The reggae sound system scene back in the day

The reggae sound system scene in Huddersfield started in the 1960s with dances held in people’s homes, often in the cellar, front or back room, before moving into bigger venues. The earliest nightclubs included Arawak and Sparrow Park and as the scene flourished new venues opened their doors including the Sun Inn, Marillo (later known as The Rising Sun), Black Star, The International and community halls including Teapot Chapel, Brackenhall Community Centre, Fartown Village Hall, Deighton Youth Club, Lockwood Youth Club and Birkby Civic Youth Club (later known as Hudawi Centre) began to be used for sound system dances. However, the most important venue in Huddersfield was known as Venn Street.

Location:

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the d1ay

King Street, Huddersfield HD1 2QT, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Upper Brow Road, Huddersfield HD1 4UF, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Huddersfield HD1 2JN, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Market Street, Huddersfield HD1 4SH, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Chapel Hill, Huddersfield HD1 2RR, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Halifax Old Road, Huddersfield HD2 2RP, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Halifax Old Road, Huddersfield HD2 2RP, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Norfolk Avenue, Huddersfield HD2 1GS, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Ball Royd Road, Huddersfield HD2 1AN, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Huddersfield HD2 1JP, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Mount Street, Huddersfield HD1 3QP, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

William Street, Huddersfield HD1 6BG, UK

Description:

Venn Street is the name of a road in central Huddersfield where a large club, which became synonymous with reggae music in the north of England, was situated. Formerly the Empress Ballroom, the venue became the West Indian Social Club in 1967, before relaunching as Cleopatra’s in the 1970s and then Silver Sands in 1984. However, despite these various names it was always known to the West Indian community simply as Venn Street and when the building was demolished in 1992 to make way for a car park, it was a major loss.

The town has played an important role in the history of UK sound system culture. In fact, in relation to its size, Huddersfield’s contribution to the UK’s sound system heritage is quite phenomenal. At one time, the town had over thirty sound systems.

‘It was one big family in Venn Street especially with the Huddersfield crowd. Most people who came from out of town will tell you that Venn Street always made them feel welcome or I should say, the Huddersfield people always made them feel welcome,’ says Dee Bo General – Armagideon Sound System.

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