Celebrating Birmingham's Popular Music History
Hi, trying to find out what is now the cresta club in birmingham? my uncle played there as a backing drummer for years in the 70’s/80’s.
The cresta club was a snooker club in the 80’s/90’s called Breaks and is now a snooker hall called Riley’s. Hope this helps.
My Dad used to work at the Rover in Solihull back in the seventies, and the Cresta used to give out free tickets to the Rover employees so that teh midweek shows would be financially viable. Inevitably, Dad would give the tickets to me and my brother, who in our mid-teens would go with our mates and see some great acts, including Johnny Carroll (chase me!), The Drifters, Millican & Nesbitt, Joe Longthorne, Gerry & THe Pacemakers and many more. Although they weren’t generally our cup of tea, we really enjoyed seeing live performance, especially after a few illicit beers!
The Cresta Club is now a snooker hall!
I was the original general manager, and I made the Cresta one of best theatre clubs in the country, at the time
all the best artists performed there, after I left the club declined due mainly to the repetition of the artists and high fees they
So, YOU were solely responsible for it’s huge success but when it went downhill ( you say ! ) it was the artists fault. What a totally arrogant pig you are !!!.
I was one of the original Viva dancers. I am trying to get hold of a photo or publicity shot of us dancers when the Cresta first opened. I wondered if perhaps you had any?
The manager of the cresta club at one time was a man named jones he was the husband of singer Ruby Murrey.we had many happy times at the cresta.went a few weeks ago it is now a pum/snooker hall.
Yes Jones took over from me, I was the general manager for five years I opened the Club and made it what it was the best theatre club in the country.
The best artists the the time performed there .if you ask me I put Solihull on the map for the best Club in the country.
The manager at the New Cresta who way married to Ruby Murrey was Bernie Burgess. I was Deputy Manager. Bernie in his entertainment era was a member of the Jones Boys. He and I reopened the Cresta club and named it the New Cresta. This was around 1971
Hi Stephen Kalton,
I was wondering if you were Deputy Manager at the Cresta around the time Lovelace Watkins performed there, and if you have any anecdotes about this performer that you could share. I have some live VHS footage of Lovelace on Youtube from 1985 in Melbourne Australia. I would really appreciate any feedback on LW if you have any stories.
My mom worked at the Cresta Club, she worked behind the bar, and I think may even have been the manageress. Her name was Sylvia Brooks.
Yes she was the manageress,and she was very good,
I was the original general manager,and I made her manageress
Hiya, I think my mom worked at the crests club in the 1960s? Her name was Sheila styles. I am trying to find out if there was any magical acts at the time and names of any magicians that had performed there around 1967 ? Can any one help me please.
Sorry name was surname was Tayles
Hi, dont know if anyone would know my uncle or not? (bryan abbs) or (bryan day) he changed his name to day.
Hi..I knew your uncle brian well…i was the DJ at the club at the time…fond memories of Brian…
Oh right, that’s good to know. i never got to see him play live but many family members say what a top class drummer he was! he used to tell us many funny stories about his past!
Oh my goodness, how funny reading this mike c my friend use to get me free tickets
Must of been early 70s, I loved the cresta went as often as I could , was obsessed with Mike Harris 😂 had massive crush 🤗 i have photo somewhere taken with him haha
i remember meeting matt monroe at the cresta, he was starring there, and somehow i was amongst a few people that were allowed into his dressing room to ask questions, his daughter was with him,
My God…so many memories x
My mom took me to the Cresta Club to see Sacha Distel – It was a works do from Fitter and Poulton and I was about 14 and loved the whole female fun experience with my mom – anyone remember? Please share your. Memories.
Hi Sandra, yes I rememer that week very well, I was in a vocal duo called oak n ash we were the supporting act to Sach distel that week, we worked the cresta club many times they were very times. Regards Terry.
Many great nights at the Cresta, usually a crowd of us around 15 or 20. Oh what memories.
Many Happy Times at the Cresta,Saw Gene Pitney,Malcom Roberts,Frankie Vaughn,Barron Nights,Paul Jones,Roy Castle for a while the late Marti Caine was the MC.Ruby Murray once sat on my knee.Bruce Forsyth andThe Grumbleweeds also The Black Abbotts all played at the Cresta.Went back last year to have a look round,It’s now a Pub/Snooker Hall. How Very Sad those Fab times came to an end.
Is there anywhere in Birmingham or the West Midlands that still do entertainment whilst enjoying a meal,it’s my Dad’s 80th next year and I want to give him a ‘blast from the past’
As a family we spent many a happy night at the Cresta,it’s so sad it is no more
Iworked at the cresta club with the viva dancers 1967-many lovely memories -any viva dancers out there’?
Hi Sue, I remember the viva girls I used to do a lot of skating at the ice rink and would come up to the Cresta after the show and have a drink with some of the girls was one of the girls named Jane can not think of her surname I know she lived in Great Barr happy happy days
you don’t know me but i live in norfolk and today i was talking to a lady who lives in my village and she told me she was one of the Viva dancers at the cresta clud, i did’nt get her name but i will try and find her and put her in touch with you if thats ok
Hi brian, would be lovely to know the name of the Lady Who was one of the viva dancers-thks for the info
I was one of the original ViVa dancers and I would love to get in touch with any of them.. I danced with Pol, Kate and Jenny.
My friend Victoria Maxine (Whitehouse) was a Viva Dancer and is trying to organize a reunion. She is on Facebook.
I have been trying to get hold of Victoria on Facebook with no luck. Any chance you could let her know I would like to get in touch?
I was one of the original ViVa dancers with Pol, Kate and Jenny. I am trying to get hold of some photos or publicity shots of us all then, Also do you know what happened to Jenny Underwood as she was then?
Hope to here back from you soon,
Used to run ‘The Gene Pitney Appreciation Society’ in the mid 1970’s and remember once being on stage with him and two members (Cynthia Robins – from Solihull and Mia van Straten from Holland). Gene presented me with a birthday cake and champagne etc to celebrate the Society’s second birthday. Happy Day’s!! Often wonder what happened to Cynthia Robins who helped to organise things for the Society in your area at that time. Excellent club with great memories.
Hi. As I said my uncle brian abbs used to be the backing drummer for the acts at the cresta. can anyone tell me where exactly the cresta club was? Id like to go and have have a look.
Hi Rick, I used to know your uncle Brian, I used to work in the office at The Cresta Club.
I saw roy orbison at the cresta
I saw Roy Orbison at the Cresta in the early 70s (1971 at a guess). Do you recall the year?
Sue i am in touch with Victoria Maxine,she would love to catch up with you. X
Hi janet,have só many memories of working for vicky with the viva dancers-world be lovely to catch upx
hi sue remember me. Gill Hopkins Woodlands School of Dancing then joined Viva dancers in 1968. I am still in touch with Val Marshal and Jackie Nelson. Last I heard you were living in Portugal.Spoke to someone in the village yesterday who remembered the Cresta well. He put me on to this web site.Those certainly were the days.
I was one of the original Viva dancers and would love to get in touch with Victoria
I was a waiter at the new cresta for 5 years and also new Brian Abbs , had many drinks with him … nice guy …. as was mike Harris …… Happy Days…..
My mom used to work at the Cresta behind the bar. Her name is Shirley Wallis. She got me autographs of all the stars at the time and I still have them all today!
My friend Val Nelson worked at the Crest a Club and used to get me tickets
For the shows , I took my family to see the
Barron Knights, Jim Davidson, Matt Munro, Frankie Vaughan, and many others
So sad it closed excellent club and many happy memories.
Hi annette,great to hear from you.im still living in portugal-Been here 44yrs-how time flies!great memories of our time dancing-say Hélio to jackie & val for me.
Does anyone recall Dick Haymes the Hollywood vocalist appearing at the club sometime in 1970. I believe he was backed by the John Patrick trio. Any memories please ?
most of my extended family did a stint we use to meet the stars in brum with their families. Lovets chandlers watsons and many more can not mention, yet.
who is rightin the book&.
In 1970 Watney Mann Midland held the lease on what was then called the Cresta Bingo & Social Club. The brewery were very concerned about the falling attendance of the Club. The Manager of Managed Houses got to hear about me using a local pub in the village of Wootton in Northampton. The brewery’s head office was in Northampton. I was invited to meet the Manager of Managed Houses to discuss The Cresta Bingo & Social Club, as it was on the verge of closure.
He asked me to give my opinion as to what was wrong with the ‘Cresta Club’. I went into great detail and he then asked me if i would agree to taking over the Club, I was taken aback by this surprise invitation but after a long discussion with my wife – Ruby Murray- I agreed to take over the rapidly failing club. It meant commuting from Northampton to Solihull on a daily basis. Contrary to Mr, Enrique Campos’s claim that he “made the Cresta one of the finest clubs in the country”. I inherited a year loss under his management of £5000-00. and it was to be closed down. . I knew that I was taking on a monumental task of resurrecting a failed venue so I made stipulations to the Brewery that I would be in total control of the entire operation and asked that no-one from the Brewery would come to the new club and tap me on the shoulder and make comments about how I was running the operation. As I pointed out to them, I wouldn’t tell them how to run a Brewery so I didn’t want a Brewery man telling me how to run a cabaret venue. It was agreed and I went to the sad looking club and set about installing an entirely new policy for an entirely new club. I was given a sum of money by the Brewery to renovate the redesign the entire club. I also insisted that as a professional entertainer I had set ideas about what acts I wanted for the operation and therefore took over the booking of all the acts myself. My policy was to have a top of the bill, 3 supporting acts and a resident trio. The closure of the old club took place and the renovations were commenced . I wanted to change .the name completely but the lease holders, Cresta Ice Rinks of Altringham near Manchester would not allow me to drop the word ‘Cresta’ . This was not helpful to the newly designed venue. Reluctantly I had to agree to having CRESTA in the name so I settled for The NEW CRESTA CABARET RESTAURANT. I knew that there was an assistant manager at The Golden Garter in Wythenshaw whom I felt sure I could persuade to come and join me in the exciting new venture. – Steven Kalton, he agreed to come and join me.
I motorised a part of the stage and at the touch of a button part of the stage moved forward to occupy what was the dance floor. Steven and I worked together and a new operation was taking place before our eyes. For the RE-OPENING of the now ‘plush’ operation I booked 3 star names – RUBY MURRAY – DAVID NIXON- and KEN PLATT and I compered the show myself. The venue was packed. At the end of the first year I had turned a £5000. loss into a £10,000. profit The new policy soon caught the attention of the public and gradually ‘House Full’ notices were displayed at the front entrance. I ran the operation from 1970 to l974 as General Manager and could claim that The NEW CRESTA CABARET RESTAURANT had become the venue that all artistes want to appear at.. In that year – 1974 I had burnt myself out and I had to relinquish the General Manager’s position and become the SOLE BOOKING AGENT and I booked all the acts right through until 1980-82 when ‘LIVE’ cabaret was no longer flavour of the month. I feel proud of the fact that this ‘Comment’ facility is full of praise for the ‘CRESTA CLUB’, as it was fondly nick named . In the years since it’s demise the venue is still talked about as a top class venue but like so many ‘live’ cabaret venues their appeal changed, which is a pity. I am content in the knowledge that I provided first class entertainment in a first class venue which became one of the top five cabaret venues in the British Isles. Long may the memories of The ‘Cresta Club’ continue to be remembered and be the subject of duscussion. –
Bernie Burgess (Ex General Manager and Sole Booking Agent for THE NEW CRESTA CABARET RESTAURAMT or, as my clients nck named it – THE CRESTA CLUB) .
Any chance you had Dick Haymes at the club during your time?
I believe John Patrick was the pianist with trio.
Any memories what so ever?
I did my utmost to present ‘family’ entertainment and was strict about the type of material the comedians used. there was a clause in the artiste’s contract that stipulated that the type of material was at the descretion of the management. For many years i was reluctant to book Bernard Manning because of the type of material he used. At the request from a director at the Brewery I relented but added on the posters – Be Warned, he uses BLUE material. Within show business i was known as The Puritan but I stuck to my guns and it paid rich dividends.
A note about Brian Abbs the drummer. He was excellent on the drums but had a yearning to become a ‘stand up’ comedian. He approached Mike Reid for advice and started to find engagements. Sadly in later years he commited suicide.
did you change your to lamont or similar and came to live in torquay with ruby poor ruby had a drink problem she used to sing at a hotel on babacome downs a shadow of her former self , a lovely lady she passed away in a torquay nursing
i was a regular at the cresta,,bernie burgess did a good job,,,,i went to lots of clubs in the uk the cresta was up there with any,,,,i miss it to this day,,,,,lovelace watkins was my best ever act,,,,i remember paul melba doing frankie vaughn and the audience thought frankie had come on stage,,,,frankie was topping the bill that week,,,,it was hilarious,,,,happy days,,,,,,,in fact my best nights out,,,,john griffin
Mr Bernie Burgess, I think that you may have forgotten that at the request of the Brewery I trained you in how to run a Theatre Club. I did make it into a very successful Club and the Brewey did not want me to leave. I am happy to hear that you continued with what I had started.
I love to read about the happy memories of the Club from other people.
I just found a membership card for “The new Cresta” which expired in December 1972. It was in a cupboard in Chelmsley Wood.
On the front, the card says “THE NEW CRESTA SHOW. BARS. RESTAURANT Hobs Moat Road Solihull Warwickshire. Tel: 021-743 7001”
I have returned to this ‘Comment’ section after two years. I found comments made be the ex Manager of what was originally called The Cresta Bingo & Social Club. It was managed by Enrique Campos. Despite his wild claims, the venue that he was managing i.e. The Cresta Bingo & Socia Club was dying rapidly and running at a huge loss. The lease of the venue was inherited by a brewery Watney Mann (Midland) Ltd. from Cresta Ice Rinks of Altringham. Their Midland head office was in Northampton where I was living. I repeat what I have previously stated – The old Cresta Bingo & Social Club under the managership of Enrique Campos was running at a huge loss and the brewery were desperate to reverse the huge losses. I took over as General Manager in 1970 and inherited a £5000-00 loss from Mr Campos. His claim that he put the Cresta Bingo & Social Club on the map is simply not true. As for his claim that he trained me – that is a farce. I only ever met the man ONCE, I received no training from anyone. When I took over as General Manager I was given a sum of money to carry out a transformation from a Bingo & Social Club to a Theatre Retaurant. With a life time in show business I used that experience to create a brand new venue. I installed a policy of first class entertainment in first class surroundings and provided a TOP OF THE BILL NAME, three supporting acts and a resident trio. It paid handsome dividends and became of of the country’s finest cabaret venues. Sorry Mr Campos but you are dreaming, you had nothing at all to do with The New Cresta Cabaret Restaurant.
Bernie Burgess ( ex General Manager – The New Cresta Cabaret Restaurant)
Dear Mr Burgess , are you in fact the the real Mr Burgess that I trained back in 1970.?
Firstly I took over what was the original Cresta Bingo and Social Club in 1966. I had previously been the Catering Manager of the Mayfair Banqueting Suite in the Bullring, Birmingham. The the Club was renamed The Cresta Theatre Club. The cabaret consisted of top names of the time, for example Matt Monroe, Frankie Vaughan, Val Donnican, Eartha Kitt, Frankie Lane, Dick Haymes to name but a few. I had the resident George Taylor Trio, Compere and the Viva dancers, plus two supporting acts. The restaurant area could cater for over one hundred people. There was a casino area in a side room.
The club was very successful.
I decided to leave as I had a young family and wanted to spend more time with them.
Watney Mann did not want me to go but I had decided. They then asked me to train you and paid me a net sum of £2000 to do so. My wife remembers asking me how you were getting on and me replying, ‘that it goes in one ear and out the other’. That perhaps explains your failing memory.
However under my management it was a successful club and an enjoyable night out for the customers. Also for the various charities we helped raise funds for, for example an ambulance for St John’s Ambulance Brigade.
This is not my imagination/memory playing tricks on me as I actually have paper documentation to back up what I am saying.
If you made a success of your time as Manager I am pleased for you, but please do not blacken my Managership.
This message is in reply to Mr Enrique Campos. I need to repeat what I have already said. In 1970 I was asked by Watney Mann Midlands to take over a sadly failing ‘Cresta Bingo and Social Club’. You Mr Campos were the manager there at that time. Your claim that you trained me is utter nonsense, total fabrication, I received no training from you whatsoever. I met you just once, in passing, and never set eyes on you ever again. You had nothing at all to do with The New Cresta Cabaret Restaurant, it’s concept or it’s policy. I built the entire operation from the bottom up and installed a completely new policy of Top of the Bill plus 3 supporting acts and a Resident Trio. I had a life time of show business experience, both off stage and on and because of that I relieved the booking agent – Billy Lowdnes and did all the booking of the artistes personally.
The New Cresta Cabaret Restaurant, under my General Managership, became a venue that all artistes wanted to appear at, that is exactly what I set out to achieve. It also became one of the top 5 Clubs in the country. I am extremely proud of that fact.. I find it strange that you are making such wild claims when you know full well that you had nothing whatsoever to do with – The New Cresta Cabaret Restaurant..
Obviously it wasn’t only your training that went in one ear and out the other! It would seem that a lot of your memory has gone as well.
However I am confident that people who remember my time as Manager of The Cresta Theatre Club, (1966 to 1971), remember it with happy memories and enjoyed many a good evenings entertainment and meals there. It was a very successful Club under my management.
What happened under your management was your responsiblity.
Sent from my iPad
Mr. Campos, there is nothing wrong with my memory, it seems that yours may be at fault. You were never Manager of the New Cresta Cabaret Restaurant, your mangement was with the previous venue, namely- The Cresta Bingo and Social Club. I was entirely responsible for transforming the old club that you managed into a brand new Cabaret Restaurant. You had nothing whatsoever to do with the brand new venue – namely The New Cresta Cabaret Restaurant. Please desist in making anymore false claims.
Do you remember Sylvia Brooks?
So sorry to hear the comments mr campos made about Bernie burgess I worked for both gentlemen and am amazed at comment s mr campos made about Bernie I worked they from when it opened until it closed and the latter part was certainly more successful and certainly a better place to work when Bernie and Steve managed it so many happy memories
Thank you Christine for your comments. I am both delighted and relieved that Enrique Campos appears to have ceased posting ridiculous claims about being associated with The New Cresta Cabaret Restaurant. The transformation from the old Cresta Bingo & Social Club, a rapidly failing venue under Mr Campos’s management, to a top flight cabaret venue was totally my idea and my scheme and I was ably assisted by my Assistant Steven Kalton. Due to the fact that I had spent a life time in Show Business I was able to draw upon a wealth of staging ideas and a mulitude of first class artistes that I had worked with throughout my long career in the profession. I am so pleased that the venue still holds so many happy memories for such a large number of my ex patrons AND staff members As we all grow to learn, all good things come to an end and sadly the winds of change came along and gradually terminated what was a first class cabaret venue and it became a Snooker Hall.
Dear Mr Burgess. I’m just doing some research for a book I’m working on and I wanted to mention a Barron Knights show I saw at the Cresta in 1981. However, I can’t remember the exact date or even the month. I was wondering if you might have any recollection of it. If so, I’d be delighted to hear from you. Many thanks.
Hi, when I was a girl I lived in The Three Tunes Inn, Watling Street, Fazeley on my 8th birthday I was taken to a cabaret venue which I thought was near Sutton Coldfield. It had waitresses dressed as Hawaiian ladies, fish in a pond I seem to remember, there was a raised stage in the middle of the room and one of the acts was a lady tearing a telephone directory and making things out of paper and a singer who got me up on stage and sang “thank heaven for little girls” to myself and another girl who was also having her birthday, I remember being very embarrassed. The thing is I have a picture I can post but can someone tell me was it The Cresta Club? This would have been February 1962.
Hi, I am a great fan of Matt Munro, I was told that he fell off the stage while performing at The Cresta Club in 1975/76 can anyone confirm this please? Thanks
I was stage manager of the New Cresta in 1978
I can confirm that Mr Vince Hill had problems with his
Reslo radio mike because the club had been without power
all day and Mr Hill had left it plugged in
to charge and of course, it didn’t
Apologies for the spoilt performance. It might have helped
If I hadn’t had every other mike on
the stage muted
Stephen Kalton ex Deputy General Manager New Cresta
I did not know Mr Campos the Previous General Manager of what was known as the Cresta Club. I arrived to join Bernie Burgess in the beginning to find a run down shabby operation with no structure with a very poor offering to the public. Prior to my appointment to the Cresta I was Deputy at Golden Garter; Talk of the Town London.
Bernie persuaded me to join him and we worked closely together and created a profitable business for Watney Mann (Midlands) Bernie taught me a lot about the entertainment industry. It was a magic partnership that resulted in the Cresta Theatre Restaurant being recognised as one of the top venues to perform in the country. We more importantly gained a great reputation throughout the Midlands for great nights out with value for money.
To give an indication of the difference in operations from old Cresta that we took over to the New Cresta – having moved from the Talk of the Town and Golden Garter top line artists such as Stevie Wonder, Shirley Bassey etc etc I was met with the top of the bill being Tony Holland the muscle man! This was a booking that Mr Campus must have booked. Credit can not be taken away from Bernie Burgess, there is know way that Mr Campos had any influence over the New Cresta. Credit where Credit is due.
Just came across this archive. I remember the Cresta very well. I see a posting from Mike Harris. Is he still around? A very good friend. I haven’t seen him for years. Other people I remember are Pete? used to work the lights. His mom worked behind the bar. Nigel ? used to work there as well. I remember Tony the manager and P.eirs Wicker. Where are these people now? does anyone know> I would love to hear from Mike Harris if he is still around.
Let’s set up a Facebook page for The Cresta Club? You can all share photos and memories.
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