The following post came in from Rod Payne as a comment – but we have added it to the main body of Locarno Boy – hope you don`t mind Rod. It follows on from Colin Ball`s recent post on his Mecca days at Stevenage Locarno.
Great Site Colin. Not sure if I know you but feel I should as I was a regular at the Locarno (and the Tudor Suite) at least 3 or 4 nights a week from the day it opened until it no longer functioned as a Ballroom but gradually fell by the wayside and became a Bingo Hall. In the photo showing the Stage the tables to the right under the stairs where I and my friends would sit when the dancing was going full swing. Ballroom, Jive, Twist, we enjoyed them all ….. I can almost see Wally Johnson and his Orchestra playing their session and then the stage revolving so we could be entertained by a group or a DJ.
Upstairs facing the stage with the bar handy behind us was a favourite spot to watch the Groups.and the Tudor Suite for a quite drink and smoochy dance. I still have the ID Photo from my Tudor Suite Pass. I was wearing a LeatherJacket and black shirt instead of the obligatry suit and tie as I had to nip down on the motorbike at lunchtime from work to get a Pass for a hot date that evening. I also have my wife’s Tudor Pass intact with photo.
I doubt that anyone would remember me as “Rod” back then as when I moved to Stevenage in August 1957 to take up an Apprenticeship at English Electric, one of the other apprentices that started the same day, for some reason best known to him, kept calling me “Fred”. The name stuck and I was known by everyone (other than close family) as Fred Paine. There was even one period when I lost my Security Pass to EE and the Chief of Security (I believe his name was Brown) had a replacement with the name Fred and I used it for over a year before the error was picked up.
I was most interested to read Ray Nye’s comments of April 3, as my wife June (ne Cover) was on the switch board at W A Saunders at that time and in fact we were married on Boxing Day of that year at St Mary’s Church at Shephall, behind the Red Lion pub.
Ray, you mentioned the famous lights and I can only think you mean the ceiling lights …. If that is the case, you may remember Elmer Smith (Manager?) in his Penguin Suit, telling everyone each evening to look up and see the 20,000 little blue lights come on followed by the 20,000 little red lights and the 20,000 little yellows, etc. etc. etc.
Amongst my souvenirs of those days I still have a number of the imitation gold charms that were given out to patrons on special occasions such as Easter and Christmas and a First Day Cover and stamp postcard purchased at the Lacarno and sent back to me after being franked in Jamaica when Miss Jamaica won Miss World.
Also Ray, do you have a relative named Roger as there was a Roger Nye did his Apprenticeship with me. I think he might have lived in Sish Lane at the time.
Hope I haven’t bored everyone to tears but I was just so pleased to find this site.
One other small detail June and I emigrated to Perth, Western Australia in 1974 and have never been back to Stevenage.