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Entertainment for the teenager in the early 1960's

Published: 30th July 2007 21:21

By Manor Court Nostalgia Writer Peter Keat 

What do you remember about the forms of entertainment we enjoyed during our time at school in the 60s? ( I was a Manor Court School myself at that time).

I am not talking about those first romances or clandestine meetings with girl friends and boy friends, enjoyable as they may have been and so often still very fondly remembered. I will spare my own, and other peoples blushes by drawing a veil over those occasions.

What I remember are days out in the summer with friends, we cycled miles all around the area and explored every nook and cranny. Flint House, Farlington Marshes, Forty Acres Farmhouse, Dead Mans Wood, Portsdown Hill and the Chalk Pits the back of the hill and other such places. We would even cycle out to Hayling Island to spend the day on the beach or Hambledon for a day in the country. But in the evenings things changed and out came the winkle picker shoes, or chisel fronts, tab collared shirts for the lads and stilettos and fashionable dresses for the girls and off we went to various venues to enjoy ourselves. But where did we go?

Maybe if the time of year was right we went to the fair on Portsdown Hill on the piece of land just above the QA Hospital at Cosham. The fair had its origins way back in 1193 when the area was granted a market, but I am sure most of us remember the colour, lights, the smell and the excitement of visiting the fair on its yearly visit. Over the years it has petered out and now there are no longer brightly lit swings, dodgems, roundabouts and other sideshows to be found for a week on Portsdown Hill.
There were, believe it or not dances at the Drayton Institute where such bands as Screaming Lord Sutch and the Crypt pickers, the Classics, Dave Dee and the Bostons (before they adopted that impossibly long name) and that little Andover band led by Reg Presley, the Troggs. There were sometimes live bands at the youth club in Manor Court but I do not remember any of the names of the groups but I do remember that it was here that I first came across bulk Coke in pressure containers very modern at the time.

There were also pop concerts every other Saturday at the Guildhall. I could only afford to go once a month and I remember flipping a coin with a friend to decide which group we would see that particular month. The call came down as the Rolling Stones, the group we turned down was the Beatles and I never did see them play live. However I do remember two other evenings at the Guildhall one was with Little Richard who performed so hard and so long that the band gave up at 23.00 and left the stage but undeterred he continued for another 45 minutes on his own until the management were frightened of infringing the Sunday Entertainment laws. The other occasion I remember was the broadcast of Juke Box Jury with David Jacobs in the chair, I cannot remember who was on the panel that night but I do remember being very surprised that the set was so knocked about and tatty, but I suppose back in the days of black and white TV it did not notice.

Friday nights was always Scout night for me and as I grew older and became a Rover Scout this meant shorter Scout meetings and long visits to The George on the top of the hill. At that time over the weekends there always seemed to be a party somewhere, and I can remember attending quite a few, but no details no pack drill.

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richard t
At 15:52 on 1st August 2007, richard t commented:

Very interesting article.
I too remember the dos at Drayton Institute, and I used to also attend Drayton Methodist Youth Club.

The concerts at The Guildhall were brilliant. I saw The Beatles as the last act in the first half of the concert that had Chris Montez & Tommy Roe as the stars!!
The audience were calling for the Beatles to return!
The second time they appeared we queued all night and had front row seats...could'nt hear them for screaming....girls were as bad!!!!!
I also saw Everley Brothers, Brenda Lee, Gene Vincent, Tornadoes, Cliff, Shadows, Olivia Newton-John, Joe Brown (about 10 times) plus countless more.
Do you also remember the Jazz bands playing South Parade Peir on a Sunday night? Admission to balcony was 9d. We saw Acker Bilk, Kenny Ball, Chris Barber etc etc

Those were the days eh?

Richard Tovery
Peter K
At 17:25 on 4th August 2007, Peter K commented:
I certainly remember all the things you mentioned Richard, in fact I think I remember you!!!

I was a great jazz fan and attened all the jaz venues between Chichester and Southampton. However little did I know that 40+ years later I was to become friendly with that jazz legend Nat Gonella when he moved in round the corner from me. Visiting Nat was always a pleasure and you never knew who you would meet there, some that spring to mind are Acker of course, Chris Barber, Beryl Bryden, Humph and Didgby Fairweather-Low. When Nat died there was the most fantastic New Orleans Marching funera which lieterally brought Gosport to halt.


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