How worldwide music stars have enthralled Sheffield audiences since the 50s

The rise of teen hysteria has often been blamed on the Beatles – but Neil Anderson’s book ‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 1950s Sheffield’ says it was alive and screaming years before.

Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 10:29 am

Paul Anka, Ronnie Hilton, Bill Haley, Billy Fury, Tommy Steele, Cliff Richard, Johnny Ray and scores of others were all subjected to this ear-splitting trait guaranteed to totally ruin any gig for even the most mildly interested music fan.

Patricia Eales, a contributor to the book, remembers it vividly. She said: “I remember going to see Paul Anka at Sheffield City Hall. I went along with people from work and was really annoyed because one female colleague did nothing but scream all the way through the show. ‘Diana’ was his big hit at the time. We were sat near the stage. It was really full.

“Seeing Ronnie Hilton was a big deal for me. I was in his fan club and everything. I used to wait at the stage door at the City Hall to meet him. He also made a special appearance at Cranes Record Shop. I queued to see him and I got to speak to him again. It was fantastic – I nearly fainted with excitement!

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Patricia Eales (far right) with friends in in the late 1950s.

"Otherwise I’d normally get my records from Philip Cann on Dixon Lane which had booths so you could listen to the songs before you bought them.”

She was also a big fan of nights in the City Hall Ballroom. “I’d regularly go to the Saturday night dances. I’d go with my friend Denise and her brother Gordon who’d be there to look after us. There’d always be a dance band on.

“We’d also be regulars at the Locarno. It was a bit strange in there as there’d be a sloping floor which was left over from it being a cinema. We tried to jive occasionally but we were never very good.

“The City Hall dances were the best though. I remember there was always a man who would march up and down the queue outside with sandwich boards shouting “the end of the world is nigh” – he’d be there every week!

“Denise and I would normally be wearing Dirndl skirts, blouses or dresses – we were always quite conservative. I could never walk very well in high heels so I’d always bring them along in a small carry case and put them on when I got to the dance. I’d normally wear my hair up with a French plait. Denise normally had a big bouffant.

“Pubs were always frowned upon and I’d never dare tell my mother if I'd been to one. I’d occasionally go to the Mulberry Tavern and the Yorkshireman.

“I remember being late one night and getting home 10 minutes after I should have. I was absolutely terrified. My mother was waiting for me on the doorstep with a poker in her hand.

“She said 'don’t worry, I’ve only been poking the fire' and then had a right go at me for being late.”

Taken from the ‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 1950s Sheffield’ – available from www.dirtystopouts.com for £14.95