A night out in Yate - nightclubs that have gone down in history

May 29 2021
A night out in Yate - nightclubs that have gone down in history

Yate Heritage Centre's David Hardill writes about a new exhibition on some of the venues which gave residents nights to remember.

THE lockdown has enabled us to research all manner of subjects and different avenues for our forthcoming exhibitions. One such avenue is local clubs.

Although Yate is an expanding town of around 23,000 inhabitants with much to be proud of, it is currently without a recognisable night-club.

It may therefore come as a surprise to newcomers and younger people that Yate boasted a number of renowned night-clubs from the 1970s through to the 1990s.

The centrepiece of the new Yate, which had grown dramatically in the 1960s and 1970s, was Yate Shopping Centre, complete with new shops and facilities including the library and Southwold (now Yate) leisure centre.

The Shopping Centre was regarded as a daytime venue. To enjoy a night out you went to Bristol or Bath – until new clubs emerged in Yate Shopping Centre, transforming the town's night life for a time.  

Tucked away in a corner of Four Seasons Square was the Stirling Suite Entertainment Centre, which opened after 1969 and was the first recognisable club to see bands in new town Yate.

There were well known music entertainers, including chart toppers such as Marmalade, in the early 1970s.

Stars and Stripes became a major hub for entertainment from 1976 to 1980. The club was open most nights for themed disco nights, including 'Southern Soul'.

Nationally-known radio DJs to visit included Radio One's Dave Lee Travis and Paul Gambaccini. Manager Jim Ruston was able to book well-known acts, including Sweet Sensation and promoted then up-and-coming acts such as comedian Jim Davidson and Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats.

One-off events became more common.

All-night soul evenings were staged at the leisure centre and Stars and Stripes during the 1970s. Yate had never seen anything like it. 

Spirals took over the mantle of the leading night club in the area in the 1980s and 1990s.

It held regular dance nights and attracted stars on the way up, among them Take That, who performed at Spirals in 1993.

At the club’s height in the early 1990s, coachloads of people came from Bristol, Gloucester and Chepstow for nights.

Despite its popularity with many, the club had earned a bad reputation following some violent incidents and sadly closed in 1997. 

Yate & District Heritage Centre is re-opening for bookings from June 8, when the Night Out in Yate exhibition will be open.

We hope to restore drop-in visits as soon as possible around June 21.

Email info@yateheritage.co.uk or call 01454 862200 for more information on this other events.

Diary

June 8-July 20: A Night out in Yate exhibition

June 16, 7.30pm: Roman Villas, with Malcolm Watkins.

June 22, 7.30pm: Yate Lecture Series – Boil a Mouse in Urine (Tudor domestic life)

Main picture: Two flyers for dance music nights at Yate's Spirals nightclub on consecutive weeks in April 1992. Picture courtesy of Yate & District Heritage Centre