Baileys Leicester was managed by the late, great, and hugely talented Ken Smith.
Ken was an treat to work with, and an absolute mine of information. His knack of solving problems and instantly making friends was amazing – as was his ability to scan read an instruction book, then demonstrate the intricacies of complex pieces of equipment.
During his career he successfully managed numerous problem businesses, before working at senior executive level, then opening his own business – Chancellors and Chambers in Wolverhampton.
Prior to working for EMI, Ken had managed businesses for Mecca Ltd, but in his earlier days he worked for P & O, and then, Hollywood, using his skills as a member of The Magic Circle.
Whilst at Leicester Ken had a staff of 86 staff, including Jill Tarrant, who helped him double Wednesday business within three weeks. He was mindful that cabaret clubs have few regular customers, so had set about building up the weaker nights one by one. The Wednesday night promotion was “It`s a Knockout”.
“With teams from the local factories,” explained Ken.”Eight in each team and they`d bring along 100 supporters. They started to come from as far away as Lincoln and Peterborough – that`s a round trip in one case of more than 100 miles.”
Paul Conquest, the compere at Bailey`s Leicester said “We have all types here – from executives to youngsters from the shop floor. My job is to break down the cliques, help create the right atmosphere and bring the audience into the show. We all work together here – the band, the bar girls, the DJ, the managers – so that if there are any problems we can clear them up at a simple early stage, and then they go fast.”
Headline image from showaddywaddy.net – Showaddywaddy were closely linked to Bailey`s Cabaret Club. But that`s a whole new story!
Note – all information has come from the EMI News November/December 1978