The Golden Garter, destroyed by fire in 1990, on the site now occupied by Gala Bingo on Rowlandsway

 Welcome to the Golden Garter Nightclub

The Golden Garter in Wythenshawe was originally a Bowling Alley, which was converted into a nightclub by the Belle Vue’ (as in ‘Circus’ and ‘Fairground’) Company of Manchester. It opened for its First Night on Monday, October 7th 1968 and the first celebrity to star there on the opening night was Bruce Forsyth, who was top of the bill.

'The Garter', as it was affectionately known locally, had lavish, thick carpets and gold and crimson décor as well as décolleté plaster goddesses smiling in pairs on either side of the movable apron-stage. There were 50 barmen, who wore green and gold-striped waistcoats and there was room for 1,400 diners. A 3-Course meal at the Golden Garter would cost you 15 shillings (75p), a bottle of champagne 39 shillings (£1.90p), a glass of brandy 3 shillings and 6 pence (33p) and a pint of bitter 2 shillings and 7 pence (23p).

This wide and varied choice of menu was soon replaced by the ubiquitous 'Chicken in a Basket' - the standard stodge food fayre of local entertainment in the 1970s.

FORMER CELEBRITIES AT THE GOLDEN GARTER:

Shep’s Banjo Boys were initially booked to appear for only one night but they proved so poular that they became the resident band at the Golden Garter for well over 3 years. Howard ‘Shep’ Shepherd is recognised as Britain’s foremost banjo player whose band Shep's Banjo Boys later became nationally recognised for their live musical spots on Granada TV's long running series “The Comedians”. Since then they have performed all over the UK and appeared abroad. The Golden Garter Trio were another resident band in the early days. *See 'The Good Old Days' on Menu, left, for ex-Banjo Boy John C Orchards' page of Golden Garter Gigs & Re-unions.

Pipedream were also another resident band/vocal group who are still going strong, having worked with many famous stars, such as Barry Manilow. They are now known as the Lemon Tree Band.

Ted Robbins, famous as the best TV warm-up man around for programmes such as Blind Date, where he became the programme's script associate, to The League Of Gentlemen, who ended up writing a part especially for him.

Ted comes from a showbiz background. His dad managed the famous Golden Garter club in Wythenshawe in the sixties. Liverpool-born Ted, who lives in Rossendale, is also an actor and appeared in ITV's Heartbeat. He's also recently been seen on film, playing a small part in the phenomenally successful Calendar Girls and also played Den Perry, the devious club-owner rival of Brian Potter in Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights.

Princess Margaret met Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton who was among sporting stars at the Golden Garter in Wythenshawe where she was giving cheques to children’s charities in 1976.

In 1976 The Dooleys won Best Group category at the Club Mirror National Club Acts Awards. The presentation was held at Wythenshawe's Golden Garter Club, with the show featuring fellow award winners; Paul Daniels (Speciality act), Fiddlygig (Comedy Group), Mike Channing (Male vocalist), Cannon and Ball (Comedy act) and Pete Price (Best compere). Mancunian comedian Bernard Manning hosted the evening.

Gene Pitney - One club from the seventies has a special place in Pitney's affections, the Golden Garter in Wythenshawe - the cabaret venue turned bingo club which was destroyed by fire in 1990. "It was a huge club in its day. It was fantastic," Pitney recalls. "It was a smoke-filled, drinking atmosphere and a late-night show. Sometimes it was like looking through a haze to see your audience. And it got pretty rowdy at times, but it was fun. Those kind of shows always had a tremendous amount of bouncers. There were ladies who'd rush the stage and grab whatever they could from you."

OTHER FAMOUS STARS INCLUDE:

  • Norman Wisdom
  • Tommy Cooper
  • Dusty Springfield
  • Lulu
  • Bee Gees
  • Bruce Forsyth
  • Frankie Vaughan
  • Danny la Rue
  • Ken Dodd
  • Sandie Shaw
  • Eartha Kitt
  • Roy Orbison
  • Cliff Richards
  • Les Dawson
  • The Hollies
  • Matt Monroe
  • Freddie Starr
  • Jack Jones
  • Ronnie Corbett
  • Cannon & Ball
  • Showaddywaddy
  • Four Tops
  • Bob Monkhouse
  • New Seekers
  • Everly Brothers
  • Moody Blues
  • Hot Gossip
  • Adam Faith
  • Harry Secombe
  • Helen Shapiro
  • Lonnie Donegan
  • Georgie Fame 
  • Joe Loss
  • Gary Glitter
* John Orchard, pianist of Shep's Banjo Boys has set up his own dedicated Golden Garter website - to see it, click HERE
GOLDEN IMAGES

You will find MUCH more on Facebook's "Golden Garter  from 1969 until it shut its doors" page