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The Rainbow Suite

The Rainbow Suite was a very large and well attended venue, which was situated above the Co Op in the centre of Birmingham. It was accessed by a lift, which was a wonderful situation for bands carrying in the then standard 4×12 speaker cabinets which weighed one and a quarter hundredweight (the same as a 3×2 paving slab). As roadie for Ultra Sound I worked there many times on Saturday nights, sharing the bill with numerous other bands. I recall working with Linda Lewis and her band Ferris Wheel, and particularly liked working with Orange Bicycle. I recall turning up one night to find Raymond Froggat’s gear set up on stage. They had a heavily modified 18 string guitar with chess pieces on the machine heads, and a piece of twisted wire cable roughly attached with eyebolts, to keep its neck straight. The sound from that guitar was awesome, but that night they failed to turn up, so I never heard it, and it was not featured on the Callow La Vita record, which was another great disappointment.
The venue was run by Dougie Thompson, who was unfortunately killed in his day job as factory foreman, when a rack of steel fell on him.

Thanks to Barrie for sending this in. Please, add more memories, photos, gigs etc to the page!

The Mermaid

March 1967

Bingley Hall


From Wikipedia

Bingley House 1830, demolished to build Bingley Hall in 1850
Bingley Hall in Birmingham was the first purpose-built exhibition hall in Great Britain. It was built in 1850 and burned down in 1984. The International Convention Centre now stands on the site.

The precursor of Bingley Hall was an “Exhibition of the Manufactures of Birmingham and the Midland Counties” in a temporary wooden hall built in the grounds of, and attached to, Bingley House on Broad Street in central Birmingham (which once belonged to banker Charles Lloyd and was visited by Samuel Taylor Coleridge) and opened on 3 September 1849 for visitors to the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival. This exhibition was visited by Charles Darwin, and also on 12 November by Prince Albert and may have contributed to his ideas for the Great Exhibition of 1851 at the Crystal Palace.

Bingley House was built about 1760 as Byngas Hall and was the home of James Farmer, whose daughter married Charles Lloyd. The house and its land were bought by a railway company in order to build the railway tunnel for the Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Stour Valley Railway. The house was demolished.
In December 1849, the first Birmingham annual cattle show and poultry show were held in a temporary hall on the corner of Lower Essex Street and Kent Street, but the following year the 2nd shows were held in the new Bingley Hall.

Bingley Hall was built by Messrs Branson and Gwyther (architect J. A. Chatwin),for £6,000 in six weeks in 1850, using steel columns surplus to the construction of Euston railway station. It was built in the Roman Doric style using red and blue bricks (the Staffordshire blue bricks being diverted from building the Oxford Street viaduct). Covering one and a quarter acres internally, it measured 224 feet (68 m) by 221 feet (67 m), used 11,700 feet (3,600 m) of 21-inch (530 mm) glass, and had ten entrance doors.

During its life, it was used as a venue for the Birmingham Dog Show, cattle shows, chrysanthemum shows, circus, boxing, cinema, and in its later days for popular music concerts. It had a cycle track used for competitions. It was used as a huge meeting space. Gladstone held a political meeting in November 1888, following Joseph Chamberlain’s split from the Liberal Party over Irish Home Rule, and spoke for two hours. The speech was recorded by the journal Political World on an Edison phonograph shipped from New York – the first political speech recorded. Chamberlain himself spoke there before an audience of some 10,000 people in November 1903, during his campaign for fiscal reform. The hall was used repeatedly for meetings and conversions by various non-conformist religions, including the Elim Pentecostal Church in 1930, led by George Jeffreys.
The hall was damaged by fire at the Midland Caravan, Camping and Leisure Exhibition in January 1984 and demolished, its functionality having been replaced by the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) just outside the city in Solihull. The International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall now stand in its place.

Used Under Creative Commons Licence

Our aim to build a complete list of gigs at Bingley Hall. Here’s a start but we need your help!

Yardbirds, Eric Burdon & The Animals, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beak, Mick &Tich 26/01/68
The Jam 08/12/81
The Jam 20/03/82

Ticket Stubs

Some great ticket stubs sent in by Steve Taylor of gigs by U2, The Teardrop Explodes, Dr Feelgood and The Jam amongst others. The Jam at the Bingley Hall is the gig that went down in legend I think, as the last gig held there before it burnt to the ground. Anyone know who the ‘local band’ support was?

Cedar Club

The Cedar Club was located on Constitution Hill and is a fondly remembered place where visiting musician who were playing at the Odeon would swing by for impromptu jams. Jimi Hendrix dropped by one night and clambered on stage for a bit of a session!

Opened by Eddie Fewtrell, whose empire in Birmingham, became one of the greatest in club history, and one of the best of it’s kind in the country. Birmingham would definitely not be the place that it is today without Eddie Fewtrell, known as ‘King of Clubs’. From his first club, the Bermuda Club, in Navigation Street,


The Cedar Club, on the corner at the left of the picture

Eddie moved to pastures new, in the form of the Cedar Club, on Constitution Hill

Eddie’s brother Don managed the Cedar Club in Constitution Hill, which ran for 30 years and changed the face of nightlife in Birmingham for good.

The Cedar Club featured many top names, from The Faces, Rod Stewart, Status Quo, and 50’s and 60’s stars such as Duane Eddy and Cat Stevens.

The Cedar was also notable for having probably one of the first DJ’s in the city, by the name of Ted. He was an eccentric character, with a ‘posh’ voice.

One of the first resident bands was Carl Wayne And The Vikings who had just returned to Birmingham from Germany.

In the mid 1960s in Birmingham, the Cedar Club was the place to go and see the “happening” acts. Other local bands who performed there regularly was Danny King and The Mayfair Set and Mike Sheridan and The Nightriders. Various members from these three groups would sometimes get together
on stage for spontaneous jam sessions.

Davy Jones and The Lower Third from London were performing at The Cedar Club one evening late in 1965 and their singer (who would later change his name to David Bowie) mentioned to Trevor Burton from the Mayfair Set and Ace Kefford from The Vikings that they should consider forming their own group,so they did and promptly became The Move.

Compiled by Keith Law

Our aim to build a complete list of gigs at the Cedar Club. Here’s a start but we need your help!

The Toast 27/11/68
Gnidrolog 10 11/07/72
Hackensack 13/07/72
Tea and Symphony 17&18/07/72
Capability Brown 19/07/72

Terry Savage was a DJ at The Cedar Club and he sent this picture of himself, aged 18, dj-ing at the club.


Terry Savage DJ11012999_10152627736957676_6256816684179842368_n



It doesn’t really need much introduction, but Snobs is a legendary venue in Birmingham. Better known as an indie and student populated nightclub it has been going for over 30 years.

Consisting of two rooms, it was mainly used a play back venue or PA show for ‘live’ music and really got its reputation for the club nights which included ridiculously cheap drinks.

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