West Runton Pavilion & Cromer Links

North Norfolk's Legendary Live Music Venues of the 1960s, 70s & 80s


Most of the content added to this page prior to February 2013 has been removed and included, where possible, in the updated book 'WHAT FLO SAID NEXT'.  If you have a story about the venues which is not featured in the book, please e-mail it to julie@whatflosaid.co.uk for inclusion on this page.  Please check out the comments in the Guestbook for further memories.



Joe emailed me as follows:

I played drums professionally for many years and during the 1970's I played the West Runton Pavilion many times.

My very good friend Stan Jennings (keyboards) and I played together for many years with The Roy Reymo Band based in Norwich during the 1970's-1980's and Stan is in your book in the dance band section of which I have a copy.
I  was asked to take part in a documentary along with Peter Jay drummer with 1960's band Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers for the BBC called SEASIDE ROCK about the Great Yarmouth music scene of the 1960's.  This has been aired on BBC East and was also shown at the Great Yarmouth film festival last year and this year was shown at the Time and Tide museum in Great Yarmouth throughout the summer  as part of the Halfway To Paradise exhibition.

I have enclosed a review of the documentary by Derek James of the Let's Talk magazine of which I hope you will put on your What Flo Said website for people interested in music.

 Here is the review Joe sent me:


Lets Talk Magazine, Post on 26th August, 2015

It was only the big names who hit the headlines. From the Shadows to the Beatles, but now a new documentary film turns the spotlight on the East Coast rockers. Derek James reports.

Almost every place of any size across Norfolk and Suffolk had at least one. They shared the stage with many musicians who went on to be the best in the world. . . and what great times they had. So did we. The fans who jived and twisted to the exciting sounds of the ‘60s.

While we handed over our money, usually about five bob, to see the likes of Gerry & The Pacemakers, the Shadows and even the Beatles, there were usually “local boys” who got the crowd warmed up. They were the groups formed by lads from all backgrounds, not just in Norwich or Ipswich, but in towns and villages across our region. There were dozens of them and they gave us so much pleasure.

In fact, some were just as good as the headliners but they came from an unfashionable part of the country and didn’t have the luck. And it often came down to luck – getting the right break at the right time and getting one big hit that all groups needed.

One did. Peter Jay & The Jaywalkers, formed at Norwich City College, had a top twenty hit with Can Can 62. Today the much-loved Peter is “Mr Yarmouth”, running the wonderful Hippodrome Circus, and he is one of those featured in a charming short documentary called Seaside Rock.

It is a little beauty, mixing old footage with new, taking a look at the music scene in Great Yarmouth during the swinging ‘60s and chatting to members of local bands – the likes of Charlie Marsden, David McDermott, Peter Pease, Bron Parker, John George and members of a new band, Destination Mars.

Along with The Jaywalkers there were several other good rock bands in Yarmouth – the Strangers, the Ramblers, the Mi££ionaires, the E-Types and others. Don’t you love those names!

Being in a big holiday destination they had the opportunity of playing with the biggest bands and artists in the land.

One of the music makers starring in the film is Joseph Harlow, who was born in Yarmouth 60 years ago. He loved playing the drums as a boy and was taken on by Trevor Copeman – remember that great band leader?

He was resident at the Tower Ballroom. A talented musician. He was also at the Samson in Norwich and most of the other venues across East Anglia. Joe then went to London where he studied under renowned drum teacher George Fierstone and Martin Drew. He played with many famous names and also worked with top Norwich jazz pianist the late great Mike Capocci. Another rare talent and a lovely man.

“Over the years I had the pleasure of playing with some wonderful musicians and backed many well known names,” said Joe. From Ronnie Carroll to The Drifters, Joe beat the drum for the best.

That is what comes over in this film. The pure joy and fun these Yarmouth musicians got from entertaining locals and visitors alike at venues such as The Tower, the Garbaldi, Goodes Hotel, the Floral Hall, (Ocean Rooms), on the piers, the holiday camps, the clubs and pubs.


Seaside Rock was created and made by students on a film making course led by course leader Brian Gardner, run by the Workers Educational Association and supported by BBC Voices and the Time and Tide Museum at Yarmouth. All those involved are to be congratulated on at last making some of the original East Coast rockers film stars. See it for yourself by clicking the link below:


 Thanks Joe, great stuff! 



 I was the guitarist with the funk band Rokotto in the 70s, and we played the West Runton Pavillion a few times .It was one of our most favourite gigs in the whole country, and it saddened me greatly to recently learn that it was gone. My memories of it are that the people were just so enthusiastic and so warm and friendly, it was always a privilege to play there . The last time we played there was when we did a double header with Heatwave when Rod Temperton was still in the band (RIP), he later left the band to concentrate on his song writing (later to write songs for Michael Jackson "ie" Off the Wall and Thriller and many other artists including George Benson). But the Pavillion on that particular night was electric and packed to the walls, when we went on the noise of approval was deafening and the excitement was tangible. We had similar nights in other places but my fondness for the West Runton Pavillion still lives on, I will never forget that place or the people.



Thanks, Alastair, for sending me this link to a great photo and review from the Punk era at Runton: 


Syd Shelton has published a book on the subject too.  Please click here for Amazon link.



I experienced many great gigs at these wonderful venues back in the day (talking early to mid-70s when I still lived 'at home'.) Wonderful to find this website.  Yay!  Bookmarked. 



I played at West Runton Pavilion with John Dankworth at some point in, I think, the 70s. It was one gig on a tour of concerts and was an unusual gig in as much as it ended up unexpectedly somehow as a dance gig rather than a concert. The music we played was music intended for concert performance but that didn’t seem in any way to deter attendees, some of who even attempted to dance to music in 11 beats! One incident I can remember there was that of a woman with a teenage boy who turned up at our short rehearsal/soundcheck asking to speak to a certain member of the band who didn’t appear to recognise her. “I would like you to meet your son”, she said! We all stayed the night at the Links Hotel but I had seriously bad flu at the time.

As well as playing at the West Runton Pavilion, I also played with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers on Cromer Pier in 1968 and in 1969/70 I also played with the Keef Hartley Band at another club like venue in or around Cromer. Could that have been the Pavilion?  



I've been contacted by Roger Smith, drummer in a 1970's punk oriented rock band from Birmingham called The Scuttlers.  The line-up is completed by Steve Ebdon (guitar and backing vocals) and Neale Richardson (bass and vocals).  They have been together for two years and are influenced by The Sonics, Link Wray and The Ramones.  Apparently, they are so fascinated by the Runton story that Neale wrote a song called 'Viillage of Noise' as a tribute, which they recorded last year, depicting a quaint Norfolk seaside village descended upon by loutish punk rockers!  Take a listen:  
http://westruntonpavilion.webs.com/Village of Noise, The Scuttlers.mp3
You can also view a clip of one of their gigs at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE8z2RbZO70

My email is prompted by the recent EDP article "Did you see Queen at Links Pavilion"....well, indeed I did ! What is so annoying though is that 40 years on my recollection of any of the detail of the gig is almost non-existent! However, if I may just indulge myself for a bit I thought I would share what I can remember....

So, I was 17 and living in Norwich. A few mates went. I got there through my sadly departed friend Nick Allen who had a motor bike with a side car.... I was lucky enough to get the side car! We parked in Carrington Avenue, just around the corner from where I lived as a boy in Cromer until the age of 8 (the bungalow Lumlow on Station Road, now renamed St. Anthony, literally "over the road". I do have memories as a 5/6 year old going over to the Links on a Sunday with my dad to get a block of Neapolitan ice cream for pudding after the Sunday roast. I remember climbing the steep stairs and then what seemed like a massive walk across the 'dance floor' to the corner where the fridge was. How small in reality it was I found out much later !). Any way back to Queen, on this occasion we were upstairs on the small balcony pretty much level with the stage. I can recall nothing of the gig itself (failing memory!) viz. set list, what they wore, how Freddie/Brian performed etc other than knowing they did Seven Seas of Rhye and possibly Keep Yourself Alive and Liar. Bizarrely I remember the name of the support band Nutz ! So, very happy days and I just wished I had more recall of the details.
Other bands/gigs I went to at Cromer Links included Thin Lizzy, Curved Air (actually got there early and helped roadie the gear in for the band, up those blessed stairs...heavy, but got to meet Sonja Kristina!!), Sex Pistols ( Sid Vicious came down onto the floor of the Links, stood next to me and demanded that a bloke wearing a kipper tie with a naked lady printed on it gave him the tie. "I want that f***ing tie" were his exact words and indeed he got it !!). I'm sure there were other gigs I went to but have sadly forgotten.
A couple of West Runton gigs I went to were The Jam and bizarrely the week after I think Manfred Mann's Earth Band....talk about a complete contrast !! Supporting band for Jam were The Boys I think ? 



My parents were regulars at both venues.  My mum, Linda Heslin nee Frosdick, worked at the Links and was dancing on top of the bar on July 27th 1972, the day before my sister was born!



I cried when the links burned down. I wish our kids had something like that today. Sadly they don't. I will never ever forget those days and I'm 74 now.


Fantastic memories!  I kept a list of everyone I saw for many years, I still have it somewhere so at some point I can check in detail.

I do remember seeing The Damned there once and The Anti-nowhere League were one of the bands supporting them at West Runton.  Memorable at least for a stark naked Captain Sensible standing on the stack and waving his bits at them!



Steve Andrews has sent me the introduction to the BOC gig, the announcer beginning 'Citizens of West Runton...'  Click on one of the links below to listen:

http://www.freewebs.com/westruntonpavilion/BOC Intro.mp3

BOC Intro

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Twelve houses on the site of the Links Pavilion, Overstrand Road, Cromer

Flats on the site of West Runton Pavilion


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