Locarno Ballroom and Mecca

By Simon Mortimer

Locarno Ballroom and Mecca. Photo taken in 1961
Stevenage Museum. P6815
This page was added on 07/01/2011.

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  • Hi Jim French. My mum was married to Gerry Ferrero the piano player with Wally. Did you know him. My mum’s name was Iris

    By Colin Stevens (16/11/2021)
  • I was the drummer with the Wally Johnson Orchestra in 1962/3. This was the resident dance band of that time. Four trumpets, five saxes, piano bass and drums. The visiting dancers were all nicely dressed and the ballroom was the very last dance hall ever to be built by the Mecca Organisation. It had the finest orchestra, lighting, sound system and air-conditioning and also a sprung dance floor of that time.

    By Jim French (05/08/2021)
  • Hi guys, I’m doing some research into local DJs from this time and wondered if anyone remembers the names of any who played at the Mecca in the late 60s/ early 70s. Any info gratefully received.

    By Nicholas Porter (03/11/2020)
  • I remember Cloda Rogers [Clodagh Rodgers. Ed] being the resident singer.

    By Alan Millard (22/03/2020)
  • Great many memories of The Mecca and Bowes Lyon House and my sister and I were very lucky to see so much brilliant live music, especially in the 60s. One of the big nights at the Mecca was New Year’s Eve, which was always crowded, but I loved it, because you could always contrive to be near the bloke you fancied as it approached midnight, so you would get a kiss!!. Funnily enough, I was telling someone about the ‘boudoir’ the other day, so it’s great to see the photo.

    By Maureen Browning (nee Dayton) (29/12/2019)
  • O THE MECCA, great memories, revolving stage, a gallery extending around three sides where one could sit at a table and view the dance floor and stage below. We would see some of the top “beat groups” of the day. A beat group would play two slots with a half hour break between, when the stage would then revolve and the resident band would appear {at which we would all disappear , to the bar!!}. Unfortunately i suffered from alopecia, and this would mean periods of time with hair loss and subsequent lack of ability to obtain a dance!! i explained this to my doctor who agreed to supply me with two national health wigs {beatle style of course}.

    The handmade wigs arrived some weeks later at which i went straight down to the mecca paid my 4 shillings and sixpence to get in {price estimated} and promptly walked up to a little blond girl who was dancing round her handbag in the centre of the dance floor. I politely asked if she would care to dance with me to which she retorted {through her chewing gum filled mouth } “you must be bloody joking”. I LOST IT TOTALY whipping off my wig throwing it to the floor whilst shouting out “what do you expect for 4 shillings and sixpence, elvis presley!! I then walked off kicking my wig in front of me. But it was good news the following week when i returned to the mecca {with my mate dave gale and WITHOUT said wig !!} that i would meet christine barry who was my girlfriend for a year before i was sent to germany for a years specialised training with the company for which i worked {never saw her again!!}.

    Anybody remember the baron knights? they could mimic any of the top beat groups of the time, they played at the mecca a good few times, talented indeed.

    By michael gohami (08/12/2019)
  • Friday 1 November 1968 is a memorable date for me at the Stevenage Mecca, happy days and happy memories, yes how we hated it when the ‘orchestra’ came on and just had to retire to the bar!

    By Stephen Barrett (02/11/2019)
  • I remember this too. Had many great times at the Mecca. I remember going to the midnight ball from Midnight to 4 am. I walked home to Bedwell. A copper picked me up and took me home. Great times. Great dancing and I loved dressing up in all the mod clothes.

    Best time of my life. CB – now living in Canada.

    By CB (24/07/2019)
  • We often went by coach from Luton to the Locarno on a Saturday night.

    Easter 1964 we were given a base metal charm of a chicken coming out of an egg as we paid. Mine had a flat base and at the end of the evening I was called up on stage and given a 9 carat gold one in a case. Don’t know if this was a local promotion or if they were given out at all the Mecca dancehalls. Lovely memories. Does anyone remember this promotion?

    By D Davidson (07/04/2019)
  • Amazing memories of the Mecca. Saw many groups ( not bands as they are now called) Stevie wonder, small faces too. Dancing with my friends, started off on Saturday mornings when we were young. Picked up by my dad wasn’t aloud to go home alone then. Monday in the patio suite much later on. Kathleen Nye ( Bristow)

    By Kathleen nye (25/01/2019)
  • Fanastic place so many great memories from 1969.
    Used to go there every Saturday night revolving stage Glenn Campbell Rhinestone Cowboy playing.
    Almost 50 years ago now. Mohair suit, beautiful blond girlfriend now I am old and grey!
    Happy Days

    By Ray (06/01/2018)
  • I remember it well. I started off on Saturday mornings, moved on to the afternoons and then the pinnacle of social aspiration – Saturday nights. How we hated it when the ‘orchestra’ came on! The powder room looks so small!! Monday night was also the Mecca, Friday was ‘Bowes’ then Sunday was a long trip to The Cherry in WGC.

    By Caroline Scott (07/02/2014)
  • I also remember the Monday nights – a lifetime ago!

    By Lynne Newbury (30/12/2012)
  • It took me a moment to realize where this was… of course, the powder room of the Locarno Ballroom & Mecca. Loved this place. Monday Night Mecca…Saturday Night and my favourite was Sunday Night at the ???. Saw some great & not so great artists.. Tony Blackburn, Stuart Henry,Johnnie Walker (very fond memories) Go-Go dancing competitions! Broken hearts! The powder room smelling of talcum powder and hairspray and the strobe lights that meant wearing black a disaster… it made everyone look as though they had dandrufff…..

    By Terri Anderson (18/06/2012)
  • the Mecca…… where I met my first love, Paul Nesbitt, he came over with the Hemel boys…… many a fun night was had there in my youth….. 1967-1971, saw a lot of great bands….. loved the revolving stage and the ‘starry’ ceiling and even though this photo of the ‘powder room’ makes it look like a laundromat we thought it was the coolest place to ever…..

    By Christine Burwell (Banham) (02/03/2012)