RECOLLECTIONS OF INDIVIDUALS WHO FREQUENTED THE CO-OP HALL OVER THE DECADES
Just a note regarding the Co-operative Society. Not many people are aware that, in the early days, the Co-operative Society was EXTREMELY left wing. Our local Co-op club used to hold political meetings and invite speakers often from foreign countries. My grandfather was on our local committee and in 1923 they had Lenin speak at their club. Its possible he did a tour of Co-op clubs round the country, I know he spent most of 1923 in the UK. In 1924 he returned to Russia and was asassinated.
I havent watched the DVD yet but I suppose the disaster of Dec 31 1965 was a bit of a hot potato though I consider it pivotal in that it was that which spelled the end of the hall. It went into rapid decline straight afterwards and it never recovered. I put the blame completely in the lap of the Co-op because it was not properly stewarded. On the night in question, the normal procedure today would have been to have 2 guys on the STREET door rather than one 74 year old at a table at the top of the stairs. Today, as soon as a venue reaches capacity, the doormen will clear the lobby and close the street door and only let one person in for each person who leaves. On the night in question there were at least 50 people in the lobby and on the stairs jostling to get in and, having witnessed things first hand, I believe they were the biggest single contributor to the disaster.
‘Pinkertons’ played “The Co” only once more, about 3 months after the event, and it had descended into anarchy. There was even less stewarding and kids were climbing on the stage and singing into our mics. We actually downed instruments and walked off before our performance was finished.
It was a nice room and its a real shame that there are very few venues left with that sort of capacity. It would have been viable to stage some big artistes there, even now, but the minimum requirement would be a first class goods lift.”
Tom Long – Guitarist ‘Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours’
how wonderful to read this.I have mirror-mirror-on my ipad.Iwas a regular at the co-op hall in the sixties.I remember someone coming to school crying about the tragedy.I went to st josephs in Caldwell.I wish we could all go back there.
thanks for the memory.
Mrs Bernadette Neil.formerly Conway(connie)
We would have been at the CO that fateful night but went to a football do instead.It was such a shame that so many happy memories were marred by that awful tragedy.we have so many happy memories of the co-op and love looking at all the old photos and memories of so many people. Mrs Janet Finney Nee] Wilcox.
We played at the CO several months before that awful and tragic evening.It was rammed when we went on stage but must say it was a great night and a great atmosphere.The whole venue i found to be a great buzz.Mal Scott, Johnny West and The Sunsets.
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