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Rosies nightclub in Chester hosts heart-warming Quaintways reunion

Revellers relive youth at club that hosted Rod Stewart, Elton John, The Who, Thin Lizzy, Slade, Status Quo and more

The older generation reclaimed their club for one night only when they enjoyed a trip down memory lane at a reunion in Rosies, known back in the day as Quaintways.

Former regulars descended on the Northgate Street club from the local area, across the UK and from as far away as California.

Chester legend Gordon Vickers was guest of honour at Monday’s party (September 5) as he was the well known promoter of Quaintways' Monday Wall City Jazz Club back in the 1960s. He booked many big names but one act in particular stands out in his mind.

“The most famous band we had at our place was with Long John Baldry (who had earlier played with members of the Rolling Stones). He had Rod Stewart on vocals and Elton John on keyboards.”

All systems go for Chester Quaintways reunion

To his eternal regret, Gordon, now in his 80s, who owns The Mill Hotel, turned down one group by the name of the Beatles who went on to become the biggest band in the history of pop.

“I turned them away because they were too scruffy,” he said. “I was offered the chance to book them for £10 but rejected it. I always thought (Manchester band) the Hollies were better than the Beatles, but the latter had Brian Epstein managing them.”

Gordon was ‘overwhelmed’ to see so many faces from the days when he promoted music in the city. And he beamed when he explained how so many couples had met at Quaintways and went on to get married.

Other special guests were Hilary Jones, Helen Jones and Carole Hughes, AKA The Rainbow Dancers, who were Quaintways’ equivalent of 1960s British TV dance troupe Pan’s People.

One of the organisers, Jeff Price, a former Chronicle photographer, chuckled at the choice of headline band for the reunion, The Undertakers, one of the regular groups from Quaintways’ past, quipping that it was ‘an apt name for the age of us’.

Chester road trip for Paddy McGuinness and John Prescott

He continued: “I used to come here when I was a teenager with my friends. I was born and bred in Handbridge. There were four or five of us. We would have a dance.

“There were lots of girls dancing around their handbags.”

A huge rock fan, Jeff, who lives in Upton, recounted: “In the 70s I used to come here with a girlfriend to see bands like Thin Lizzy, Status Quo, all the rock bands, so I have a long history with being here.”

Fellow organiser Sue Holleron said: “I used to come every Monday and every Saturday. Monday was jazz club and a rock ‘n’ roll theme. On Saturday, downstairs it was ballroom dancing and rock ‘n’ roll upstairs.”

The Quaintways complex also housed a food hall and hair dressing salon where one Pauline Prescott (nee Tilston), wife of Lord Prescott, used to work. The Prescotts, who used to frequent Quaintways, have been life-long friends of musical impressario Gordon Vickers.

Fellow organiser Chris Roscoe said: “I used to go to the hairdressers because Pat Fields, who on a Sunday sang with the The Wall City Jazzmen, was a hairdresser.”

Quaintways reunion all set to go ahead

She explained that many couples began courting at Quaintways.

“There’s one couple in particular that’s meeting here tonight – and it’s their 46th wedding anniversary, tonight!” she said.

Former city and county councillor Sue Proctor, whose own sister met her partner through Quaintways, reminisced.

“Monday night was jazz club night and there was one floor that was jazz and one floor that was the popular music of the day so The Who, Slade, Long John Baldry, Lindisfarne, The Sex Pistols, they were booked to play here.”

The event raised £2,000 split between The Hospice of the Good Shepherd and the Chester Childbirth Appeal.

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