda Park – brilliantly supported by Andy Foster on the “ride up and down” DJ consul, plus lots of very pretty people and a sea of Moet Chandon from giant bottles.

Mike and his club was a perfect match. Each had style and confident aspiration.

Who else would call one of his wealthy customers to ask how much champagne to put on ice, and then ring another customer to say what the first had ordered?

If one ordered a bottle – the other ordered a Magnum – then Mike called the first one again – and the order went up to a Jeroboam – then another phone call – and a Methuselah was put on ice.

I don`t think he ever got up to a Nebuchadnezzar, but it certainly wasn`t for the want of trying.

Mike was a showman, with a style of his own, and his New Year`s Eve events resembled the aftermath of an Oscars ceremony.

Everyone was treated like a star

Because Mike knew that was how it should be.

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