Bold Street memories.

 When I was 11, it was the only place I was allowed to go shopping with my friend on our own…we felt so grown up. Her Mum would drop us off there & we were not allowed to go outside of Bold Street all day, we used to buy fake cigarettes from a little joke shop that puffed out some form of talcum powder and we’d sit on the benches trying to look older, pretending to smoke. 

 Years later Bold Street’s Café Tabac was the meeting place for my friends and I at the weekend before going on to Macs & the Mardi …what great nights out we had then. I had my 18th Birthday at the Four Seasons which was awful but cheap to hire and as I was too drunk to remember much of it, it’s of little importance where it was held.

I still love Bold Street, I can spend hours in Rennies, it’s like a second home to me. 

Thank you to Carol Ramsay at the Liverpool Biennial for her memories.

87 Responses to “Bold Street memories.”

  1. 1 |Denys Owen Feb 16th, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    From Denys Owen again! Re my earlier comment this evening, I have just seen a photograph on your website which shows BARCLAYS Bank on the upper corner, with what appears to be the Midland next door. So now we know.

  2. 2 Catherine Shields Apr 20th, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    I don’t see any historical reference to John Byrne & Son Ltd., diamond merchants from the early 1900s. I have a piece of jewellry in a box from this company. They also had an address at ?83 Hatton Garden, London.

    Does anyone know of this company?

  3. 3 Tina McDonnell Jun 11th, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    I have just purchased a silver set in a box with a crown and an address for John Byrne & Son Ltd., Diamond Merchants, 10, Bold Street, Liverpool.

  4. 4 Robert Peszel, Jul 18th, 2008 at 9:09 pm


    My Great Great Grandmother was Mary Byrne (Hawkins) the sister of John Byrne of John Byrne and sons Bold St. He came from Co Wexford Ireland and lived with my Great Great Grandfather William Hawkins in 1861 in Court Cazenau St a slum off Upper Beau St near Scottie Rd.
    He took 10 years to become a watchmaker and jeweller and had 9 kids one of whom (Dr Ferdinand Byrne) was a dentist. He moved to London to practice and his daughter Natalie married into the Wolff family. Her husban Freddie won an olympic gold medal in 1936 Berlin in the 400m relay. The family owned the London metal exchange and nearly all the family had MBE’s and whatnot. I have found references in very old telephone directories for Liverpool but little else after 1910. The family lived at Greenbank Rd, Toxteth Pk for many years and the large house is still there.

    I would welcome any further info you may have from 1910 onwards, living in N.Ireland I get little chance to get over to Liverpool now.

  5. 5 Zoe Sep 1st, 2008 at 7:47 am

    I have two abiding memories of Bold Street from the 60s. The first was the El Kabala, which was THE place to be. I used to sit drinking coffee in there with friends, and we’d chat to Roger McGough and John Gorman. I used to smoke Sobranie Cocktail cigarettes, which cost a fortune but which were, oh, so cool!

    My other clear memory is of the Jaguar car showroom, halfway up on the right hand side as you’re walked up from the city centre. There used to be a Jaguar E type 2 2 in the window, I think it was British Racing Green, though I might have made that up, but whatever, it gleamed, polished to perfection, and begged me to buy it every time I stood drooling over it.

    I haven’t been to Liverpool in years, (I’ve lived in East Anglia for 35 years) but I’m up in September to look around old haunts, so I’ll be paying a visit.

    Thanks for the memories guys. They’ve been a joy to read.


  6. 6 marie otoole Jul 30th, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Bold St.was an important part of the life of the city ,commercially and socially.Earliest memories of the late 1940s include being taken to Cripps department store for the annual buying of the Party Dress- usually a confection of what we called organdie material.Then, still on the right hand side going up the hill, to a shoe shop for school and party shoes. Here they had a wonderful rocking horse-more interesting than clothes or shoes ,which were chosen for you. A little further was a stationers[not as magical as Philip son and nephew ,but classy)where Christmas cards were ordered with ones address printed inside.Then on to the Kardomah cafe where ladies met ,always in hats and often furs ,to enjoy the oriental decor as well as afternoon tea;this practice continued well into the 60s but upstairs had been taken over by students and ‘bohemian’ types from the late 50s. The various coffee bars were thriving by now. Frequented by Mount Pleasant students ,among others, and Italian waiters on their afternoon break ,they were always busy and atmospheric.Neils Place or was it the Rumbling Tum had a wall- mounted Juke Box.And back on the right hand side,upstairs ,for a short time, could be found the Cherokee club where the floor seemed to be about to collapse.Little or no alcohol, the last bus home, and about 7 and 6 a week pocket money covered all our teenage needs.(Finally not forgetting the most amazing Deco interior of the Gas showroom .Where did that go?)

  7. 7 Cathy Sep 9th, 2009 at 4:33 am

    The early sixties, El Kabala used to be the haunt of Italian catering staff on their afternoon break between the lunch and dinner shifts. Some of the patrons worked at La Bussola, the first Italian coffee house/bistro in Liverpool. It was a great place to people watch. This blog has brought back many memories. Anybody out there remember this era at El Kabala? And the staff of the robley Catering Group?

    I remember Jaeger, and Kardomah coffee shop. There wa a club on the left side coming from Church Street direction. Was it the Odd Spot or Jacaranda?

  8. 8 Pam Haggerty, nee shaw Sep 23rd, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I remember so well Bold Street in the 1960`s. I used to go to the El Cabala and sit all night with one glass of lemon tea.
    I met several of my boyfriends there, tow became quite famous. Guy Edwards, who later becae a racing driver and was on of the people that pulled NIkki Lauder out of his burning car. The other was Tom Keyes, he went on to write science fiction and wrote and sold a movie.

    I remember those happy days when I was a student, no money but had a great time.

    I often wonder what happened to some of the friends from there, one particular one was Jonathan Knox.

  9. 9 Irene Oct 4th, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Hi, I workrd in La Bussola, pretty fresh out of Colquitte st. Catering College - a wonderful eye opener to the real catering world!!
    I walked up and down Bold st. every day for 2 years to reach college, brings back loads of great memories.

  10. 10 mark Oct 23rd, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I worked for robley 69/73 remember rembrant club, royal restaurant,jennys pen & wig dog & bear caseys corn exchange la brosh & loads more I was relief manager at the time. mark

  11. 11 Peter,mcgrath Apr 17th, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I,was a comis chef at the el kabaka in 1959. The owner was a mr kushner. He also had a coffee bar in southport.the chefs name was ray,Worral after that I worked for the Robley Group for 8′years.forcathy it was the jacaranda.

  12. 12 Tina McDonnell Apr 20th, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I was a student at Machin & Harper’s Commercial College off Bold Street, therefore I walked up and down each day. The main things that I noticed at the time were Neil’s Shoe Shop on the corner, and the massive chair with holes in the arms in another shop, which must have been an antique hearing aid.

    I also spent time in the aforementioned Coffee Bars, drinking half coffee, half chocolate. We thought that we were terribly sophisticated. Around ten/fifteen years later, I worked for Arrowsmith Holidays, unfortunately, the atmosphere had gone. Perhaps it was because we had all moved on to Matthew Street to watch my Cousin’s Art Teacher’s Boyfriend, John Lennon years before. Happy Days.

  13. 13 Irene Apr 27th, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I worked for Robley Group for a couple of years, La Bussola, The Royal (what that the name? Down the stairs, turn left at the bottom of Bold st?)
    I loved working with Jennie, what a Lady with a character!

    I was then sent off by them into the wilds at Uttoxeter!
    I have lived in Spain more or less since then, so memories are a bit vague!
    But, yes, full of great times and memories.

  14. 14 john havard Nov 2nd, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    I worked at el kabala in 1964 what a great coffee bar that was, I also used to help out in la cabala sometimes, they used to make their own cakes and bread in the bakery upstairs, fabulous! I think both el and la cabala were owned by two hungarian brothers, mr kushner was my boss. And yes all the Italian staff from the Adelphi used to frequent both. lets face it bold street was the place to be in the 60s and 70s,I enjoyed every minute!

  15. 15 Luke Jones Nov 3rd, 2011 at 7:50 am

    I am doing some research for an auction I am doing next week from some personal letters from an Australian WW1 veteran (Richard Learoyd) to his friend (Mark Roche) in Garrylough, Wexford Ireland where he recommends that he visit his friend in Liverpool who works in Bold Street for a company called John Byrne & Son Ltd. When I googled the address I was sent to this site. I am transcribing the letters & publishing them to our website soon. They will only be available online until they sell next week, have a look over the next few days if youre interested.

  16. 16 Lucy Dec 16th, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Hi, my mum Tess was a waitress at El Kabala in 1963/1964, she used to wear the 4″ stiletto heals carrying Russian tea with Kathy Blanch Flower another waitress and her best friend, saving money for another holiday to Spain!! She used to hate the boss who would tell her to get the 4″ stiletto’s off!!!

  17. 17 Catherine Kennah Dec 19th, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Yes, I remember Bold Street in the sixties. It really was the place to see and be seen! El Cabala was a favourite haunt: I used to meet my fiancé there (an Italian waiter at La Bussola-where I worked for a short spell.) I have memories of the Royal Restaurant, Kardomah, the Jaguar Showroom, Jaeger’s - I went on to work at McFadden and Barron- off one of the streets running parallel to Bold Street-can’t remember the name.

    This is a great project- reviving my past and memories of Liverpool, my birthplace-I’ve been living in Canada for an age.

  18. 18 Irene Dec 19th, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Hi, does anybody have any fotos of these places where we all have such great memories of?

  19. 19 Denys Owen Jan 4th, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Yes Irene there certainly was a Royal Restaurant but I think it was in Hanover St around the corner from Bold St, in a corner basement building, where very good value food could be had for very little. My then (lovely) girl friend was a staff nurse in Alder Hey and we would meet at 6 for a meal and the pictures or even the theatre.That was in the 1950s.

  20. 20 Kitty (martin )Blore Feb 6th, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Hi thanks for the great memories, my friend Joan and I used to go to the el Cabala in late fifties early sixties..russian tea and sit for hours people watching..
    A walk up or down Bold street was real dream time for us..I too used to have shoes from the shop with the rocking horse…Oh Nostalgia….

  21. 21 Clive Hesketh Feb 25th, 2012 at 12:35 am

    I worked at the Elcabala I used to make the cakes and Pastries there before that I was at the Adelphi hotel as aChef Pattisier.
    I loved my job and worked for the Kushners when they bought Sissons in Southport, But then I moved to Canada. Great days!!! still looking for acouple of buddie that I worked with Kenny Han ,John Paine.Take care all.Clive

  22. 22 Stanley May 27th, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Re all of the above.I remember them well.
    But how about the,Odd Spot Club.One if not the first decent night club in the city.Also there was the,Porthole club in Concert St.
    And the jewel in the crown of the Robley Group.The Rebrandt Club.
    Which was members only five star dining.

  23. 23 Clive Hesketh May 28th, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Hi guys still looking for buddies that I worked with at El cabala
    Kenny Han John Paine I noticed Peter Mc Grath did you work at the Adelphi before el ca ba la. Have fun all of you

  24. 24 Stanley May 29th, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Doesnt anybody remember before El Cabala.?
    It used to be Sissons.Now that was the place to be in the afternoons.Next door was Mayfair Gowns were Celia Philips held court,and dressed those who could afford it.Across the road was Ruby Miller the furrier.Another high end store.Re the Royal in Hanover Street.
    That was not as one person sugested,a cheap place.It was a very up market restaurant with floor show.

  25. 25 Clive Hesketh Jun 2nd, 2012 at 4:02 am

    I worked at the elcabala and lacabala and also ran the cafe that Mr Kushner owned in Southport on lord street,before I emigrated to Canada I often wonder why the business disappeared and what happened to Stanley Kushner mr Kushners son
    I also remember Sissons because we took them over when they were in Southport

  26. 26 Colin Godwin Sep 28th, 2012 at 6:37 am

    It’s pleasant to see some of these comments. I’m now 61 and The Odd Spot was the scene for me Fri. and Sat. Ugly’s on a Thursday, the Babalou on a Tuesday.When I was a little younger, I did the Saturday lunchtime sessions at the Cavern and felt cool at Neils Place on Leece St. In between the Iron Door, Mardi and local dance places in S. Lpool. Great times, Great people and lots of fun drinking Carsberg 68’s in the Hanover before the festivities .

  27. 27 Marguerite Jan 12th, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    In the mid fities there was a ladies dress shop in Bold St called
    ‘Nannette’s’ their window displays caused people to stop and admire.
    Any memories been stirred about that articular shop,? and the fashions at that time would be of interest to me. Thanks.

  28. 28 Marie Mar 2nd, 2013 at 1:48 am

    Does anyone remember Hills of Bold st the posh hairdressers?

  29. 29 karen larsen Apr 12th, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    My grandad was a stylist at hills of bold street amd did all the stars hair from the theatre and my mum also worked there for twenty years

  30. 30 Bernard Parr May 4th, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    I worked at the Robley Group for a couple of years from 1960 to 62, started in the Dog & Partridge Tutbury as a Commis waiter, then on to the Grovesnor Hotel in Aldford, I also went on the Shell Tanker Oscilla,as the Robley group did the catering for all the ships launched at cammel lairds at that time, I finished up at the Rembrandt Club, where Stanley was the doorman, and I remember Leonard the wine waiter, who must have been well into his 80s at the time!

    My mother Honor, worked for nanette at bold st, and also for many years, in their london road branch, doing amongst other jobs, as dressing the windows,

    Also did the rounds of clubs and coffee bars in around Bold st ( ah such memories} now living in Cape Town.

  31. 31 Tinny talbot May 27th, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Memories of hills hairstylists in the early sixties, I was apprentice to MIssMCArthy ,also remember MR HIll,MIss Duff,Joseph the wig maker,THelma Patsy Prue on reception. Marion,Gillian,MissGreen, hair stylists many young men,Keith,Norman,Paul,and the famous Herbert,Miss Williams in charge.Happy days.

  32. 32 Ginny TalbotM May 29th, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Memories of Hills Hair Stylists in the 60s. I was Miss Molly McCarthys apprentice ,Mr Hill MissDuff,&MrJoseph the Wig maker all up the big stair case. Misses Gillian,Marion,in the new open salon! Many young men Keith,Paul,Norman,& the now famous Herbert . Mr Mason gent barber,Thelma,Patsy,& Prue on reception, Miss Williams in charge ,hard work,but happy days !!!

  33. 33 sarah davidson Jun 12th, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    I am trying to trace where my auntie bought her fur coat,probably in the 1950’s on Bold Street.The name inside says Kathleen Hawkins Liverpool 1.Can anybody help?Thanks

  34. 34 Alan B Jul 10th, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    I used to frequent the Four Seasons wine bar because it had live music on Friday nights - more often than not it was Cook Da Books. The rest is history…..

  35. 35 Rebekah Aug 23rd, 2013 at 10:35 am

    My Mum is Gilian, who used to work at Hills the Hairdressers. She always says how she wishes I could have seen Liverpool in 50s and 60s when it was so beautiful and exciting.

  36. 36 Ginny TalbotM Aug 27th, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    Rebekah Did your Mum work in the open salon upstairs in Hills?Her junior was Kieth I think. My name then “Miss Virginia” or for a short time Miss Clare!!

  37. 37 Rebekah Aug 28th, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Yes, she worked in the upstairs open section and remembers Keith (and Herbert) she went off to work on Cunard liners after 9 years

  38. 38 Ginny TalbotM Aug 30th, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Rebekah .Good to know your Mum Gilian is O.K.& is the one I remember, I was always in awe of miss Gilian & Marion as they were the top stylists,& very glam!! I have a photo of the Bold St. Staff with Mr.Hill at the staff dance ,Exchange hotel 1959 or 60 not sure!but your Mum is on it.I went to Heswall salon in 1961.

  39. 39 karen larsen Sep 1st, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    My mum and grandad worked there during the fortys and fiftys their names were joan and joseph furlong

  40. 40 Rebekah Sep 7th, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Mum says its good to hear from you both Karen and Ginny - happy days.
    Mum remembers Joan having a blond streak in the front and working in the postiche room with Mr Joseph before starting an apprenticeship. Also remembers Molly McCarthy and Leila McConnery
    Mum still sees Marion, who lives not far

  41. 41 Colin Albin Nov 20th, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Hi there, I am researching the early Sixties coffee bar scene for a book I am writing and I am wondering if anyone out there could kindly offer me brief descriptions of what the Jacaranda and other coffee bars were actually like (I was slightly too young to remember)? I really want to get a feel of the atmosphere - the decor, sounds, smells, etc. What kind of people frequented these places and if there was live music what was it like? What did the groups look like? How did they behave? What was the age range of people who cmae to these places? I’d be particularly interested to hear from anyone who has memories of The Beatles playing in any of these places or in the Cavern.

  42. 42 Neil Foster Dec 10th, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    In reply to Marie O’Toole, I was the tenor sax player in the Delacardoes, the group that were resident at the Cherokee Club that you mentioned. If you want to know more, type in “Rocking With The Delacardoes” which will take you straight to my detailed memories of the time and the place.

  43. 43 Denise Haggerty nee Shaw Dec 12th, 2013 at 12:00 am

    The basement in the El Cabala was the place to be. Very atmospheric with lighting provided by candles in wine bottles.
    We drank Russian tea from glasses in a a fancy metal holder.
    There was always a wonderful smell of fresh coffee.
    I think the background music was often smooth jazz.
    You could sit all night with one glass of Russian tea chatting to other students and then often going off to a party.
    I think many young men would put their car keys on the table in front of them so that we were well aware if they had a car and what type it was, some girls were attracted to young men with certain types of cars, just as they are today.
    It was not unusual to see young men in flash sports cars driving up Bold Street heading for the El Cabala.
    Most of the friends I made in the place were students.
    I feel that the Bold Street of today is so far removed from that exciting sophisticated place it was in the 1960`s.

  44. 44 Stanley Dec 12th, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Who remembers.The Odd Spot club.Which was very in during the sixties.Or the Porthole Club in Concert St.Where part of the entertainment was feeding the,Pirahna fish in the aquarium.Which was built into a wall.Go through to Duke St.For the Pink Parrot and Cabaret clubs.Gerry and the Pacemakers were regulars playing and Ringo Starr and his then wife Maureen were regulars.Sissons was the place to go for coffee etc.This of course was pre El Kabala.

  45. 45 Carol Phillips Dec 30th, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    I used to work at the odd spot in 1974 as a croupier and I would like to hear from Jane vanderwall who was there at the same time. We used to laugh all night every night but looking back now it was the best job I ever had no hassle at all. I’ve had six lives since then taking me all over the world

  46. 46 Peter Harris Mar 15th, 2014 at 8:28 am

    My father Keith and some of his friends,Mick Lesin,Ronnie Sorrel and one other who i can’t remember were owners of the Odd Spot Club,originally it was a beat club,Beatles,Gerry and the pacemakers,Searchers,and many more played there,they then turned it into a casino,and after a while the downstairs was made into a disco called “spot it to me” Does anyone remember this?

  47. 47 vicky Apr 9th, 2014 at 4:47 am

    My mum used to work in nannettes… Joyce fullalove;-)

  48. 48 mary Apr 25th, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    i worked in the odd spot in the early 70s loved it, i worked with toni byrne

  49. 49 Joan Jun 4th, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    I worked at both the El Cabala and the La Cabala in the early 60’s in the evenings and weekends and loved every minute, I usually served downstairs in the Cabala, made some lovely friends, Bill Davies being one of them he worked in Nems during the day, and when I lost my full time job, they gave me a day time job until I found another job. we didn’t earn much but we had some fun. loved every minute. Bold Street was certainly the place to be then, The Odd Spot was almost opposite the Cabala.

  50. 50 Gill Aug 1st, 2014 at 10:31 am

    I attended Machin & Harpers Commercial College in Colquitt Street, during 1957 and 1958. I left with good qualifications in Pitman shorthand and typewriting. My memories are of a very old building and the Art & Catering College opposite. My friend and I used to walk around Coopers tasting the samples which we considered our free lunch. I’ve never met anyone who attended Machin’s.

  51. 51 Chris Mills Sep 30th, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    I went to Machin & Harpers Commercial College in 1964 to 1965, teachers were Miss Mahler and Mr. Machin. It was extremely strict; if anyone arrived a minute past 9am, they were told to go home as they obviously were not serious about their studies and would hold everyone up. It was freezing in winter with no heating to speak of. We used to wear fingerless gloves to combat the cold but Miss Mahler would make us remove them to type. It was such a fantastic college that we didn’t have to go for interviews when we finished our studies (after approx. 8 or 9 months). Instead, potential employers would write to the college to ask for a secretary. You could start work with a company without being interviewed, such was its reputation. The basement had a stone Belfast sink. In July this year (2014) I went to the college which is on a corner with approximately 4 or 5 steps leading up to the door. It is now a bistro of sorts. I would have loved to go down to the cellar and see the place where I first learned to smoke!!! Wonderful days. I am STILL employed as a secretary, at 65 years of age! Nobody does shorthand these days! Some people even ask me what it is when I write my shopping list in shorthand! I used to walk up and down Bold Street every day to get there, and remember MacFisheries, and Jaeger and Medicis. Happy days indeed.

  52. 52 Tony Goudie Oct 14th, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    I was a lad delivering milk for Reece’s in 1963 and Bold Street was one of my favourite streets. As we usually delivered early I would find goods on the pavement from windows broken in the shops the previous evening. Fridays was money collecting day and upstairs in the Furriers and Milliners we would get the money for the milk plus tips. Shops I can remember are Mac Fisheries half way up, Creamers car showroom who had a really big lift, the Kardomah café and Collinsons shoe shop.

  53. 53 debbie wells Nov 20th, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Dear Chris, it is with great interest that I read your blog about Machin and Harper’s Commercial College, I attended there too, and walked up and down Bold Street on a daily basis, I remember they would put you on a 9 to 1 p.m. shift, then we would walk quickly to the Cavern club! The other shift I think was 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oh what great days they were.

  54. 54 Steve Bousfield Dec 1st, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    I was a student at Liverpool University from 1964 to 1967. Bold St always seemed a very classy place. Particular memories are Watson’s car showroom which sold Rolls Royce among other makes. I also saw my first colour TV broadcast on a set that was in the window of a small electrical shop in the street. It was Wimbledon.

  55. 55 james brady Jan 7th, 2015 at 3:17 am

    I got my first job in 1950, as order boy, at the kardomah cafe, bold street I was interviewed by a lovely lady called miss convoy, a liz taylor double.shortly afterwards I lost my farther, in a accident at the docks,
    she`d gave me week off with pay, to attend his funeral. what a lovely
    lady she was, being now 80 year old I often wondered what happended to her. my life took me all over the world. as a engineer.
    jim brady

  56. 56 Simone nee polak Mar 8th, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    I remember going as a young girl with my older sister to the El Cabala on the right going up bold street. The smell of coffee still permeates. I then remember the next younger sister taking me to la bussola also on the right hand side going up Bold street. That was in a basement For very special treats we went to the Rembrandt club. They served great steaks and fish beautifully presented. Crips was smart and elegant with huge glass rounded windows. Then there was hopping which sold beautiful clothes. Later came lucid a buyer. An aspirational clothes shop.
    Regarding the earlier query about the other owner of the oddspot. Could it have been a man called Eric isaacs. (Father of the actor Jason isaacs)
    I think there was a dress designers over hills or near to it and also lotus shoe shop.
    It was a wonderful street and a treat to visit during the early 60’s

  57. 57 Lyn Jones (nee Davies) Mar 11th, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    All these memories of Liverpool in the 60s are brilliant! I worked at the Gas Board offices in Duke Street and we used to have our lunch at El Cabala - downstairs we used to have an ice cream dessert called ‘between the sheets’. Yum. Used to walk down to Pier Head each evening to get the bus rather then join the bus queues and then fall asleep on my way home to Garston - never missed my stop though. Yes - the Odd Spot - spent hours in there putting money in the wall juke box playing the Beatles over & over & over. Saw the Beatles at the Empire - slept overnight in the queue and just got seats with my friend, Joan, right at the back. Couldn’t hear a thing all through the show but I was there! La Bussola, the Jacaranda, the Cavern. What about the Iron Door in Temple Street - saw the Searchers, Rory Storm, Freddie Star (who wasn’t very nice about Rory Storm!) Was at the re-opening of the Cavern, by Harold Wilson, in 1966/7(?). Plenty of champagne flowing. Had our wedding reception in 1966 at Reece’s. Liverpool was the most fantastic place to be in the 60s - what memories to take me into my old age and to tell my daughter & grand-daughter about.

  58. 58 Angela Mar 18th, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Memories of Bold Street in the 60’s - of ‘window shopping’ with the family on a Sunday afternoon. A real blast from the past to read about Cripps, El Cabala and La Bussola. Also remember the Medici Galleries, Ellis Brigham which sold ski-wear and a boitique at the bottom of Bold Street called Lucinda Byre. Happy times!

  59. 59 Anne Griffin Mar 18th, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    I too went to Machin and Harper in Colquit Street circa 1961/62. I remember we had to strip down our typrwriters (Remingtons and Underwoods, from Memory) every Friday and clean and service them, then put them together again. We went for half days and when we finished at lunch time I would often pop into the Odd Spot for a coffee and I sometimes chatted to Brian Patten who was a very nice person.

  60. 60 Chris Mills Mar 31st, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Dear Debbie and Anne (Wells and Griffin), I’d forgotten that bit about having to strip down the typewriters. I remember there was one electric typewriter and it sounded like a tommy gun and terrified us all. Everyone had one chance to use it! I also remember if anyone looked at their typewriter keys as they typed, Miss Mahler would put a black cloth over your hands on the keyboard so you couldn’t see them. She was a wonderful woman with a fantastic memory. When I started there my surname was Bonfet. She said to me “Christine, you have a sister Shirley don’t you? I taught her 8 years ago”. What a memory!! I answered yes, my sister HAD been to Machin’s which is how I became interested in shorthand. Then she said “Your sister was an excellent student. Tell me, where is she working?”, and how proud I was to answer “In the United Nations in Geneva, Miss”. I think SHE felt as proud as I did as she had taught my sister Shirley. Unfortunately my sister died in 1997, but she would love to read all these memories. I used to go to the cavern too after the morning session at Machin’s, and try to look cool. !! On our first day of learning shorthand symbols, we had to write them down and then go home and do “3 hours homework”. We were told that was how long it would take to instil it into our brains! They were right. I still have the receipts from the college, it cost a guinea a month! A lot of money in those days. What wonderful, carefree days they were.

  61. 61 clare Apr 8th, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Loved Bold Street, I used to go to Lucinda Byre at the bottom. I got paid monthly and not many people did in the sixties and I opened up a budget account, my mother said it was a Cheque shop and I tried to explain it wasn’t but she wouldn’t have it any other way. The clothes were really fab however I spent that much in their I was all dressed up and no money to go out with

  62. 62 Debbie wells Apr 12th, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    I remember Miss Mahler at Machin and Harper commercial college but I can’t remember stripping down and servicing the typewriters, perhaps they had given up that practice by the time I attended roughly 1964. Bold Street was such a lovely place to be, and later a superb shop opened called Lucinda Byre where I bought an outfit for my wedding.
    Sobranie cigarettes and Black Russian ones were so ‘in’ and we used to smoke them at El Cabala. A couple of years after I had left the college I worked at Arrowsmith Holidays in Bold street. holidays to Spain and Italy and Lake Garda were very popular. At the bottom of Bold street accross the road there was a music and piano shop called Cranes and the Crane Theatre. We used to go and watch Roger McGough, John Gorman and Mike M’Gear (Paul McCartney’s brother) in the
    scaffold shows. If you walked down Church Street you would find the Kardomah cafe and often see Roger and John in there. Favourite times.

  63. 63 Anne Griffin May 11th, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    I remember sometimes doing my shorthand homework sitting in the coffee bar at the Odd Spot, while making s glass of Pepsi last most of the afternoon in the hope of meeting someone I knew. Happy innocent, carefree days, no money but lots of fun.

    Before going to Machin and Harper my school days were spent at Notre Dame Demonstration School in Maryland Street until circa 1961. I wonder if any of my class mates remember me, my maiden name was Franklin.

    When I started work, the Iron Door was a favourite lunch time haunt.
    And the Cavern, of course. I remember Albi and the Sorrels and the Master Sounds. Further out of town. Does anyone remember Barnabas Hall near Penny Lane? I think, from memory, they had a Hop,there on Friday evenings and Gerry and the Pacemakers performed there.

  64. 64 Sue Aug 2nd, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Can any one remember hair trend Hairdresser and wig boutique or the cabin club at the top of wood street, withe Pete Price

  65. 65 Ken Spencer Sep 10th, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Dear Anna Griffin,

    Just a quick note - I was actually searching for coffe bar names from 1960s Liverpool.

    This morning I was telling my wife about my early days in Liverpool and how the music scene developed from clubs and halls that were not licensed for alcohol, but were licensed for music and dancing. Because they didn’t sell alcohol there was not a strict age limit, and so when I was 13 and 14 I was going to dances in local church halls that started off (as did the Cavern) being mainly trad jazz, with an interlude for a pop group, but eventually the Jazz faded away and they became pop dances. The Saint Barnabus venue was my favourite, and it was always rumoured that the Beatles were going to play, but they never did. However, they did have some great bands who could mimic all the latest pop music. An aspect that is often overlooked was the violent gang culture at the time. There were often fights in the church hall (between Garston and Wavertree, Spud Murphy be in one of the gang leaders), and on one occasion, which I missed but which my friend Dave attended, there was a full scale riot up to Penny Lane, and Dave was thrown through a plate glass window!

    Happy, dangerous times.

  66. 66 Sally Jackson Nov 19th, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Fascinated to read memories of Machin and Harpers Commercial College. My father was Mr Machin…and my mum became Mrs Machin and taught there too. I can remember Miss Mahler..I was very young..I remember she wore a lot of red and had a deep voice and I liked her…she drove a red mini which we borrowed once. My brother and me still have some of the old college shorthand notebooks and an old LC Smith typewriter from the college! Great to know people still remember it!

  67. 67 christine Nov 21st, 2015 at 1:00 am

    we have lots of beetles imitators here in Montreal
    I am originally from Liverpool Everton and Clubmoor. district.

    Like the Beetles more than ever than before.

    Been back to see the tourist sights the Old Dock Cavern Etc.

    Adele was her recording her new album a few weeks ago.

  68. 68 Lynne Hatton Jan 3rd, 2016 at 12:47 am

    My first job when I left school in 1974 was a Window Dresser for Richard Shops (….are filled with all the pretty things ..). I really enjoyed dressing the models and display boards as I was really into fashion. I remember the background music played was not by the original artists, a bit embarassing when Bohemian Rhapsody came on! I have fond memories of Bold Street which was often referred to as ‘the posh end of town’ because of the exclusive shops. I remember the fur shop by Lloyds Bank and Virgin Records where I used to spend many lunchtimes buying albums from artists I’d heard on the John Peel Show and The Old Grey Whistle Test. I used to get lots of compliments about the way I dressed the windows at Richard Shops but unfortunately I never got around to taking any photographs, but it would be lovely to see the shop again. It’s such a shame how this once prestigious street has become so commercialised and has lost its charm. I think the Halifax took over the lease and expanded, so the staff were transferred to other stores which was a very sad day for us. It would be great to hear from anyone who remembers RS. Lynne

  69. 69 Linda sharpe Jan 13th, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    Anyone remember England,shoe shop,on bold st l worked there in the 60,s would love to know what the shop is now.

  70. 70 Gladys Jan 16th, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    My first job was at a solicitors, Forwood Williams & Grindrod in Hackins Hey, near the town Hall. I was sent to Machin & Harpers Commercial college for,half a day for nine months. It was a great place. It’s great to hear others’ memories. I remember being told it was ‘the creme de la creme’ of colleges for learning shorthand and typing. I used to sit next to a girl called Eileen. This was 1955, and there were twins. One was called Val, I think. We used to love walking down Bold Street. I used to go to the Vernon Johnson dancing school which was in Bold Street. The dancing school also had a place in Allerton. Can remember the excitement of going to my first proper dancing school and meeting ‘boys’ and dancing and feeling really sophisticated. Also went to St Barnabas Hall, or Barnies. Bold Street has no atmosphere at all now.

  71. 71 Arthur Drury Feb 13th, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    I worked in Duke Street from 1958 till the eighties for Pagan Smith Advertising, Bold Street was a very sophisticated yet accessible place, Nanettes used Pagan’s for their advertising. In the very early sixties Gerry Marsden was working on the parcels wagons for the railway and would have a chat with us in the basement of Pagans and tell us where he was playing that night, usually Litherland Town Hall, Orrell Park Ballroom, etc. Great days.

  72. 72 Catherine Mar 6th, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    I worked at Neil’s Corner approximately 1978-1980. Some of the girls I worked with were Pam Pickford, Fiona, Lyn, Angela, Rebecca…. Neil, the owner had his brother and sister in law there too. They were such great times, the clothes, shoes and boots were the best in Liverpool at that time. I have lived in California for the last 32yrs. What is in that spot now, where Neil’s Corner used to be?

  73. 73 Rosemary (Armstrong Folco Mar 11th, 2016 at 6:34 pm


    What a great site. I too went to Machin & Harper’s Commercial
    College around 1958. Don’t remember the clean down of the typewriter though. Loved the old building and the half moon windows where we did our typing. Great memories of my friend Margaret O’Reilly who used to go there with me. I see my lovely friend Anne Griffin (Franklin) who was my friend from Leafield Road in Liverpool on the site. Used to walk up and down Bold Street too, there was a lovely ladies shop (name I don’t remember) where I saw a beautiful camel hair coat, I was dying to buy that coat, but unfortunately, my family moved to Canada before I could get it. It is so wonderful to hear the lovely memories of those young innocent days.


  74. 74 John Kirby Mar 11th, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    Hello Chris Mills nee Bonfet. Remember me at the American Express ? I often think about you. You were my only friend in those days and, as happens we lost touch after you got married and I sloped off down south to eventually accept and enjoy being gay. Now a rocky old queen I live with my partner ,Alun in south London. After a stint as a social worker I went to art school in my 30’s . I had a solo show at the Walker Art Gallery a few years ago and I’m sitting in my studio at home writing this. You were the secretary and I was the office junior in those far off days and we’d hang about in Town after work having a laugh and discussing the Great Cosmic Issues of Existence as you do when you are 17 or 18. I hope I wasn’t a bad friend. I was very hung up and angry.
    Well, my dear, I hope you have had a good life. Continue to thrive. You were one of the funniest people I have ever met. Perhaps this message will float away with the breeze but it brings back warm memories of Liverpool long ago. Best wishes John Kirby.

  75. 75 Chris Mils Mar 14th, 2016 at 10:11 am

    John! How many times I have thought about you!! I still have your large drawing pad with those wonderful sketches you did! I actually thought about you as recently as last week! I wondered how you were, I remembered you living in Richmond Road, and going off to Boys Town in Calcutta to save the world. A good friend to me! You were my bestest mate. You came to my wedding and I can see you now, standing up applauding my pathetic attempt at playing the accordion and singing “The Leaving of Liverpool”. My mum made me do it! Johnno I cannot believe I am writing to you. Wonderful, funny Johnno. We’d spend all day laughing. Billy Butler! Harry Longley! Reg Lynam! And what happened to Alan Lee? Actually I saw him on the platform at James St Station about 10 years ago and he turned his head away from me! I was mortified. You sound like you are enjoying being on the planet John boy! so pleased you found your way in life. Frank and I have been married 44 years this year!! He is quite poorly with heart problems but we’re hanging in there. I can’t believe I’m writing this! PLEASE JOHN,GIVE ME YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.! Please keep in touch. You are very special, and always were. My email address has changed John. I work for Arcadis now. Still working at 66 and three quarters! xxxxxxx

  76. 76 John Kirby Mar 15th, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    Hello Chris ! Well well well. So nice to hear from you after all these years.Fancy ! Actually I’m still a miserable old bastard but have , in a curious way grown into my (wrinkled) skin.i’ve just been told off by my partner for not being stricter with the dog, Billy a very naughty chocolate Lab. I’m clutching an Irish whiskey and pretending to be working on a self-portrait in my attic studio. Everyone should have a shed of some sort.
    It was very interesting reading about your secretarial school in Bold St. Almost Dickensian but great training. I remember the Reamington man coming to the office and that some of the secretaries ended up with machine bits they couldn’t reconnect and would tip them into the bin. I was totally useless as a shipping clerk and would look longingly at the very romantic sounding Countries we were importing from, and wonder if I’d ever get further than Birkenhead.i’ve worked and lived in many places over the years but still the AMX remains very vivid. Jean, Joan, Beryl and the remarkable Carole Toal and of course Norma of whom I was very fond but she got hooked up with a rather possessive man so asked me not to contact her again. What happened to dear old Cliffo do you suppose? And Tony ? Ah well.
    I don’t have an e-mail address but I use Alun’s, I was sorry to read about your sister. We talked at your wedding and I saw her in the early 90’s on a ferry at Ostend but we didn’t alas speak. Lots of love to you, Johnno x

  77. 77 John Kirby Mar 15th, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    P.s I’m glad you’re still with Frank. Give him my best wishes. We none of us escape the ravages of time.. I got stuck in hospital for 6 weeks and ended up with a colostomy ( thank you, Jesus). x

  78. 78 Chris Mils Mar 16th, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Johnno, I’ve sent my reply to your (Alun’s) email address. xxxxx Sorry it is so long!

  79. 79 Patricia Johns nee George Mar 18th, 2016 at 12:06 am

    To Marguerite entry 12 January 2013 @ 04.43

    I remember Nannettes in London Road Liverpool. I bought a lovely day dress which I admit was one of the dresses I just loved. it was stripped top, navy and emerald and cost me it was a penny under a pound. I have a photograph wearing it in Jersey holding my young son on the top of Queen Elizabeth Castle? opposite St Hellier and love the photograph.

    I remember my lovely Liverpool shops in the 1950’s when the shoes started being made in different colours and being loaned two different coloured shoes, as I couldn’t make my mind up which one’s to buy. Shoe shop in church Street.

    I loved Liverpool shops in those days, fortunately we have good shops again opening up from 1980’s

    I wasn’t a club person but a friend and I went to a downstairs club 1959/60 it was in Bold Street I think smokey and dark, she disappeared and an older male was taking an interest but he wasn’t very nice,., Then a charming young man in Navy whites came over and apologised for keeping me waiting he must have seen the fear in my face. He very kindly walked me to London Road to get my bus. He did ask me out but I had a boy friend but I often think of him for saving me. I am laughing at the moment these memories.

  80. 80 Rona May 5th, 2016 at 4:46 am

    Reading the messages on this site has brought back many happy memories, particularly those recalling El Cabala. However, it has also caused some disagreement concerning the location of the till and coffee machine!! As many of your messages mention visiting or working at El Cabala I hope you may be able to settle our little dispute. As you ENTERED, was the till/coffee machine on the left or the right hand side? Trivial I know but…

  81. 81 Hilary Jun 27th, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    I attended Machin & Harpers 1959/60, after 10 months I decided to find myself a job, 2 interviews and 2 job offers. Miss Mahler wasn’t too impressed as I had only been there 10 months, the usual course was 12 months! Went to Hill’s hairdressers a few times, I had long hair which they used to put up for me using hundreds of hair pins, when you ran they used to fall out!

  82. 82 Paulette Bernstein Oct 13th, 2016 at 10:25 am

    My dads uncles Michael and Ike Lesson, had the Odd Spot and the EL Cabala My dad Jeff worked at the Odd Spot for a while early 60s Michael also had The Griddal Bar where st Johns market is now

  83. 83 Deni Newman Oct 30th, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Does anyone remember the Shelagh Elliot Clarke Dance School at the bottom of Bold Street? Any fond memories of traipsing up loads of stairs before a gruelling day in the studios? There was a shoe shop nearly opposite that also sold ballet shoes. I wonder if anyone remembers the name of the shop or the name of the owner?

    I loved Bold Street - it was full of interesting locales, classy and sassy! When the Dance School moved to the Crane Building I still used to go up and down Bold Street to window shop. Great and fond memories!

  84. 84 Mary Nov 27th, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    I too used to love Bold Street. Looking in shops windows with my mother when I was a child. In the 60’s spending time in El Cabala and La Cabala - making one glass of Russian tea last all evening. In reply to Rona’s qustion, the till was on the right.
    I always had my hair done at, I think the name was, Michael Andrea’s and my brother Bill, a well known Liverpool photographer, Peter Kaye, had one of his studios on the right hand side coming down from St Lukes. He photographed The Beatles and all the Liverpool stars of that era.

  85. 85 Dave Jan 6th, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    I stumbled on this site by accident and it brought back fond memories of the 50s and 60s. I worked at the Pink Parrot in the evenings as a croupier and at Littlewoods in old Hall street in the day. Earlier at Morris and Jones in Wood street the wholesale food firm. The Jacaranda from memory was in Slater street and would have never passed any health and safety regulations but what fun. I can’t remember the names of the other clubs in the vicinity where we would go when the Parrot was not open on a Sunday. But all happy memories.

  86. 86 Tony Apr 24th, 2017 at 4:17 pm


    I delivered milk to the dance school in 1963. I always thought the building reminded me of the American private eye offices. Was the shoe shop Colinsons? One year they had shoes in the window made as the Union Jack.

  87. 87 Peter Mayne May 9th, 2017 at 11:20 am

    I was with Arrowsmith Holidays for several years in the 60@s and to work in Bold Street was then the equivalent of London’s ‘ elite ‘ what a wonderful place with all the top name retailers.

    I still visit Bold Street ‘ bit of history ‘ wonderful memories.

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