1961 Aylesbury Jazz Club

1961 saw the Aylesbury Jazz Club continue to thrive on Tuesday evenings – but there were some changes.

Toward the end of the year it was announced that the jazz club was changing venue, from the Grosvenor Ballroom to the Town Hall.

One artist of note to appear during the year was the Temperance Seven. The Bucks Herald reported that “hundreds of traditional jazz fans had to be turned away when the Temperance Seven made their debut at the Aylesbury Jazz Club. At one period the queue stretched for over 200 yards.”

The Temperance Seven’s single You’re Driving Me Crazy, produced by George Martin, was at number two in the charts, and went to number one the following week.

Temperance 7

On November 3rd, in the Bucks Advertiser Tony White reported “Jazz Club To Quit The Grosvenor”:

After using the Grosvenor Ballroom, Aylesbury, as it’s headquarters for nearly three years, Aylesbury Jazz Club is quitting this venue and moving down the road, under the arches to the Town Hall. The move will take place on Tuesday, November 14, and first man in will be the “Guv’nor”, Ken Colyer.

Why the move after so long? Let the club’s host, Ron Lesley, explain. “A better hall, and better facilities for my members”.

The one big question is, of course, that of capacity crowds. In the past, when Barber, Bilk or Ball have been to the Grosvenor, the number of fans has been in excess of that which will be allowed at the Town Hall. The Town Hall has a maximum of 660, but Ron is not particularly worried. “My average weekly crowd is about 350, but Chris Barber is the next big name to come to Aylesbury. He has been contacted and says he does not mind the 660 ceiling”, says Ron.

AJC Town Hall

But before this there had been a dispute earlier in the year, when a fire exit check on a jazz club evening resulted in a court heating. The Bucks Advertiser reported:

The lease-holder of Aylesbury’s Grosvenor Ballroom, Edward J. Friday, was fined £10 and ordered to pay £1 costs at Aylesbury court after being found guilty of failing to keep unobstructed exits, passageways and gangways in the ballroom.

The court was told of a visit by Aylesbury Borough Council’s senior building inspector, a police inspector and a fire officer to the Grosvenor during a jazz club session on Tuesday, July 25.

The building inspector, Mr. Geoffrey Edwards, said he was told that 551 people had paid for admission when he arrived. He inspected the premises and found all bar one of the exits were either chained and padlocked or obstructed by boards, or as in one case by a piano, blocking the passage leading to the doors.

In answer to cross-examination, defending, Mr. Edwards said Mr. Friday was not at the Grosvenor that night. The promotoer of the Aylesbury Jazz Club, Mr. Ronald Lesley, told the court he had a verbal agreement with Mr. Friday to hire the Grosvenor every Tuesday at a rental of £15. He was given to understand that Mr. Friday was responsible for the state of the hall …

Friday denied in the witness box that he was responsible for the hall’s condition on jazz club nights. He claimed that on one occasion he wrote to Mr. Lesley and reminded him of his responsibilities with regard to keeping all the fire exits open when the ballroom was being used.

Mr. Miscampbell, addressing the magistrates, said the crux of the matter was who was in charge of the ballroom on this particular night. Mr. Friday, he said, rented the Grosvenor Ballrooom from the freeholders. The freeholders were not held responsible for the exits when Mr. Friday was present, so why should Mr. Friday be held responsible when he was not there, but the ballroom was rented from him.

After the magistrates had retired the Chairman, Col. F. W. Watson, said the Bench felt that Friday was responsible for seeing the exits were kept free.”

This episode may have soured the relationship between Eddie Friday and Ron Lesley. It is interesting that when the Town Hall was closed in 1962 due to a fire, the Aylesbury Jazz Club did not return to the Grosvenor – but instead moved to the Aylesbury Social Club in Park Street, only returning when the Grosvenor re-opened as the council owned Borough Assembly Hall in October 1963.

Details of the Aylesbury Jazz Club on Tuesday evenings in 1961 are shown below. There was also one all night jazz ball on 10th March – for details please see here.

3/1/1961Grosvenor BallroomMicky Ashman and his Ragtime Jazzband
10/1/1961Grosvenor BallroomKen Colyer and his Jazzmen
17/1/1961Grosvenor BallroomCy Laurie Jazzband, Ella Mitchell
24/1/1961Grosvenor BallroomKenny Ball and his Jazzmen, Clinton Ford
31/1/1961Grosvenor BallroomMike Daniels Delta Jazzmen, Doreen Beatty
7/2/1961Grosvenor BallroomKen Sims Vintage Jazzband
14/2/1961Grosvenor BallroomBob Wallis's Storyville Jazzband
21/2/1961Grosvenor BallroomChris Barber Jazzband, Ottilie Patterson
28/2/1961Grosvenor BallroomSir Charles Galbraith Jazz Gentlemen
7/3/1961Grosvenor BallroomIan Menzies and the Clyde Valley Stompers, Fiona Duncan
14/3/1961Grosvenor BallroomMick Mulligan Jazz Band, George Melly
21/3/1961Grosvenor BallroomKen Colyer and his Jazzmen
28/3/1961Grosvenor BallroomKenny Ball Jazzmen
4/4/1961Grosvenor BallroomDick Charlesworth and his City Gents, Jackie Lynn
11/4/1961Grosvenor BallroomTerry Lightfoot's New Orleans Jazzmen
18/4/1961Grosvenor BallroomAlex Welch Band
25/4/1961Grosvenor BallroomKen Sims Vintage Jazzband
2/5/1961Grosvenor BallroomMicky Ashman's Ragtime Jazzband
9/5/1961Grosvenor BallroomBob Wallis's Storyville Jazzband
16/5/1961Grosvenor BallroomThe Temperance Seven, Sir Charles Galbraith Jazz Gentlemen
23/5/1961Grosvenor BallroomEric Alandale's New Orleans Knights
30/5/1961Grosvenor BallroomAlex Welsh and his Jazzband
6/6/1961Grosvenor BallroomEd Corrie's Concord Jazz Men
13/6/1961Grosvenor BallroomTerry Lightfoot's New Orleans Jazzmen
20/6/1961Grosvenor BallroomDick Charlesworth and his City Gents, Jackie Lynn
27/6/1961Grosvenor BallroomSir Charles Galbraith's Charleston Chasers
4/7/1961Grosvenor BallroomEric Alandale's New Orleans Knights
11/7/1961Grosvenor BallroomAlan Elsdon's Jazzmen
18/7/1961Grosvenor BallroomMike Cotton's Jazzmen, Jeannie Lambe
25/7/1961Grosvenor BallroomKenny Ball Jazzmen
1/8/1961Grosvenor BallroomTerry Lightfoot's New Orleans Jazzmen
8/8/1961Grosvenor BallroomSir Charles Galbraith's Charleston Chasers
15/8/1961Grosvenor BallroomMicky Ashman's Ragtime Jazzband
22/8/1961Grosvenor BallroomLennie Baldwin's Dauphin Street Six
29/8/1961Grosvenor BallroomAcker Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band
5/9/1961Grosvenor BallroomKen Colyer and his Jazzmen
12/9/1961Grosvenor BallroomDougie Richford's London Jazzmen
19/9/1961Grosvenor BallroomDick Charlesworth and his City Gents, Jackie Lynn
26/9/1961Grosvenor BallroomTerry Lightfoot's New Orleans Jazzmen
3/10/1961Grosvenor BallroomThe Melbourne New Orleans Jazz Band
10/10/1961Grosvenor BallroomThe Clyde Valley Stompers
17/10/1961Grosvenor BallroomGerry Brown Jazzmen
24/10/1961Grosvenor BallroomKen Sims Vintage Jazzband, Long John Baldry
31/10/1961Grosvenor BallroomTerry Lightfoot's New Orleans Jazzmen
7/11/1961Grosvenor BallroomAlan Elsdon's Jazzband
14/11/1961Town Hall AylesburyKen Colyer and his Jazzmen
21/11/1961Town Hall AylesburyGerry Brown Jazzmen
28/11/1961Town Hall AylesburyThe Back 'O Town Syncopaters
5/12/1961Town Hall AylesburyChris Barber's Jazzband, Ottilie Patterson


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