In-spire-d night out

Er, glitz and glamour: Revellers at Chesterfield's old Crown & Cushion pub run by Harvey Hill
Er, glitz and glamour: Revellers at Chesterfield's old Crown & Cushion pub run by Harvey Hill
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THEY call it Ches Vegas - and in this picture you can see why. Or maybe not.

Chesterfield: the North Derbyshire market town with the crooked spire and ironic nickname has long been considered Sheffield’s less glamorous little brother. By Sheffielders at least.

Now a Steel City based author - Neil Anderson, if you’ve heard of him before? - will try to prove the town 10 minutes down the train line has always been more than a match for the noisy next door neighbour.

His ninth book will explore Chesterfield’s nightlife during the Eighties. And his contention will be that far from deserving that mocking moniker, this mini metropolis really was the home of bright lights and high times.

Stop laughing at the back. He’s as serious as the 1204 market charter.

“I actually lived in Chesterfield during the 1980s and frequented everywhere from the Adam and Eve to the Crown and Cushion,” he says. “And it’s fair to say it was a pretty lively place to be young. I still bare the scars. Perhaps it wasn’t Las Vegas but it was still great.

“Of course, we’d often get the train up to Sheffield for the big gigs and the more famous clubs. But Chesterfield attracted its own fair share of night visitors from the big city too. Places like The Aquarius were once experienced never forgotton.”

He means that in a good way, we should add.

His new book Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 1980s Chesterfield will follow the same template as the four (Fifties, Sixties, Seventies and Eighties) he’s already done on Sheffield. Which is to say they’ll follow a template of pages of period pictures, chapters on individual venues - such as The Painted Wagon and Moulin Rouge - and first hand accounts from those who lived through it.

In this case, that means his old mates.

“Chesterfield is a small town but that means you make your own fun and friends with everyone,” says the 45-year-old of Millhouses. “I remember one time the bouncers at the Adam and Eve saw my friend fall down drunk on the pavement outside. They picked him up, brushed him down and then took him in for a drink. You don’t get that level of service in the big cities.”

He’s not resting with Chesterfield either. This one-man history book industry also has plans to release a Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 1990s Sheffield later in the year too.

For now, though, he needs your help with Ches Vegas.

“If anyone has any memories or pictures of the nightlife, I’d love to hear from them,” notes the father-of-two.

He can be reached at neil@allcreditmedia.com

Do you remember?

THE PAINTED WAGON

It had a name that brought the Wild West to mind - and a reputation too. You were guaranteed two things at the Cavendish Street bar: a cheap drink and a fight.

ADAM AND EVE

“If you were rejected everywhere else, you ended up here,” says Neil Anderson. Strangely, the Lordsmill Street bar was almost always packed by closing.

MOULIN ROUGE

A touch of Paris in Knifesmithgate, Chesterfield.

THE AQUARIUS

Sprawling, glitzy one-time cabaret hall in Sheffield Road - became best known for its Grab-A-Gran nights.