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More Shades-related memories

from The Southend Standard, 16 September 2005

Rock’n’Roll Years…
If you have memories of these magical days, drop us a line.  We’d particularly like to hear from you if you have photos or memorabilia.

Write to: Rock’n’Roll Years, Standard, Newspaper House, Chester Hall Lane, Basildon SS14 3 BL or e-mail us at

(Please include your full address and a daytime phone number).

I have been following your rock’n’roll letters and photos with much interest.

It really brings back lots of old memories.  Please keep it going – it’s great!

Regarding Val Maughan’s mention of the Pop Inn, this photo was taken there.

I am top left with my friend, Sheila Prigg, on the right.  Also in the picture is Clive Wilkins and Norma, along with Rita and Bryn Helicar.   Where are you all now?  Does anyone know?

Sheila and I also had great times on Saturday nights upstairs at the Palace dancehall, as well as at the London Hotel on a Thursday night, where Bob Scott and the Klansmen used to play.

Does anyone out there remember them?



How about the Ranch House?

 Further to the letter from Val Maughan (Standard letters September 9).

I can assure her that myself and three friends, Derek Witridge, Johhny [sic] Holiday and Doug Schofield frequently went to Mimi Greens, The Pop Inn and The Capri Coffee Bar.

But does anyone remember the Ranch House, dancing round the tree in the middle of the dance floor?  Oh, happy memories!

Poynings Avenue

Adventure in the Zanzi-Bar

 I remember an article in the Southend Standard in the autumn of 1959 about an underground coffee bar called The Zanzi-Bar, which was opening that week.

My friend and I trotted off to it – as we were now both 13, hey, we were teenagers!

It was just off the Southchurch Road.  A doorway next to a café enticed people down the steps, through into a room with tables and Rexine seats.

To one side was the bar, on which the Gaggia coffee machine hissed and steamed away, along with the square, clear plastic orange machine with three plastic oranges floating on it.

In the back-room was a miniature bowling alley on which you could play for the princely sum of sixpence.  WOW!

The teenage show at the Odeon was another place to hear the latest records, see a live band or watch a rock’n’roll-related film.

The Panda Bar (later the Jacobean), along the Southchurch Road, the Milk Bar, The Four Bs, in York Road and the Vineyard (later the Harold Dod) were all places we frequented.

My favourite has to have been the 77.  Named after the TV Show, 77 Sunset Strip, it was two doors away from the Shades.

It opened at Easter, 1962 and was another underground coffee bar, which attracted the motorbike guys (not yet called rockers – we were coffee-bar cowboys!)

My love of the bikes and the coffee-bars lasted through to 1971, when marriage and family took over.

In 1990, I had another bike back on the road for the Ace Café Reunions and then my own reunions.  (I will organise another one soon, I promise!).  It’s been great fun!

If you were part of the coffee bar culture of the Sixties in Southend and you believe we had something special going, I will look forward to meeting up with you again at the reunion at the Ekco Social Club on December 2.

Thanks to Brian Ayling for getting it together for us.

Chestnut Grove,

We found love in the Capri!

I also remember the coffee bars and venues of the Sixties!

May a happy hour was spent over a frothy coffee, listening to the jukebox down the Capri coffee bar.

I met my husband in the Capri (he was 16 and I was 15) and we are celebrating 42 years of marriage in November this year.

I also know of two other couples who met in the Capri and are still together.

Saturday nights were spent up in the Palace dancehall, or at the London, where we jived the night away.

Other coffee bars I remember were the Panda Bar, Black Cat, the Vineyard and Zanzi-Bar.

Please keep us posted, as we are all interested in a reunion.

Highlands Boulevard

If you’d like to go to the reunion, call Brian Ayling on 01702-464383, or e-mail him at:

Thanks, John; and Jill, for the typing

More about the Paramounts

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