Trade Union Hall.. a question for Watford old timers.

Discussion in 'Taylor's Tittle-Tattle - General Banter' started by Stevohorn, May 25, 2017.

  1. Stevohorn

    Stevohorn Watching Grass Grow

    Just doing some personal research into venues where my favourite group, The Who, played in their early career. One place where they played fairly regular, in the mid 60's, was the Trade Union Hall in Watford.

    Try as i might i cant find any info on where it was situated.. well guessing it's long gone.

  2. The Voice of Reason

    The Voice of Reason First Team Captain

    No can't remember that one, but they used to play in a club above Burton's menswear shop in Harrow high street, Long John Baldry was a regular there too.
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  3. alphajohn247

    alphajohn247 Academy Graduate

    There is a Trade Unionist Hall and labour club Woodford Road WD17 1PB Watford, UK
    Hope that helps
  4. Stevohorn

    Stevohorn Watching Grass Grow

    Yes cheers found this earlier but it only added to the confusion.
    There is apparently still a Trade Union club/meeting place based in Woodford Road but it's in an apartment block called 'North West' It's hard to tell the age of the block but it doesnt look like it could have once been a hall. Other references ive found have also suggested Woodford Road but also Clarendon Road.

    I think the best reference ive found though was from a book called The Who Chronicles which states that "this 1000 person capacity venue, opposite Watford Junction Railway station, became a Who stronghold"

    My guess is that the hall stood at the junction of Woodford and Clarendon roads and was replaced by that big glass shiny office block. As of yet i havent found any pics though.

    PS Interesting to see that Billy Bragg and the Redskins also played there in 1984.. if indeed they did.
  5. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    I am pretty sure that is the location. The old Trade Union Hall was demolished a decade ago. And I seem to recall reading in Watford Out Town or the nostalgia section of the WO about The Who having played there in the sixties.
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  6. Timbers

    Timbers Apeman

    My dad followed them around everywhere, he says that's the place.
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  7. Whippendell Woods

    Whippendell Woods Squad Player

    My elder sister used to follow them from their very early days - she deffo went with her mod mates to see them in Wealdstone, Harrow and Watford- if you've other Qs I can ask her too.
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  8. Stevohorn

    Stevohorn Watching Grass Grow

    Yeah well there was one thing. I notice you also mention Harrow (as did VOR) and i see on Google streetview that above the current Burton's Menswear shop there is a closed down club called 'Time'
    Could that have been the same place? Though no doubt called something else way back then. It's actually in Station Road.

    PS Wealdstone would have been the Railway Hotel. That was where the Who had a long running residency and where legend has it Pete Townshend got the neck of his guitar stuck in the low suspended ceiling.. thus starting his guitar smashing days.
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
  9. The Voice of Reason

    The Voice of Reason First Team Captain

    Not sure about this one, but did they also used to play at the old Harrow Art College either near to the then future site of North Park Hospital, or possibly the hospital was actually partly built on the site it used to be on?
  10. Stevohorn

    Stevohorn Watching Grass Grow

    Sussed it out.
    The Who played above Burton's Menswear in Uxbridge in June 1965. The place was actually called the Burton Ballroom and apparently Burton's often had either dance halls or billiard halls built over their shops. Looks to me like the one in Harrow, or at least where Burton's is now in Harrow, had one as well., though the Who never played there.

    After looking at old pics and cine film i realised that the Burton Ballroom in Uxbridge has gone.. replaced with the pavilions shopping center.

    PS Havent found out anything about Harrow Art College yet.. but i'm looking :)
  11. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    Wasn't it a CIU affiliated place?
  12. The Voice of Reason

    The Voice of Reason First Team Captain

    It was a long time ago and it was the late 60's :confused:
  13. Stevohorn

    Stevohorn Watching Grass Grow

    Well that's the beauty of the internet.. you can back up your memories :)
  14. Stevohorn

    Stevohorn Watching Grass Grow

    Not quite sure what you meant by that? The Trade Union Hall?
  15. The Voice of Reason

    The Voice of Reason First Team Captain

    The "CIU" is a national Working Mans Club organisation, with member clubs all over the country, so he could be right Stevo.
  16. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    Sorry @Stevohorn. My grandfather was an active CIU member ( Hendon Ex-servicemen's Club) and made sure that all the blokes in the family were members. I let my membership slide years ago but I always noticed CIU affiliated clubs and there was one in the building opposite Junction station. I "think" that part of the CIU affiliation criteria was that you had to have a venue for meetings/ entertainment with a completely separate bar area for members' use when events were held. All the ones I ever visited* did - but sadly I never went into the Watford one.

    *Hendon Ex-Servicemen's Club, Whitstable Labour Club, West Aukland Miners Club (home of the original World Cup), Liverpool's Trade Union Hall (aka "The Flying Picket"), Bury Old Comrades Club and/or Burnley Ex-servicemen's Club (it's the one where they drink DOM Benedicitine liqueur by the crate) and loads in fishing towns/Villages in Cornwall and Devon.
    Last edited: May 29, 2017
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  17. goldpapaya

    goldpapaya Academy Graduate

    In the 70s I used to go into the labour club which was on the corner of woodford road/clarendon road opposite the junction and it was definitely CIU affiliated. Nom idea if The Who played there though
  18. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    Was it a " big" place?

    EDIT: Reason I ask is that all of the ones I visited were. Hendon was basically a pub and two dancehalls (with bars) and even Whistable also had three "bits": I remember meeting friends in the Bar before we queued up to get tickets for an "Evening with Peter Cushing - in Conversation" (which is, for some, reason completely unmemorable) and in the other hall a concert by a local funk band called "Huggy and the Bears" (whose basically played "Theme from Starsky and Hutch" quite a few times) supporting Caster USM. The Northern ones were massive.
    Last edited: May 29, 2017
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  19. Moose

    Moose First Team Captain

    The Quadrophenia album is dedicated to, amongst others, 'the kids' from Carpenders Park.

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  20. Stevohorn

    Stevohorn Watching Grass Grow

    I'm certain of that one now.
    Though i still couldnt find any pics of the place.. even after joining the Watford Memories and History Facebook group and looking through their photo's. Strange really as it must have been one of the town landmarks.
    Last edited: May 29, 2017
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  21. Stevohorn

    Stevohorn Watching Grass Grow

    Yes.. indeed i'd forgotten about that. The sleeve notes read.. "This music is dedicated to the kids of Goldhawk Road, Carpenders Park, Forest Hill, Stevenage New Town and to all the people we played to at the Marquee and Brighton Aquarium in the summer of '65"

    The Who.. or rather under the bands original name, the High Numbers, played what was then The Mine club in the back of the Pheasant pub in Carpenders Park several times in 1964. This pub is of course still there and it's great to find a place that's still around. I will be visiting the next time i'm over.

    From the Who's Facebook page..
    "By a wonderful strange twist of fate the Pheasant became a Weatherspoon pub and is now known appropriately as . . . The Ox"
    The Ox being John Entwistle's nickname.
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  22. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    If you're after definitive information it may be worthwhile contact the CIU to see what records they have.

    It's also coming back to me - why I never renewed. I used my CIU card all over the country and was welcomed everywhere - until Newcastle. ******* Newcastle.
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  23. KelsoOrn

    KelsoOrn Squad Player

    Used to see bands at the Kingham Hall in the early 70s. Off Clarendon Road somewhere. I remember Genesis playing there for one ...
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  24. AndrewH63

    AndrewH63 Reservist

    Watford Trade Union Hall was in Woodford Road. The original hall was built in the 1930s by volunteers, on land donated by the Watford Trade Unionist and Labour club. That club owned a big old Victorian villa that was on the corner of Clarendon and Woodford Road. When the Labour Club and Trade Union halls sold there land for redevelopment, a new Labour club was built on the site of the hall, with the the hall having facilities on the second floor. When the club went bust several years ago Bugler developments bought the building and bought out the Trade Union Halls lease.
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  25. Stevohorn

    Stevohorn Watching Grass Grow

    That's pretty much the definite answer i'd say Andrew.. thanks!

    But just to clarify was the Trade Union Hall some way down Woodford Road? Or next door to the Victorian Villa? Cheers.
  26. Stevohorn

    Stevohorn Watching Grass Grow

    The Kingham Hall stood on the corner of St Albans Road and St Johns Road on land that is now the car park over the road from the Fiat garage.
    Genesis played there several times in the early 70's. Added to which they also played at three other venues in Watford in the early 70's.. several times at the Technical College.. many times at the Town Hall (in conjunction with Friars Club of Aylesbury) and once at the Top Rank Club.

    Here is a poster from a 1971 gig at the Kingham Hall..

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  27. AndrewH63

    AndrewH63 Reservist

    Watford Trade Union Hall was down Woodford Road at the Clarendon road end., basically opposite the pick up/set down railway station car park on Woodford Road. The old Labour Club garden wall wrapped around the corner of Clarendon Road/Woodford Road. For many years that wall had a message saying pay no poll tax!
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  28. Stevohorn

    Stevohorn Watching Grass Grow

    Thanks again for the reply Andrew.

    I just went back on Google Streetview to have a final check of where the hall stood (approximately) and for the first time noticed the sign on the Bugler building saying "The Watford Club. Dancing.. bingo.. TV sport.. pool etc etc" and it also states its CIU Affilliated. Dont know how i missed it the first time round!
  29. Stevohorn

    Stevohorn Watching Grass Grow

    BTW on further research i found out that The Who played at another Watford venue.. namely the Odeon.
    Which i think was the second Odeon in the Hight Street, the place that was formally the Gaumont.
    Not the original Odeon which closed and became the Top Rank Club and then became Baileys.. though i think in a new building on the same site.

    I think :)
  30. ST1968

    ST1968 Academy Graduate

    Stevo, to confirm AndrewH63 is right.

    The old Trade Union Hall was knocked down I think late 80s and was sighted about 20 metres northwest of the current building i.e., a bit closer to the station. I remember my best mate seeing Billy Bragg there when we were in 6th form.

    Looking on Google Street View I think (but may be wrong) that the building now on the corner of Clarendon Rd and Woodford Rd is much much newer and replaced a previous block built there 25years back. Certainly the front of the Trade Union Hall was approx opposite where the no entry signs are now.

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  31. Luther Bassett

    Luther Bassett Reservist

    Saw Genesis at the Palace Theatre earlyish 72 (from memory), also Procol Harum at the same venue.
    Saw Man many times: great live band
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  32. Canary in Watford

    Canary in Watford Academy Graduate

    Indeed they did-I was there. It was a benefit gig for dinner ladies who were on strike at the time. Dinner ladies got in free so at least one of my friends dressed as a dinner lady. The miners strike was also on and The Redskins sort of hijacked the gig to promote the miners strike. Billy Bragg’s Volvo apparently had its windscreen smashed. This was the ticket for the gig.

    Attached Files:

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  33. samuihorn

    samuihorn Academy Graduate

  34. samuihorn

    samuihorn Academy Graduate

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  35. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    The architecture of that hall was very much in keeping with the villas next to it and on Clarendon Road. Two of the last having been lamentably disposed of for this new TK Mucks HQ. Very leafy in contrast to the grim glass and concrete facades and the overwhelming station block. The last remnant that remains is O'Neills the former Flag and what used to be a hotel for weary travellers.

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