The Cellar Club in South Shields is probably best remembered as the venue that on 1 February 1967 hosted one of Jim Hendrix’s few performances in the North East of England. This was the New Cellar Club. A purpose built three storey building on Thomas Street (without a cellar), which opened on 2 December 1966. The New Cellar was impressively advertised as a £50,000 disco club for 18 to 25 year olds. It bore no resemblance to the original Cellar Club which it replaced.

Ticket to see Hendrix - a sought after item in early '67

Ticket to see Hendrix – a sought after item in early ’67

2 cellar06cropped

Advert for the Hendrix gig

The old Cellar, otherwise known as the Cellar Jazz Club was situated not far from Thomas Street at 45 Beach Road. It was opened in 1956 by Gladys Hogg, a former dance teacher who had previously used the premises for her dance school. Gladys was the mother of Stan Bailey, one of the founder figures of the well known Bailey Organisation. The Cellar was housed in a terraced building, which from the outside looked like large family home. Although it did start its life as a jazz club and ran for many years as such, in later years the music changed over to R&B, soul or whatever was popular at the time with jazz still being played on a Monday evening.

The River City Jazzmen performing at the Cellar Jazz Club in the early sixties

The River City Jazzmen performing at the Cellar Jazz Club in the early sixties (photo by Jim Perry)

I first started playing at the old Cellar midway through 1966. At that time, the club was open seven days a week with a different local band every night. My memory of the premises is as follows: –

The hallway where Alf Hobson the doorman, dressed in a black suit, white shirt and bow tie, took your money and signed in guests had a small table not far from the front door. There was a bar in the one of the rooms to the right and the main rooms where the band played were downstairs in the basement. The basement had a stone floor and there was no stage and no dressing room.

The Cellar Jazz Club (the old Cellar Club) on Beach Road as it looks today

The Cellar Jazz Club (the old Cellar Club) on Beach Road as it looks today

The following photos of the old Cellar were kindly sent to me by Brian Short who used to be a member of the North East band, the Sect. Brian visited the building which housed the Old Cellar decades after the club had closed. The owners at the time were having some building work done but up to that point had left the original basement much the same as it had been in 1966: –

The stairs leading to the basement

The stairs leading to the basement

The basement where the bands played

The basement where the bands played

The basement where the bands played

The basement where the bands played

The basement where the bands played

The basement where the bands played

THE NEW CELLAR CLUB

I was one of the first musicians to perform at the new Cellar Club on Thomas Street. Before the official opening on 2 December 1966, a party was held for the staff and the contractors who had built the club. The Jazzboard were booked to play at the party, which took place on 1 December 1966.

Advert for the New Cellar

Advert for the New Cellar

The main dance floor was on the top floor with raised seating areas on three sides. Unlike the old Cellar, there was a stage for the band and the DJ. In fact, musicians were well catered for with their own dressing room/relaxation area behind a revolving stage. The bar was on the raised area opposite the stage. From what I can recall, there was a bar and eating area on the first floor and the only places accessible to the public on the ground floor were the foyer and toilets. The place was well decorated and furnished.

I remember the round black tables which were specially made for the club. On the surface they had the names of the local bands that had played at the old Cellar club; Junco Partners, Jazzboard, Shady Kases, the Sect, Elcort etc.

During the first few years, a lot of well known acts played at the New Cellar. Some that come to mind are: Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band, Alex Harvey, Family, Chicken Shack, Rory Gallagher, Tim Rose and, of course, Jimi Hendrix. Here is a link to a site about Jimi Hendrix gigs in the North East. There’s also a lot about the Cellar and some information about some north east bands that played there in the sixties.

View of the stage from just below the bar area

View of the stage from just below the bar area

More Cellar memorabilia: –

The following tickets from the New Cellar were kindly sent to me by Fred Kirkland who was one of the founding DJs at the club.

11 paul jones cellar

12 family cellar

13 Long John Baldry cellar

14 soft machine cellar

15 Alexis Korner cellar

16 Tim rose cellar

17 root jenny jackson cellar

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Here’s a black and white photo of Fred, which should back memories to anyone who was a regular at the New Cellar in the late 60s. In the colour photo, the DJ in the booth is Pete Edmondson:-

18 Fred bw

19 pete edmondson

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Membership card for the New Cellar

Membership card for the New Cellar

Jimi Hendrix at the Cellar on 1st February 1967

Jimi Hendrix at the Cellar on 1st February 1967

Membership application for the New Cellar

Membership application for the New Cellar

23 A cellar0223 cellar01

A fairly recent photo of the building which housed the New Cellar Club

A fairly recent photo of the building which housed the New Cellar Club

Adverts for the Cellar Jazz Club (the old Cellar Club on Beach Road): –

25 Cellar126 cellar

Adverts for New Cellar Club: –

28 new cellar2

27 new cellar129 chronicle3

Jazzboard performing at the New Cellar Club, Thomas Street in 1967

Jazzboard performing at the New Cellar Club, Thomas Street in 1967

31 jazzboard cellar

Jazz board with Les Gofton (far left)

33 family

34 the nice

More New Cellar tickets

The Cellar club eventually became the Chelsea Cat and continued under this name until the eighties when it closed down.

35 chelsea cat card

  1. Fred Kirkland

    April 7, 2015 •

    The second pic above is of Pete Edmondson - who went on to open several wine bars in the town

  2. DAVID PARK

    April 17, 2015 •

    I started as a DJ at the New Cellar, got the job because Christine Perfect, then of Chicken Shack failed to turn up for a gig due the a car breakdown.

  3. Doreen Purvis

    June 1, 2015 •

    I went to the old Cellar Jazz Club from 1958. At the time it was just known as ' Baileys'. The music was just records. No live bands until much later in the early sixties. Stan Henry used to ensure the latest records and many American imports were played. No alcohol only soft drinks .It had a bit of a reputation as there were generally fights at closing time which was ten thirty. Some of my happiest teenage years spent here. Entrance ranged from two shillings on week nights to two and six on Friday and Saturday.mrs Hogg took the money on the door. We were such good customers she would let us in on tick.

  4. Peter french

    August 9, 2015 •

    Hi
    My name is Peter French. I have just taken over the nostalgia page for the shields gazette.
    Really enjoyed reading the stories about the club and the people who played there.
    I am planning a series of articles in the gazette about music and clubs from this era and would really appreciate it if as many people as possible would get in touch with their memories. I'd love the hear from the likes of David, Doreen and Fred who have posted here, along with anyone else who would like to contribute to my upcoming articles.
    If you went to the club (especially if you were there when Hendrix played) I would really value your input.
    Any other ideas about the clubs, the bands and the people who went there would also be of great assistance.
    Please get in touch with me at Peter.french@jpress.co.uk or ring me on my direct line (0191) 5017476.
    Cheers,
    Peter

  5. Dr Les Gofton

    August 12, 2015 •

    I was in a few bands which played at the Cellar., from 1966 to 1970, including the Bond (when Hendrix was top of the bill), jazz board and Brave New World. Saw most of the bands advertised, along with those not mentioned....Rory Gallagher, the Nice, Family, Yes, Arthur Brown amongst others. Wonderful period in which to be young, and able to see these bands. When we were playing at the old Cellar, Alf asked us who he should book for the opening night. We told him to get a new band called The Cream. And he did......

  6. Dr Les Gofton

    August 12, 2015 •

    I remember the knopfler brothers playing at the new cellar too.

  7. Peter french

    August 23, 2015 •

    Hi Dr Gofton thanks for your input. Please give me a riing, I'd love to hear more.
    Cheers,
    Peter French
    0191 5017476
    Peter.french@jpress.co.uk

  8. JOHN ROSS

    August 30, 2015 •

    I have happy memories of playing at the old Cellar Jazz Club with Chris Warren and The Strangers in the early Sixties.
    We won the Top Rank Talent of Tomorrow competition and Television All Winners Trophy in March 1964 in Brighton followed by a recording at Abbey Road and a number of television appearances there-after.We were re-united on Surprise Surprise in 1989. Chris went on to join Pickettywitch and Bob Marshall joined The John Miles Set.Great days !

  9. Dave

    November 23, 2015 •

    I was a pretty regular visitor to the old Cellar Club in the 60's and remember Alf and Gladys very well. My mates from the Grammar School used to see the Alan Price Set on many Tuesday nights until one night we were told they wouldn't be on that night because they'd gone to London to make a record(House of the Rising Sun)! A lot of these visits were made possible when Alf gave us free tickets.I think Sunday nights were given over to Trad Jazz bands.
    What a friendly,homely place it was.I couldn't get away with the New club and didn't go a lot.We then spent most of our nights out at the Latino or occasionally the Dolci or Wetheralls in Sunderland.

  10. Bryan Cooper

    April 29, 2016 •

    I used to go to the old cellar club in 1962/63. If you went on Saturday you could get a free pass for Monday night. The band was the Alan price modern jazz band, who became the animals.
    They did happy birthday for me on my,18th!

  11. Rob phillips

    June 14, 2016 •

    Great venue and good times. Saw Chicken Shack, Rory Gallagher in Taste and Spooky Tooth amongst others as well as many of the local bands around at the time!

  12. Benway

    August 7, 2016 •

    Was it at the cellar club that jimi hendrix got hoyed out because he was too off his face on drugs to play? I heard the bouncers chucked him down the stairs as everybody was well upset at not being able to see him at his best.

  13. Bam Place

    June 20, 2017 •

    Hello, I played at the New Cellar club in the 90s in a band called Stoned. Rolling Stones tribute band, someone told me that Jimmi Hendricks stuck his guitar in the ceiling when he played there, is the story true? Bam.

  14. Dougie Vickers

    July 1, 2017 •

    Used to play there in 60's with a blues band called, Vermen, featuring Pongo Waring on lead and harmonica, Malcolm of the Kylastrones on lead Me, Dougie Vickers ex Invaders on drums, Les Proud singer and forget name of bass player. Great venue.

  15. Trevor hedley

    July 12, 2017 •

    Jimi hendrix did indeed stick his guitar through the roof of the revolving stage, he then looked at Mitch Mitchell and they both laughed. I also remember that the stage would not revolve and the band members had to push it round manually. Jimi was not best pleased.
    When I entered the club as was going up the stairs there was a sudden flurry at the top of the stairs and suddenly jimi came rushing down the stairs followed by someone else (I'm assuming chas chandler but can't swear by that) because I was blocking the stairs they had to stop right in front of me at which point they started having an argument because Jimi didn't, for some reason, want to play. Eventually jimi was talked into it and the rest is, as they say, history.
    I seem to remember mitch Mitchell making, in a documentary some reference to a fall out of some kind when doing the shields gig which could explain why the set was only about 40 minutes long and possibly the guitar through the roof.
    I also seem to remember Stan telling me that they had cost £400 for the night.
    I believe Jerry Dorset Aka Engelbert Humperdinck was in the audience having time out from the Latino.

    Good days

    By the way was always happy to see The Bond was playing locally, one of my favourite local bands. Did you also play the Golden Slipper? Or is that a false memory.

  16. Dougie Vickers.Drummer with the Invaders and laterally with the blues band Vermen

    July 12, 2017 •

    We only played at the Old Cellar Club (Baileys) with Mrs Smith on the door when I played with a blues band called Vermen and with the Invaders at The Crown Ballroom South Shields Monday nights.

  17. Peter higginson

    October 9, 2017 •

    I was to young for this place but my older bro Stevie went and told me of the nite Arthur Brown was on and almost set fire ???? to the place with his flaming hat


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