The Iron Door Club, Liverpool
I came across an old (2008) reference on your site (from a John Irwin) to the Iron Door club in Liverpool, and a couple of the bands that played there.
One of the bands mentioned was Dave Wilson’s Dixielanders. I’ve attached an old photo of the band, with Dave Wilson on clarinet, and his brother Ernie (my father) on Trombone. Sadly, both Wilsons have been gone from us for a while, and my father’s musical versatility perhaps skipped a generation (he also played vibes, piano, piano-accordion and – in later life – classical guitar and organ). However, I think he’d get a kick from seeing/hearing his 15-year-old grandson practising old jazz standards on his piano, in preparation for his first gig at the Sheffield Tramlines festival later in July!
Hope you like the photo.
Regards - Bernard Wilson
Rory Storm and the Hurricanes (Ringo would have been on the drums at this time) started at the Iron Door in 1960. I think the year 1961, is possibly the year John is remembering. Yes, John is correct we did use the name Storyville Jazz Club, it was also called the Liverpool Jazz Society. But always known as the Iron Door. The name changers were necessary because of the activities by the authorities, (Police) who for some reason wanted us closed down. A conflict of interest developed because we didn't want to go!.
15/02/09 "When the licensing authority closed the "Door" ( "Yogi and Booboo held the key to the Iron Door"... remember that headline?) we rehearsed at a police club I recall! "........ Phil Morris
Reading the recent tribute to Dave Lind, on the North West Jazz site I noticed an item from Phil Morris ex- Dave Lind's trumpet player who mentioned the Iron Door Club in Temple Street Liverpool 2. I was one of the original owners of the club I was surprised to read Phil Morris mention the Yogi Bear and Boo Boo, I didn't think that anyone would have remembered this incident from 1960 which lead to the club forfeiting its drinks licence. I also have visions of the band rehearsing early Sunday mornings. Also mentioned this week Mick Shores Tuxedo Jazz Band who also played at the club, both were excellent sounding bands.
All the male
defendants pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the unlicensed
sales of liquor, and the two barmaids to selling liquor without a
Inspector J. W. Bonner, prosecuting, said that the club was only
registered in February this year with a membership, of thirty-two.
When the police raided the club on June 30, the membership had grown
to 2,369. The club was situated in a disused five-storey warehouse.
The basement was used as a dance room and the ground floor as the
main clubroom with a bar. When police raided the premises, of 131
people present, 66 were not members.
Information supplied by Peter Swensson
28/02/17 - Hi Fred,
I've just read the post about the Iron Door club.
Pete Haslam's Collegians played there in the early days, probably 1960. We had been going to the Cavern and got quite a following there , and were booked for the Iron Door club...so If my memory serves me correctly, we turned up in Temple street and there was a big pile of builders rubble outside.
Think there was another band playing ,but as we pulled up in the van, a taxi stopped right near this pile of rubbish and who do you think stepped out of the taxi? Count Basie...his band had been playing a concert in the city and he obviously wanted to go out and check out the local scene...Of course, this was before the Beatles were famous. We had played many times with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes as our supporting group so the other band could have been them.
I remember that the Basie bands trombonist turned up and he and Pete Haslam (trombone) were chatting, and played together. The Count didn't play though, but I was a bit nervous playing in front of him.
Instead of going down steps to the cellar as we did in the cavern, we went upstairs, but the ground floor was like a builders yard.
Rather Belated response to recent events:
Iron Door Club... thought I
should contribute, then found I had done in 2009! We, the Dave Lind
JB, used to enter the premises for our Sunday am rehearsals,
through a cargo hatch at road level. Or is old age playing tricks? I
remember playing there one night, when the "Thameside Three"
performed, including Long John Baldy. I believe he later discovered
Rod Stewart? We also played at the Mardi Gras and Downbeat clubs,
owned by Roberts and Ireland.
Memories of the Iron Door Club?
In 1960/61 I was playing drums with the Noel Walker Stompers and we had a regular (Sunday?) gig at the Door. One week the place was crowded with younger kids, mostly girls, who paid no attention to the jazz and were just making a terrible racket. There was an interval band booked who nobody had heard of at the time. After a while one of the interval band guys got up on the stand, grabbed a microphone and said: "We know you've all come to listen to us, but you've got to listen to these first, so shurrup." They did, and we all said "Thank you" to John Lennon!
Mike McCombe’s article reminded me of the reason Noel Walker’s Stompers were performing on Sunday at the Iron Door club; this relates to the information previously mentioned on this page regarding the facilities fine imposed on the club by the Liverpool City Magistrates. Unable to trade and pay the bills, inevitably the bailiffs arrived and removed everything of value in the club, virtually leaving just a shell.They reluctantly left the 40 ft solid mahogany bar, I decided to cut it in half and transport one half up a steep flight of stairs to the first floor, where I proposed a new cloak room. I asked Noel if he and his Stompers would attempt to transport the very heavy counter up to the first floor, no hesitation, along with some huffing and puffing they succeeded. The reward was six straight bookings for the band on a Sunday night.
It was a very sad day when Noel (alias Whistling Jack Smith) informed me that he had accepted a post from Decca Recording company to become one of their record producers, the band was disbanding, Noel Walker Stompers were uniquely placed to equal some of the best bands from London and Manchester.
Hi Fred, Good to read your page
about the Iron Door Club in Liverpool. I used to go there on
Wednesday afternoons in 1962 for jam sessions with the Big Three. I
was in those days one of those "New Music" types being a member of
Karl Terry & the Rockin' Cruisers. One of our band jackets is on
display in the Liverpool museum (click on picture). I was
"converted" to Trad Jazz when I was invited to join
Cyril Wroe's Festival Jazz Band in 1989.
Hope this is of interest to you and your readers. - Gerry Clayton
Thank you for posting the Iron Door article; it gave me my nostalgia fix for the month and names I hadn’t heard in years gave the memory buds a real workout.
Alf Tweedle: I played with Alf for many years in the early Panama Jazz Band, he was the band’s first regular drummer and, to my knowledge, did not play clarinet.
Dave Wilson: an interesting case, he apparently was playing Dixieland in Southport in the late 1930s, thereby preceding the “jazz revival”! I remember The Liverpool Echo printing an article about this.
Mike Shore: a great jazz trombonist, I had the pleasure of playing alongside him and the Senior brothers in the Imperial Band in Sheffield in the early sixties, before he formed his Tuxedo band.
Dave Lind: I remember hearing this refreshingly different young jazz band at the Iron Door on several occasions and was saddened when he had to give up playing. Dave was one of a very few clarinettists playing in the style of Johnny Dodds.
Dave Stone: an excellent clarinet player. I heard him in Tony Pringle’s Imperial band after he replaced Brian Williams.
OK, that last name was found in the Tony Davis tribute page. I first met Tony when we both worked the Christmas post in 1955. At the time he was recumbent and concussed, having slipped on a patch of ice. It was the only time I found him at a loss for words. The second time I met him was at a jam session at Alistair Wallace’s home, when Tony was playing clarinet, an activity that was not mentioned in the tribute page.
Good to see such interest in the "Door". Kind of John to have good memories of the Dave Lind Jazz Band (DLJB), and also Dave Stone, leader of our first band at school. Just talking to him on the phone this week. He's in Kent now and busy with gigs.
Back to DLJB: after Dave's accident we were able to carry on with Chris Cook in the Dodds role and rehearsals, of course. Do many of your web correspondents have memories to share of the Mardi Gras and Downbeat Clubs? As you know we had residencies in both for some time and shared the stage with many of our heroes. Happy Days.