Down with the yoot – but watch out for the Teds

NRF 349F

Harper brothers Leyland double decker NDF349F waits at the bottom of The Parade, Brownhills, on it’s way to Birmingham on what would now be the 56 route. The Fullelove shelter is in the background, and immediately behind that, the Hussey Arms. I’d say this is early 1970s. Image kindly supplied by Tony Martin.

The irrepressible Mike Stackhouse contacted me a week or so with an interesting comment that may well stir memories of the postwar kids in our midst. Mike was inspired himself by the recent interest in those lost green gems, Harpers Busses.

I’ll let mMike tell you in his own words…

Hi Bob,

I have been sitting here this evening, going over your blogs and looking at my libary of Bus pictures and I came across a picture of the Harper buses which you are assisting in helping to savce and restore. This in turn reminded me of the day that The Brownhills Teddy boys stopped the Harpers bus on The Parade to get to the Norton Canes Teddy boys, and the ensuring battle that commenced, I would think that there are not many of those lads still around.

This in turn turned my thoughts to discos, or not. Well as a young lads and lasses, the only place we had to go was the Memo or St James Youth club. But following a conversation one day, at the Transport cafe which stood where Barons court Stands now, the Lady who ran the cafe started to close up early on a Friday. She charged us something between 6d to a shilling and for 3 hours we had a place to go which was not organised by an organisation (like the church etc.) and because it was something that as such we really enjoyed ourselves. Three hours of records playing music we wanted, played on an old Dansette record player (supplied by the Lady). Dancing on the cafe floor, no Alcohol, just soft drinks, girls and music.

Oh for a real disco. Winklepicker shoes, or crepes, drain pipe trousers, velvet colars on the coat, purple socks, purple and white stripe shirt, and shoe lace tie.

I long for my youth again, but of course it would not be the same, would it?


Thanks to Mike for yet another splendid contribution, one of several of late.

So folks – what do you know? Do you remember these days of Teddy Boy rivalry and dancing in the cafe?

You know the drill: comment here, or mail to BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks, as ever.


I’m wondering if Mike knows any of these groovy kids at a Memorial Hall Youth Club do in the 1950s. Image from ‘Around Pelsall and Brownhills’ by David F. Vodden.

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10 Responses to Down with the yoot – but watch out for the Teds

  1. Fawlty says:

    Was the cafe called the Watersplash? I remember that was the name of the gambling club that used to be there, but the cafe was before my time. The Watersplash club seemed to be closed more than it was open, due to frequent police raids in the late 60s and early 70s.

  2. oakparkrunner says:

    The café was The Primrose Café
    . The watersplash came after, it was a nightclub with vocal groups. Harry Secombe sang there once I believe.

  3. Clive says:

    Back in time about 1966 my mates father worked at the Water splash, one day he showed me a trick in the kitchens there, he got a cold cup and put some cold water in it, then put it in this machine and when he retrieved the cup from the machine the water was hot, but the cup was cold. I was amazed at this. These days we call these machines micowaves.
    Quite a few of the people who entertained there stopped at his house, one act sticks in my mind he was Silver Cloud, he pushed nails through his tongue and through the side of his face, no kidding. Some where i have a signed photo of his complete with his tongue nailed to a board.

  4. mickysix says:

    I have to do my usual and enlarge the picture. I’ll be in touch when i’ve had a good look.
    Well done Oakpark, it was The primrose, and she was a really nice lady, but i cannot remember her name for the life of me!
    I also worked at The Watersplash (well for a bout 3 weeks to a month) playing the music for the strippers. What is it Eric calls his pub in the Sun comic strip, oh yes! The Slappers Arms. Still good old memories.

  5. David Oakley. says:

    The Primrose Café began life as a very small venture and was owned by a Mrs. Shirley, from Salters Road. She noticed the small business development in that area of ‘the Wood’. Walsall Conduit had taken over the ‘Boot public house as a small factory, Spurrell’s had built a small works in the vicinity, and Hawkins the organ builders were nearby, None seemed large enough to possess a canteen, so recognising a gap in the market, Mrs. Shirley set up a tea and sandwiches service which was an instant success. Don’t know how long she kept it before selling out, but Mike Stackhouse’s description of the entrepreneurial skills of the lady in charge made me wonder. Mrs. Shirley moved with the times, and the modern music and dancing enterprise suggests she may still have been in charge.

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  7. Brian Clenton says:

    In the photograph of the Brownhills Memorial Hall in the 1950s, my brother Barry Clenton is standing at the rear.

  8. Dennis Powell says:

    Looking at the PIC closely, I would say that it is the youth club at St James church hall not the Memo

  9. Stuart Wilson says:

    Hi, I’m Stuart Wilson, I played drums/ vocals in a band called the Sad. We were the house band at The Watersplash from 1970 to late 1972. the other members of the band were, Giorgio Uccellino lead vocal, sax & keyboards. Marco Uccellino lead guitar / vocals. Terry Brown on bass.
    We had a record out in 1972 called “It ain’t easy”.
    We also backed many cabaret artists who appeared there.
    I remember Bob Monkhouse, Shakin’ Stevens & his band, Billy Fury, Carl Denver, The Rockin’ Berries, Marty Wild, The Fourmost & many more too numerous to mention who appeared at the Watersplash.

    Had some fun back then.

    • Shaun Clifton says:

      Stuart, I know this is a (probably very) long shot. I was planning on posting something on the Brownhills Bob Facebook group, so seeing this message sent me your way. Would you have any photos or press clippings of any of the bands who appeared at the Watersplash, specifically Shakin Stevens? I’m in another group with members who would kill to see any rarities.
      If you have, I’d be grateful to get a look at them. Thanks. Shaun

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