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Starry, starry nights galore at The Talk

PUBLISHED: 11:11 21 January 2015 | UPDATED: 11:11 21 January 2015

Entertainment legends Danny La Rue and Arthur Askey at the Talk in Oak Street, Norwich, in 1976


For: EN 
© EN Pics 2004
(01603) 772434

Entertainment legends Danny La Rue and Arthur Askey at the Talk in Oak Street, Norwich, in 1976 For: EN © EN Pics 2004 (01603) 772434

© Archant Norfolk Photographic 2004

It opened at a time when police would give you a "good hard look" if you were out on the streets of Norwich after 10.30pm... today many people don't even leave home until 10.30!

Picture of the Evening News Golden Years concert for Children in Need at The Talk in Norwich. For Derek James page.
Photo: Angela Sharpe
Copy: Derek James
For: EN
EDP pics © 2007
(01603) 772434Picture of the Evening News Golden Years concert for Children in Need at The Talk in Norwich. For Derek James page. Photo: Angela Sharpe Copy: Derek James For: EN EDP pics © 2007 (01603) 772434

So much has changed on the night scene in the city during the last 60 years. Most of the original dance halls such as the Gala, the Grosvenor, the Samson and the Lido (Norwood) have gone but this place has survived.

Way back in 1954/5 revellers had greeted the New Year with a carnival dance at the Samson & Hercules while at the Lido 4,000 balloons descended on dancers.

And at the new Norwich Industries Club 1,500 people squeezed into the place and hundreds were turned away.

Remember the Industries Club on Oak Street?

The Talk in Norwich when it was the 'Talk of East Anglia' night clubThe Talk in Norwich when it was the 'Talk of East Anglia' night club

It was opened by Lord Mayor Horace Allen in December 1954 when the much-loved singer Anne Shelton topped the bill with Norfolk’s own Trevor Copeman and his band. They were a class act.

It became the Industrial Club, The Federation Club, the Melody Rooms, The Talk of the East, The Talk of East Anglia and now, you’ve guessed – The Talk on Oak Street, part of Norfolk life for so long. A place which people have taken to their hearts over the decades.

This coming Saturday night the members of top Norfolk 60s band Eyes of Blond – now including original member Colin Clegg - will be taking to the stage again for a charity reunion party and David Clayton and Steve “Dr Vinyl” Burns will be spinning the Gemini Disco discs from the era.

Money raised goes to Big C and EACH and tickets will be at the door.

But the story of The Talk goes way back more than 60 years when Geoffrey Fisher, who ran the social club at Boulton & Paul, leased some land from The Great Hospital and opened the first purpose-built working men’s club in Norwich.

Some of the biggest factories such as Colman’s and LSE had their own social clubs but dozens of others didn’t and the workers joined The Industrial Club.

Members of the Fisher family gave the people what they wanted and brought a little sunshine into thousands of lives.

Geoff, Yvonne, John, Roni, Carl, Mark and Kim ran the club for decades. Everybody seemed to know them.

From knobbly knees contests to beauty queen competitions, the people loved it. It was a place for the whole family in the days before many homes even had a television.

First there was big band music then trad jazz, skiffle, rock ‘n’ roll, soul and great disco nights. It catered for all music lovers and there were also big darts tournaments at The Talk filmed by Anglia TV.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be telling the remarkable story of The Talk, which attracted some of the biggest names around in the 1960s, from Pink Floyd to The Who and from Eric Clapton to Fleetwood Mac.

And of course the local acts. It was always a great platform for Norfolk bands, the likes of Barry Lee & Planets, Ricky Lee & The Hucklebucks, Memphis Index, Garry Freeman & the Contours and so many more.

But the story will not be complete without your memories.

I would love to hear your Talk tales. Perhaps you met the love of your life on the dance floor? Maybe you were a beauty queen or won a talent competition?

Which was your favourite act? Don’t forget all the big-name cabaret acts from the 1970s. Do you remember Mike and Bernie Winters who once ran a stall on Norwich Market? They came back to the city when they hit the big time and headed for Oak Street.

Send your memories to me at derek.james2013@gmail.com or write to me at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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