Farewell to Sheffield’s former Mucky Duck music venue landlord

Terry Steeples outside the Black Swan
Terry Steeples outside the Black Swan
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A former Sheffield club landlord credited with helping to launch the careers of music stars has died aged 85.

Terry Steeples ran the Black Swan - affectionately known as the Mucky Duck - on Snig Hill from the 1960s into the 1970s.

Groups such as Status Quo, Dr Feelgood and Mungo Jerry graced the stage there - but the late Joe Cocker was the act most closely associated with Terry’s venue.

Nearly 50 years ago, in 1968, the Crookes-born singer performed at the Black Swan when his cover of the Beatles song With a Little Help from My Friends had just gone to number one, and Terry is once said to have crammed 500 people into the 220-capacity pub to see Cocker.

His daughter Nicola said Terry was ‘really proud’ of his achievements as landlord.

“He liked people and just liked the thrill of it,” she said.

Terry was born in Moorgate, Rotherham, and initially worked for his father’s business, which owned cinemas in the town.

He then ran a casino in Southport, before taking up the opportunity from Sam Smith’s brewery of running the Black Swan in 1962, staying for more than a decade.

As well as chart names, local acts such as Frank White, Ray Young and Chuck Fowler were fixtures on Snig Hill.

Nicola, aged 48, who lives in Maltby, remembers living at the Black Swan as a schoolgirl and said her dad - well-known for wearing bow ties - was ‘a larger-than-life character’.

“He was always suited and booted up. He was very fair with his employees. I haven’t really heard a bad word about him. It was a rough pub but you take the rough with the smooth, don’t you?”

Terry married his first wife, Rachel, in 1959. The couple were together until 1977 - along with Nicola they had a son, Marcus, who died in 1989 aged 28. He later remarried and moved to Grimsby, where he took a job with Barclays bank.

“He had two lives - a really notorious life in Sheffield and a really quiet life where no-one know his background in Grimsby,” said Nicola.

In 2008 a 40th anniversary celebration was held at the now-closed Boardwalk - the Black Swan’s successor - remembering Cocker’s 1968 gig, with Terry as a guest of honour. Terry, who had been living in a care home in Maltby, died on January 15. The funeral was held at All Saints Church in the village of Waltham, near Grimsby, last week.