THERE was a time in the county, from the mid Sixties through to the Seventies, when revellers were spoiled for live music venues, writes Marsha O’Mahony.

Famously, the 1963 appearance of the Rolling Stones at the Hillside Ballroom on Ross Road, Hereford, also known as the Redhill Hostel, has become part of local legend.

Slightly further afield Park Hall in Wormelow, while a rather smarter venue, attracted people from miles around for live music and dancing.

Among the jazz lovers would have been Derek Evans, a jazz fan par excellence. With his friend and former Hereford Times artist, Peter Manders, Derek would follow the jazz trail from Brecon to Hereford, Birmingham (Ronnie Scott's), and down to the South of France, photographing some of the jazz greats seen in these photos.

But who among you remembers the jazz club at the Racecourse pub in Widemarsh Street? Elsewhere may have been all counter culture, tuning in and dropping out and wearing flowers in your hair, but in the late Fifties to mid Sixties this club was the place to be.

Founder of the club, with her future husband, Ed, was Lady Jan Falkiner, then a fresh-faced and confident young woman of just 17.

When Catcher Media caught up with Lady Jan to interview her for their Herefordshire Life Through a Lens project, she remembered “The club took over the skittle alley of the pub and we had live music every week.

"It was very loud, very crowded and extremely smoky. I was in the cloakroom, taking jackets and coats. If you were anyone in Hereford, then you would be seen at the club. Everyone would dress up – it was a glamorous place to be.”

The Perdido Street Jazzmen played every week at the Racehorse pub jazz club in Widemarsh Street. But the line-up could vary as any musician could come along and sit in, including some well-known local names.

Terry Court, better know for his prowess as an auctioneer, would often step up to the drums for the odd set.

And Peter Hill, former chairman of Hereford United, was also known to lead from the front and sing.

George Cooper of the Hat Band was a local Hereford vet, the name so chosen because they wore and changed hats to suit the mood of each song.

Another was Geoff Nuttall of the Easy Rider Jazz Band. A lecturer at Hereford Art College, he was later pipped for the post of Poet Laureate by Ted Hughes.

It wasn’t liked by everyone, however. A review by Felix Watkins of the Hereford Times described it as thus: "It is like a hydrogen bomb going off."

  • For a closer look at this wonderful archive of photos check out the digitised collection on or see the Herefordshire Life Through a Lens film ‘Carousel’ at the Courtyard Centre of The Arts on Thursday, May 16, at 2.30pm and the Fownhope Memorial Hall, on Friday, May 17 at 7.30pm. . The project is working with Herefordshire Councils Archives and Libraries and a team of local volunteers. It is funded by National Lottery players through the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Project volunteers have been working alongside a dedicated team of professionals from Catcher Media and the Archives to digitise the photos, which form the backbone of the film.