South Shields Local History Group

Under Construction


21 Club, Whithead Street

Located in the old Hogg Brothers Exchange Buildings it opened in the early 1960s and it was gutted by fire in March 1992.

21 Club (South Tyneside Libraries, Shields Gazette, STH0019597)
Metro car park – 2022

Beach Club/Shoreline

The Beach Club opened in 1962, the building was owned by South Shields Corporation and it was run by Councillor Douglas Marshall.


In 1968 the name was changed to the Shoreline Club which quickly gained a very unsavoury reputation. It closed in the late 1980s and the Sundial pub was built on the site in 1992.

British Legion, 22 Winchester Street

The British Legion opened in 1921 and was one of the first to open in the North East.  Originally it was based in the Drake Buildings in Ocean Road but in 1925 it moved to new premises at 22 Winchester Street. In the Shields Daily Gazette on the 4th December 1925 it advertised:

“Assistance and advice given in all matters relating to ex-servicemen and their dependents”.

British Legion Winchester Street (South Tyneside Libraries, Shields Gazette, STH0019655)

It later became the Legion and Workingmen’s Club. 

British Legion Winchester St (South Tyneside Libraries STH0004791)

The club had 1,000 members and was forced to close in 1984 when the council wanted the land to “build new office buildings on the corner of Winchester Street and Anderson Road”.  The building then became Porters Bar Restaurant it is now Mambo’s Wine and Dine.

Mambos – 2022

Cellar Club, 45 Beach Road

Opened in 1956 by Gladys Hogg, she was the mother of Stan Henry of Bailey Organisation fame.  Originally it was a Jazz club it later featured pop, R&B and soul bands.  It closed in November 1966 when the New Cellar Club opened.

Cellar Club (New), Thomas Street (Club No 1)

Originally called the New Cellar Club it opened on 2nd December 1966, it was owned by Stan Henry of the Bailey Organisation.  Cream played on the opening night.

Cellar Club Opening Cream – 1966

Famously Jimi Hendrix played on Wednesday 1st February 1967, tickets were 6 shillings. 

Cellar Club 1967 Jimi Hendrix

Other bands to appear were Alexis Korner, Soft Machine, Long John Baldry, Rory Gallagher, Chicken Shack, Family and The Nice.   It became the Chelsea Cat in 1969.

Chelsea Cat Night Club, Thomas Street, (Club No 2)

It opened as the Chelsea Cat in late 1969 as a discotheque rather than a live music venue.  The Chelsea Cat closed in the 1980s.  It later became Sugar Daddies then The Tunnel.

Chelsea Cat 1969

Cellar Club (New), Thomas Street, (Club No 3)

Opened on Monday 5th June 1995 in the old Chelsea Cat building.  It had performances by Kenny Ball, Alan Price, Spencer Davis, the Yardbirds and one of the most disappointing gigs I ever saw Peter Green’s Splinter Group. 

Cellar Club George Melly 1995

Unfortunately having big names in a small venue was not sustainable and it closed in 1999.  It is a dentists called Wearside Orthodontics now.

Dentist – 2022

Companion’s Club, Brigham Place

Opened in the 1960s it was sold in 2006 and is now the Clover & Wolf pub.

Companions 1970s (South Tyneside Libraries STH0010217)
Clover&Wolf – 2022

Cleadon and District Social Club, 31-33 Fulwell Avenue

Opened in 1954 the Cleadon Club is still open now.

Cleadon Club – 2022

Freemason’s Hall, Ingham Street

The Hall was opened on 9th February 1885 the Regular Meeting of St. Hilda Lodge and the St. Hilda and Hadrian Lodges began working in their new home and remain there to this day. The cost of the Hall was financed by a Mortgage which was finally paid off on 1st October 1916. In 1925 the hall was extended and improved. The Lodge Room was enlarged, the Banqueting Hall extended to accommodate 170 diners (fire regulations have reduced this substantially) and new Club Rooms, Kitchen, Servery etc., added. It is still used by the Freemason’s today.

Ingham Street 1983 (South Tyneside Libraries, Ken Lubi, STH0004526)
Ingham Street – 2022

Hedworth Hall, Dean Road

Built on the site of Woodside, a grand house at Westoe, the Hedworth Hall Masonic Lodge opened in 1925 at a cost of approximately £20,000.  During the 1960s and 70s on Saturday it was a club called the “Golden Slipper Club” though it was usually called the “Yella Welly”. It closed as a Masonic lodge in 2007. It is now a venue called Hedworth Hall.

Hedworth Hall Dean Road – 2022

Irish National Working Men’s Club and Institute, 3 Keppel Street

Opened on Saturday 28th September 1912 with a speech saying: “They should have associations of an Irish National character to keep well to the front of the Irish national cause.” 

Irish National Club 1912 Open
Irish National Club 1900s 3 Keppel St (South Tyneside Libraries STH0005671)

When the Easter Rising of 1916 occurred the club did not support this and sent a telegram saying they: “strongly condemn the Sinn Fein revolt”. 

Irish National Club 1916 Easter 1916

The club closed about 1924, the site later became Riddick’s shoe shop.

Empty shop – 2022

Kismet Club, 33 New Green Street

Opened about 1965 by Sayyad Shah from Kashmir.  It closed in XXXX. It is a car parking area now.

Kismet Club 1966
Car park – 2022

Latino Night Club, Crossgate

This was built on the site of the old Town Hall Garage.

Town Hall Garage 1960s (South Tyneside Libraries, Mudditt, STH0006243)

The Club Latino opened on Tuesday April 12th 1966. 

Latino 1965 (South Tyneside Libraries, Mudditt, STH0007301)

Elton John opened his autobiography “Me” with a description of The Latino in 1967 which gives the impression it was out date when it had just opened!

“I was onstage at the Latino club in South Shields when I realized I couldn’t take it anymore …”

Frankie Howard 1965 (South Tyneside Libraries, Mudditt, STH0007303)

Acts included Tom Jones, P J Proby, Showaddywaddy and Scott Walker.  Later it became The Tavern, Buddy’s, Oz it is a gym now.

Gym – 2022

La Strada Night Club

Opened by J. Sandford Goudie in a converted old upholstery premises of Smith’s Furniture in Commercial Road in April 1961.

La Strada 1983 (South Tyneside Libraries, Ken Lubi, STH0004473)

The acts who appeared include: Englebert Humperdink, Lonnie Donegan, Bob Monkhouse, Roger Whitaker, Lita Rosa, Vince Hill. 

It became “Busters” in the early 1990s and it closed in the late 1990s and was then demolished.

Structure – 2022

A sculpture was created by Jim Roberts in 2006 to commemorate the club.

Site of La Strada – 2022

Marine Engineers’ Institute, 8 King Street

Started in 1887 and on the 11th November 1891 the new premises were

“inaugurated.  They consist of a large lecture hall, billiard room, secretary’s and committee rooms”. 

Lectures were held every month on a diverse range of engineering topics:

“The Action of the Stresses on the Moving Parts of an Engine” – Monday, October 26th 1891

“The Electric Lighting of South Shields” – Monday, November 8th 1897

“Electricity: Its Powers and its Promises” – Monday, 29th January 1900

1900 Electricity

“N.B – This Lecture is open to Ladies”

Marine Engineers 1897 Billiards

It changed its name from Institute to Association in the 1920s and was still open in 1955.

Merchant Navy Club, Salem Street/Queen Street

Opened on Thursday 8th June 1944 in a former Methodist Chapel on the corner of Queen Street and Salem Street.  The bar was open from 11.30 to 2.30 and 6.00 to 9.30 pm.  There was a sports room with two billiard tables, two dart boards and a dance hall.  It closed in 1957.

Woodlands Furniture, Salem Street Queen St

Merchant Navy Club/Hotel, Lawe Road

Opened on December 14th 1960 at a cost of £65,000, it was built on the site of a former paint factory. 

1860 Paint Factory (South Tyneside Libraries STH0010598)

On 17th May 1983 the 31 staff were given redundancy notices due to the decline of the number of ships visiting South Shields.

Merchant Navy Club 1983 (South Tyneside Libraries, Ken Lubi, STH0004768)

It then became the Ambassador Hotel then the Ambassador Care Home it is now residential flats.

Apartments – 2022

Perseverance Social Club, Whitehead Street

Opened on Saturday 22nd October 1904 by Mr J Jackson of Sunderland the site had previously been used for the Tyne Dock Workmen’s Club.  Unfortunately, the “Persey” club forgot to register the club with the Chief Constable and the Committee were each fined 30/= and costs.  In 1906 there was a fire at the club and in June 1st 1925 32 members of the club were on a charabanc trip to Berwick, the brakes failed on a steep hill and the driver crashed into a bridge, the charabanc was left balanced precariously on the bridge and luckily no one was killed. 

Perserverance Club Sign – 2022

The Persey was a popular club and the second home of several members of the Ford family including “Old Joe Ford”, “Young Joe” and my “Great Uncle Ted”.  The Persey closed about 2013 and is now a storage facility called Easystore 24.

Perserverance Club – 2022

Playgoers’ Social Club and Institute, 54 Ocean Road

Registered on March 5th 1912 it was raided by the police on December 7th 1912 for failing to have a Justice’s Licence.  The police found 80 persons present with 13 or 14 not being members, there were a wide range of other failures found.  Detective Bruce said “The club was little more than a drinking den”.  It was struck off after this.  It became Parker’s Caterers then Savoy Furniture, It is YYY now.

RAF Club, 4 Dean Road

Formed in 1946 they bought their own premises in 1948. The building is still there and is used by the Badlanders Motorcycle Club.

RAF Club Dean Road – 2022
RAF Club Dean Road – 2022

Railway & Transport Workers Social Club, Hudson Street

Opened about 1922 for the railway workers at the nearby Tyne Dock.  In 1937 they advertised for a Steward who was to be paid £3 per week with a £25 bond.  From the 1960 the A19 Model Railway Club was based upstairs. 

Railway Club Hudson Street (South Tyneside Libraries, STH0003500)

It closed about 1987 and part of the building was demolished for road widening.  It is Harle Peel Bottled Gas now.

Railway Club Hudson Street – 2022

Ranch House Club, Queen Street
Situated under the multi-storey car park in Queen Street just off Mile End Road, “The Ranch” opened about 1966 and was operating throughout the 1970s, it had a reputation for roughness (not unusual). On 10th July 1981 it became the Rum Runner Club opened by the well known racehorse Red Rum, then it became Banwell’s about 1985, Limelights in about 1990 and then Cube. The site was demolished in 2006 and is now occupied by the Job Centre.

Rupert’s Night Club, Ocean Road

Opened on June 14th, 1972, by the Noble Organisation, membership was 25 pence. 

Ruperts 1972 Open

It was downstairs from Wonderland Amusements it offered quarter price drinks on a Monday and half price drinks on Thursday.  It was famous for its sticky carpet. 

Roxannes 1990 Ad Chronicle

In 1990 it was renamed Roxanne’s, it has recently closed.

Roxannes – 2022

Simonside Social Club, 197 Winskell Road

Opened about 1938 and advertised as being in Green Lane.  One of its earliest members of the “Sima Club” was Lord Blyton who said he helped the club “get on its feet”.  The club is still operating today as a pool venue called Buzzers.

CIU Sign – 2022
Simonside Club – 2022

South Shields Liberal Club, 64 Ocean Road/James Mather Terrace

Opened about 1900 it closed in 1934 for non-payment of rent and electricity on the premises!

South Shields Labour & Social Club & Institute Ltd, Victoria Road

More commonly known as the “Top Club” as it is at the top of Victoria Road as opposed to the “Middle Club” in the middle of Victoria Road.  It opened about 1928, in 1937 it had 180 members. 

Top Club 1949 (South Tyneside Libraries, STH0003377)

During the 1970s it was one of the best places to see local rock bands I remember going most Thursday nights to see bands like “Warbeck”, “Fist”, “Axe” etc.  It became Buzzers Sports Bar in 2016 it is now up for auction.

Top Club – 2022

South Shields National Unionist Workmen’s Club Ltd, 28 Frederick Street

Opened about 1915 it was aligned with the Conservative Party and opposed home rule for Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  It was originally at 28 Frederick Street.

Gym Frederick St – 2022

They moved into new premises in April 1964 on Laygate Lane.

Unionist Club Laygate 1964 (South Tyneside Libraries, Shields Gazette, STH0020438)

It is now called the Unionist Club and is still open.

Unionist Club Laygate – 2022

South Shields RAOB Ltd, Laygate Lane

RAOB are initials for “Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes”.  The name antediluvian (means before the time of the flood in the Bible) even though the organization only started in 1822!  The organization’s main focus is fund raising for members and their dependents.  The “Buffs” had 464 members in 1937. 

RAOB 1985 (South Tyneside Libraries STH0019354)

It closed about 1986 it then became “Cagney’s” then in 2012 it became Ahmed’s food store (below) and Aneesa’s Indian Restaurant (above).

Ahmeds Anneesa – 2022

South Shields Unionist Club, Catherine Street

Formed in 1895 in King Street the foundation stone of new premises was laid in Catherine Street on Wednesday 28th July 1897. It was opposite St Thomas’ Church.   Mason’s Amusements and Frank’s Carpets occupy the site now.  It closed in XXXXXX.

Franks Catherine St – 2022

South Shields Veterans Social Club, 75/77 Brunswick Street

On Tuesday 23rd April 1907 the South Shields Veterans’ Association was formed at Gregg’s Cafe at Laygate.  The members were largely veterans from the Crimea and Indian wars, with one member called Francis Ryan who had fought in the American Civil War! 

Greggs Cafe – 1908

They moved to new premises on the corner of Brunswick Street and Victoria Road which was formally opened on Saturday 26th February 1910. “The accommodation consists of a refreshment-room, a games-room and a reading-room, neatly and comfortably furnished”.  The “Vets Club” moved into new premises on Laygate Lane about 1955. The “Vets” closed in the 1980s for housing redevelopment.

Flats Laygate Lane – 2022

South Shields Working Men’s Social Club & Institute Ltd. 74/78 Victoria Road

On Monday 18th July 1910 in the Evening Chronicle They advertised for:

“STEWARD wanted for South Shields Working Men’s Social Club.  Salary £2 10s per week; also Barman £1 10s per week.”

Middle Club Victoria Road 1939 (South Tyneside Libraries, Flagg, STH0018844)

It was commonly known as the “Middle Club” it closed in 1986 it later became the “Queen Vic”, “The Office” it is now the “Dino Den”.

Dinos – 2022

South Shields Photographic Society, St John’s High School, YMCA, 16 King St …

On Wednesday 20th July 1892 and advert appeared in the Shields Daily Gazette saying:

“Wanted AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHERS and others desirous of forming Photographic Society”

They first met in St John’s Higher Grade School, then the YMCA Wellington Terrace.

“It was decided to throw the membership open to amateurs (ladies and gentleman) and professionals alike”

“The Land of the Pharaohs” – Thursday 2nd March 1893

“Instantaneous Photography” – Thursday 6th February 1896, “

A special feature was for the first in South Shields of a picture of the human hand …clearly showing the outline of the bones inside. (X-Rays)  Mr Willits kindly manipulated the lantern”

The South Shields Photographic Society is still going after 130 years and meets in St Bede’s Hall.

Photographic Society St Bedes – 2022

West Side Club, 6 West Avenue

Opened in 1934 the West Side is a private members club; it is still operating now.

Westside Club – 2022
Westside Club – 2022

Whiteleas Social Club, Oswald Street

On Wednesday 25th October 1939 permission was granted for premises to be found for the club by Boldon Urban District Council.  The club is still open now.

Whiteleas Club – 2022
List 1937 Chief Constable (South Tyneside Libraries)


British Newspaper Archive
Report of the Chief Constable for the year ending 1937

South Tyneside Libraries
Terry Ford

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