The Temple in Liverpool
How I remember The Temple
The timing was critical. We knew that if we
stayed drinking in The Olde Crack beyond half-past nine then our chances of
getting into the basement bar of The Temple would be pretty rocky. So, as
soon as my mate Jim called ‘time’, we’d drain our last pints of draught
Double Diamond, tip out into the smoky Liverpool air, lurch down Bold Street,
and then cut through the back jiggers to reach Dale Street.
Sent by Sid Bailey
I’ve been resident for many years in St. Asaph, North Wales, but brought up in Liverpool where I was hatched in 1926, and I used to frequent such places as The Temple, Picton Hall and numerous dance halls. Never touched alcohol in those days, mainly because at the age of 18 I was introduced to BENTS beer which tasted like Mersey water and put me off the stuff for years. Of course I’m now making up for it.
mentions the Temple in Dale Street. If he is referring to the years
around 1955-1956 it was the time I came to Liverpool University but
could not get into the University band as Hughie Potter had the gig.
I therefore had to find work in town and played at the Temple as one
of my first gigs. Like Denys I cannot recall the name of the band
but it was fronted by Clinton Ford and I think it might have been
Beryl Bryden as singist. Any advance on this information would be
Mal Turnbull has jogged my memory. Yes I'm sure Beryl Bryden was singing at The Temple. I also heard her performing in a large old house in Croxteth Road' subsequently demolished and now a block of flats. The one thing I remember about the trumpeter is that he had an unusual style in that the instrument "wagged" up and down as he played! Good trumpeter though.
playing at the Temple in the Druids Jazz Band in 1957 when the line
up was Tony Pringle leader (cornet) Brian Williams (clarinet) Roy
Penny (trombone) Vic Sanderson (banjo) Rusty Hartshorn (drums) and
yours truly on bass. Later on we played at the Cavern for a short
residency playing on Wednesdays with the Ron. McKay skiffle group,
Swinging Bluejeans plus other supporting groups. On Saturdays we
were the supporting group to visiting London bands, Acker Bilk, Cy
Laurie, Dick Charlesworth, Sandy Brown etc. It wasn't long before we
got our marching orders as Allen Syntner changed over completely to
Mersey beat groups. We were also on the supporting bill at the New
Brighton Tower when the Druids and the Beetles backed up a London
Trad Jazz band. If we only had a copy of the programme.
My father bought me a Grundig reel-to-reel for my 21st birthday. It weighed 3.5 stone and I used to lug it from Crosby to the Picton Hall concerts. One night in 1955 or 6 Big Bill Broonzy was on at the Temple with the Merseysippi. I took the Grundig and asked Bill if I could record him. He wasn't keen: 'I like to got robbed several times with people doing that and then bringing it out on a record', he said. The Merseysippi had bought Bill a bottle of Scotch to drink during the evening. He managed to get the label off, and I wrote on the back a promise that I wouldn't issue my tape on a record. I gave it to him, but at the end of the evening I found the label trampled into the floor. I had a beautiful recording but, foolishly, because tapes were so expensive, I tried to copy it at half speed and re-used the original. I still have the copy, it the quality is now lousy (I copied it again to CD).
The Temple Bar and Restaurant & Banqueting Rooms situated in Temple Court and Dale Street Liverpool 2 was owned by two astute Jewish business men called Harry Waterman and Harry Issacson (Ike) they had a portfolio of clubs bars and pubs dotted around Liverpool they even owned a beer bottling plant. The Temple was the head office. Harry ‘Ike’ appeared to be responsible for the band bookings, ranging from Country & Western, Folk to Trad Jazz. The Merseysippi jazz band had a multitude of followers mainly students they called their club ‘West Coast Jazz Club’ and operated on a Sunday night they also invited guests, a practice the band still indulge, at their now residency the Liverpool Cricket Club on a Monday evening. Arguably the most famous of their guest’s was in 1955 making his second visit to Liverpool (his first 1952) the great ‘Big Bill Broonzy’ . The Muskrat Jazzmen operated on a Friday evening, both bands attracted a huge student following.
Prior to opening The Iron Door Jazz Club (just around the corner in Temple Street) in early 1960 Harry Ormesher and I promoted at the Temple in 1958, we were on friendly terms with the two owners who allowed us discreet access to organise events in the very large banqueting rooms above the Temple, we were given the option of promoting downstairs in the Temple Sunday evenings now vacant because of the departure to the newly opened Cavern, the Merseysippi Jazz band who were unhappy at the prospect of Harry Ike’s decision to increase the Sunday night’s booking fee. The banqueting rooms were ideal because we were not thinking of promoting jazz but the new sound wafting into Liverpool from America ‘Rock and Roll’ ‘Beat’ music we were both hooked on this exciting new concept in music to reach these shores. At the same time we were both life time followers of jazz and remain so.
Geoff (Irondoor) Hogarth.