Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Kingsway Goes Up In Flames

The Kingsway in its heyday
The Kingsway on Southport's Promenade has burned down tonight. This was a fondly remembered nightspot for Southport residents of certain generations. It was the venue for the first ever appearance of the Beatles with Ringo Starr in the line up, not long after he had been poached from Rory Storm and the Hurricanes as a replacement for Pete Best. A poster advertising the Kingsway night in 1962 featured the tagline: ‘Pa’s gone down to the dog track, mother’s playin’ bingo. But everyone else is going to see The Beatles’.

Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck also performed there, which gives some indication of the prestige that this establishment once had. In the 1990s it became a nightclub called Bliss, but finally closed down for good a few years ago.

The Kingsway was due to be demolished to make way for yet another block of flats, but it's a shame that it all ended like this. You can see pictures on the local news website Southport GB.

5 comments:

  1. A true tragedy if, some may say somewhat controversially, an inevitability when you look at all the other buildings and attractions that have gone up in smoke in recent months.

    I opine thus: http://www.davethackeray.com/death-of-royal/

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  2. Fond memories of nights in the upstairs Starlight Room in the late '60s, especially around Christmas and New Year times. I never used the casino but did take the odd girlfriend to the mid-week cabarets. btw, I always thought Ringo did Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight as a 1st gig with the Beatles in August 1962. The band last played the Kingsway the previous month with Pete. He was sacked 3 weeks later, Johnny Hutchinson sat in with them for 2 dates before Ringo could join.
    Spencer Leigh would know these things!
    Sad news though - there isn't much left now of the town I grew up in. A matter of time before the Arts Centre complex gets torched, he suggested cynically!!!!????

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  3. Clive: you're right about Hulme Hall on 18 August 1962. It was the first gig after Ringo joined the group. But on 5 February 1962, Ringo sat in for Pete Best, who was unwell, according to my "Complete Beatles Chronicle". It also makes clear that the future Fab Four played the Cavern that lunchtime, then the Kingsway in the evening. So the Kingsway was actually the second venue for the Ringo line-up.

    Let's hope you're wrong about the Arts Centre.

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  4. Seeing the giant claw lofted high over the scorched remains of The Kingsway brought a lump to my throat.

    The Pownce makes a very good point, corroborated against suspicions of the Southporterati.

    It's there, the old Morrisons building, the old Carlton building, or evens on the old bus station.

    The way things are turning out, there's more old in Southport than a full house at the Bovis refuge!

    On a tangerine, I believe AJC was in fine fettle at Maghull last night. Any chance of a vaguely authoritative review from Mr Nev?

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  5. No chance, I'm afraid. I was at a family birthday.

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