TagThe Ritz

Mike Connolly lead the Manchester Tiffanys management chase into Tommy Ducks to catch a handbag thief……..

Jean Charnock sent us this the following story about her days at Manchester Ritz and the occasion when Mike Connolly lead the Manchester Tiffanys management chase into Tommy Ducks to catch a handbag thief.

Hi – I  started working at the Ritz Ballroom in the seventies as assistant chief cashier to Jean Dawe who was Chief Cashier, then transferred to Tiffanys as Chief Cashier.Mike Connolly was Manager while I was there and I would like to know how he’s doing these days.

Judy Gee was also Manager for a spell,I could tell a few tales but better not – and yes – she was was hard work.

I remember an old cleaner called Winnie Harrison who had been at Tiffany’s during the Jimmy Saville days and he used to take them round the block in his fancy car.

One day after leaving work and heading up George St my bag was snatched with the safe keys in. I ran back into Tiffany’s, Mike and DJ Steve Jones came running out half undressed as they had been getting ready for the evening.

We all ran in the direction of Tommy Ducks as that was where the young hooligan had ran. A police car came and my bag was recovered intact.

A long way back now.

Great memories Jean – many thanks for sharing

 

John Ellis – I Worked as Joint Assistant Manager at the Ritz Between 1969 – 1973 ish.

Hello, Just found your site, what a great idea.

I worked as joint assistant manager at the Ritz between 1969 – 1973 ish. When I first started the manager was a guy called Alan Coulson and the catering manager was Judith Gee (Fantastic at her job but hard work) and the second time the manager was Brian Thompson, who I think came from Nottingham previously. The catering manager was Tony Fitton. I came originally from Blackpool Locarno, where I was a trainee manager under Bill Hunt we were great mates and I am so sorry to read he has passed on. The manager at the time cica. 1969 was an Irishman called Morgan Hosey.

My other places within Mecca were Manger at the Nocturne club under Bolton Palais and Samantha’s club above the Plaza in Stockport.

I recognise other names on this page: Bernard from the Ritz, what a great guy he was one of the few people I have met that could stack 36 gallon kegs on his own. Bernard would eat 2 meat and potato pies coverd in brown sauce between a full loaf for his lunch. Martin Baird mentioned Pete  Devereux, I used to rent his house off him in Ashton on Mersey in Sale. Anyone know what happened to him? Loads of stuff to share at a later date. This has brought back some great memories. Cheers

A Boxers Last Fight @ The Ritz

I’ve seen and heard many interesting stories through my career in bars & nightclubs which has now come to an end for the boring office life…. yaaaawn…. But I always seem to look back at the pretty crazy times there were to be had in that industry… One of many memories of The Ritz in Manchester were the boxing events we used to hold there.

On one of these nights we got to see this pretty colourful looking fellow, dressed in some flamboyant colourful shorts, who apparently decided that this nights fight would be his last as a male….

I know what your thinking, I thought the same when it got announced over the PA system. But this is not the crazy part of that night, it was while he was fighting he probably thought it might be funny to give all the 1000+ crowd a little something to remember him by before he went to Sweden for his sex change op. The boxer who’s name has slipped my mind at the moment was in the 2nd round of his fight he pinned his competitor to the floor and bit his ear clean off only to spit it out at the crowd in a rage, due to the… lets say inappropriate chants directed towards the fighters gender change!! He must have been trying to take a leaf out of Mike Tyson’s book….

Who knows where this mysterious ear biting boxer is now?? Did he go through with his surgery?? Did he ever fight again?? hmmmmm Guess we’ll never actually know…

It was not supposed to be fun and games on Meccas revolving stage!

It was not supposed to be fun and games on Mecca`s revolving stage!

But when you add up to 15 musicians and singers, more than the average amount of alcohol, electric motors with a mind of their own, multiple microphone leads, you can imagine the hilarity, and the confusion.

More than one drummer has rolled off his podium amid a collection of high hats, tom toms and a shower of sheet music. Most band members have stood in a semi-circle – right foot on the stage – the other foot working the periphery as though powering a huge  scooter. Band leaders have fallen off as the result of too much hospitality, and many a prankster has pressed the button to give the audience a view of a departing band, empty back stage, and the returning band – often for up the three revolutions.

The introduction of the revolving stage was a huge move forward in the presentation of live music. While one band, or act, was performing on stage, another would be preparing to take over. Each act would be informed as to when the stage would revolve, and so the show went on, with a turn around tune – usually “Moon River”, played in waltz time by both bands, with the intention of leaving a full dance floor for oncoming band.

The picture below was taken at Glasgow Locarno, and shows one of the best – of the best Mecca managers – Brian Train – with Danny Williams, who had a huge hit with “Moon River” (although it was also a hit for Andy Williams – no relation).

 

We recently managed to get under the stage at The Ritz Manchester; a former Mecca dance hall, so we took the following picture of some of the rim of the workings of the revolving stage. Unfortunately we could not get to the sea of huge springs underneath the dance floor.

The rim if the revolving stage is to the top of the picture. But this is no ordinary revolving stage. It has accommodated the Joe Loss Orchestra, The Phil Tate Orchestra, and endless star names through the decades.

 

And no Mecca manager dared to open their club without a full balloon basket, but we searched and searched, but could not find it. I know, it may sound a bit sad – or dated, but the scramble to catch a balloon on a Friday or Saturday night had to be seen to be believed. It was the highlight of many a dancer`s night to take one home.

We did find the cloakroom though, with its antler pegs for three coats per fitting per side, and extra pegs above for hats, which will set hearts a-racing for any member of management who has ever suffered “the night of the great cloakroom disaster”.

 

It would be wrong to leave The Ritz without showing an image of its former decadence, dating back to the early days when each ballroom had to be more spectacular than the last –

 

We photographed as much as we could at The Ritz, and are indebted to the management for their hospitality. It is one of the last spectacular ballrooms. Something out of time, but was still trading when we visited – so we left with a final shot of the ceiling…….. it still looked pretty good to us.

 

At another time we will talk about the time when Lexington Avenue Hull morphed back into the Locarno as the demolition team went about their work, until all that was left was a rectangular groove in the ground – where the dance floor springs had once been, and a balloon basket fixed above. But if you look very closely to the side of the pavement you will see the small black and white mosaic tiles that formed the entrance way – to where one of the best of the best Mecca managers returned to his home town to greeted his customers.

If only we could turn back time

 

All images were taken by a member of the Locarno Boy team

 

 

 

Leslie Grantham at the Mecca Tiffanys – Newcastle under Lyme on the 6th of March 1986.

A few weeks ago we managed to get behind the scenes at The Ritz Manchester, and while we were rooting around – we found the following photo of Leslie Grantham at the Mecca Tiffanys – Newcastle under Lyme on the 6th of March 1986.

We think the manager was Dave Edwards, but who are the ladies?

Eastenders was so popular that even the dastardly deeds of Dirty Den did not stop him pulling six girls at a time!

 

Thumbnail image Leslie Grantham and Anita Dobson from guardian.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

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