Personal Stories

Every one likes a good story,they also like to read about other people.Here are some real life stories of teddy boys & girls.

Ron‘Sunglasses’ Ron Staples

Originally from Newport, Wales,  ‘Sunglasses’ Ron Staples moved down to London in the early 70’s. He was first  seen by London Teds as a hippy wearing a kaftans in The Black Raven in Liverpool  Street. The locals were unconvinced of Ron’s claims to have been a Ted in the  50’s until he re-appeared at the club weeks later in the full Teddy Boy attire  for which he was later known – black drape, shirt & drainpipes – complete  with sunglasses. Ron was known as a very friendly man who was softly-spoken  and would help anyone out if he could, he could also be a bit of a con man – but  everyone liked him. He was 6ft tall with a huge grin, a rich chuckle and a great  sense of humour. On first meeting him you would no be blamed for feeling a  little in awe of him, I must admit the first time I saw him I was a little  nervous, I was still a teenager and he looked very large and scary from my 5ft  perspective. Ron done a lot for Rock ‘n’ Roll, including marching in Downing  Street campaigning for Radio One to include a Rock ‘n’ Roll slot on the radio.  By 1976 Ron was regarded as the self appointed king of the Teds in the UK. In  the States they called him ‘President of the Confederate States of America in  exile. An archivist, administrator, rebel and veteran of the first post-war  teenage cult. A quote says ‘He was the only Ted I know who had an Equity card  and needed it, because he appeared in the films Buddy and That’ll be the Day’,  he was even given a mention in the Christmas episode of Only Fools and Horses. ‘Sunglasses’ Ron was laid to rest on the 22nd of May 1997, following his  death ten days previous after a long battle against cancer, at the tender age of  53. Ron’s last words were taped  and played over the speakers at the church “Tell them how much I love them and  tell them it better be a bloody good piss up”. And it was, Ron well and truly  had his last wish come true. Ron, everyone was sad to see you go but they  all know you’ll keep on rocking in the after life with the likes of Eddie, Elvis,  Buddy and the rest.

27431a_501da8176634620a512044034d56679a_jpg_srz_127_140_75_22_0_50_1_20_0Peter ‘Spot’ Lambert

I was born in Ladywood Birmingham in 1943, 1 first got interested in being a teddy boy in 1955 when I noticed two teds making a nuisance of themselves on our street corner, Shortly after in 1956 there was a hour long play on tv called teddy gang and I was really thrilled by it and the lifestyle that these people were leading. I left school in 1958 wearing my first drape suit which was powder blue with roll collars and flap pockets, (smashing the school windows on the way out). I hung around with all my mates in the evening outside the Birmingham Ice rink side doorway listening to the rock n roll music that was coming from inside the building and also getting into a few bad bits as well. I have lived in a few places over the years one of them being Bradford in west Yorkshire were the Ted scene was really big in the seventies and I made some good friends going out to rock n roll gigs, and the other being London where nothing surprises me at all. I now live the quiet life (well sort of) in the Kent area with my wife enjoying my retirement,  still wear my drape suits not quite so loud though and Now and again pop back to Birmingham to see a few of whats left of the gang and go for some rock n roll and a few beers and a chat about old times……memories..great memories.

!cid_D96F43F87C4A4934B1188C70BC3E3212@philscomputerPhil Windel (Little Phil)

A NORWICH TED of the 70’s
Long before I was a Norwich Ted, you could say I was literally born a Ted, because I was born in 1953, and although growing up I travelled around a lot as my father was in the RAF,I grew up to the sound of rock and roll. In 1966 we moved to York, and it was there in 1968, I started work and saved the dinner money my parents allowed me from my wages to buy my first drape suit.

I felt as proud as a peacock, when I first put it on and walked into our house with it on; My father nearly chocked to death on the meal he was eating, and my mother did a disappearing act into the other room. After one hell of a row, about him being in the RAF and certain standards had to be met by all the family because of his position. I was ordered never to come or go into the house with it on again. So I took it round a mates and got changed there when we went out on the town. I didn’t have any mates that were Teds at the time, so I didn’t know of any hangouts that I could go to but still wore my drape at every opportunity.

It was shortly after we moved from York, to Northalerton and then in 1970 to a town near Norwich. Bought my next drape two piece made to measure from Burtons. I walked around my town like a king, and to my knowledge was the only Ted there, which was very brave as it was a skinhead town, but they realised I wasn’t a threat so they stopped at just taking piss. Then one day to my amazement I saw another Ted standing outside a bank, and I introduced myself. After that my Teddyboy years really started, because he knew of this place called The Mischief Tavern in Norwich where the teds hung out and he took me there.

The Landlord Mac, had given us full use of the Cellar with our own Bar and record decks. Every weekend it was packed unless we went to a hop on the east coast,we were very well situated for all the big ones at Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Cromer and the Sheringhams. We were loosely part of the East Coast Teds, as we often visited each other. We also had friends down Southend and London. We had the same fights as others of the same period, with more than a few of either side getting chucked over the Bridge into the river. I was known as Little Phil and by a chain I wore which was christened Big Bertha. I loved to jive and jitterbug, and loved my life then. But things for me changed when the pub closed down in 1976. But I am still a Ted today. And will be till I die.

382970_10150475720639351_1936615058_n Ray Flight (Rockolaray)


 

Here’s my Black Raven ramblings explaining how I found out about it too. Hope it’s useful to you.   It was a Sunday. It was hot and I was up bright and early to get on the underground train at Westbourne Park to go to Liverpool Street station. A pleasant, non-eventful journey at that time of the morning and at last I was at my destination. It was market day and this was reflected by the amount of people, bustling about….but most of them heading down Middlesex Street (aka Petticoat Lane) to the stalls. I was swept along in the sea of bodies ‘down the lane’ and on arriving at Wentworth Street which lay at right angles, I turned left and mooched along there. This eventually leads to Brick Lane where the second-hand goods, more often than not, were laid out on sheets on bombsites. Whilst rooting around I came across a stall selling records so obviously I was in there like a shot! I happened to be wearing my leather jacket and on the sleeve I had painted the names of several Rock’n’Roll singers. The stall holder noticed this and asked me if I liked Rock’n’Roll. Silly question!!! I answered yes, and from under the stall he pulled out a London 45rpm of Jack Scott singing “Leroy”. Now at the time I had never heard the song although I had been told about Jack Scott by an ex original Ted at work and how he and his girl used to dance to “My True Love” by the cafe jukebox. The stall holder told me that it was a brilliant record and that I was sure to be knocked out by it……and he wantedhalf-a-crown for it! In them days 2/6d was an expensive price for a second-hand record….but something in me believed him and so I handed over the money….and he wasn’t wrong as I later found out on playing it.  And then he told me that there was this pub near Liverpool Street station that had a jukebox with a handful of Rock’n’Roll records on it, and that there were a few Teds that went in there on a Friday night, and why didn’t I go and give it a try……so I did! The very next friday, all draped up, I went there. I was a bit nervous as I expected the place to go quiet when I entered (like the cowboy films when a stranger enters the Saloon and the piano player stops and everyone stares at him!) but to my great relief it was nothing like a cowboy Saloon!!!! The place was a bit on the thin side for customers BUT there were a few young Teds there having a pint and diggin’ the sounds from the jukebox. I ordered a pint of Whitbread Forest Brown and took it all in. How cool was THIS…..finding a pub with a jukebox that had some Rock’n’Roll records on it (remember, this was BEFORE the so-called Rock’n’Roll revival!) AND seeing some other Teds!!! Before long I got into conversation with the others….Bob, 2 Micks, Vic and Pete stick in my memory. They told me that the landlord was a lover of Rock’n’Roll and was a HUGE fan of Jerry Lee Lewis and had put the records on the jukebox for his own pleasure. Little did he imagine that within a few years, this little quiet pub, the Black Raven, would not only be famous nationwide…..but worldwide!! Us lot – the ‘little band of brothers’ started to come on other nights too, and we bought along some of our other Ted mates to show them ‘our’ little secret Rock’n’Roll haven. Another thing that happened there was you’d get an ordinary punter pop in for a pint on his way home from work etc. and they would be absolutely gobsmacked to still see Teddy Boys in a pub nearly 10 years after they had ‘died out’. Some of these punters would then tell us how they too used to wear a drape in the 1950’s and they would be SO happy to see Teds once more and hear again Gene, Eddie, Elvis and Jerry Lee that they would become regular customers. Of course the landlord, Bob Acland, was bloody ecstatic! More and more customers…..more and more money going over the bar…..coz we didn’t go in there for just a couple of shandy’s! As more people went in there, so we brought along more records for Bob to put in his jukebox, and it wasn’t very long before the whole jukebox was crammed with 1950’s Rock’n’Roll….not a Beatles or Rolling Stone in sight, hahaha! From a little acorn grew a mighty Oak. Word somehow spread to other parts of Britain, and the pub was visited by groups from all over. One week it was Birmingham, another week it was Newcastle, even had Scottish Teds wearing kilts…..and you daren’t take the mick out of THOSE boys! The amazing thing was that, unlike the 1950’s Teds, we all mixed together – wherever we were from, so knocked out that there were still other Teds around. We were all TRULY brothers, whatever accent we might have and whatever the colour and style of our drapes. Writing this, remembering those magical times and the mates who are sadly no longer with us makes me so PROUD, so PRIVILEGED, so LUCKY to think that I was one of the few who perhaps were responsible for helping to ‘spread the word’ and swelling the Teddy Boy ranks.

MICKPARTRIGE. Mick Partridge

I was born in Rochester, Kent, on 5 / 6 / 51. I’m the fourth eldest,of six, I grew up with rock n roll, my two sisters, were quite a few years older tha me, they played all the latest records, my older brother, was with a band, called, Lee Harmer an the Cherquitoes, so music was always playing. I got my frist drape jacket, off my brother in law, it was a very pale blue. the first drape I had made in about 68 /69. it was dark red, I paid for it in guineses, at Featherstones in Catham Kent. I and my mates, all use to meet in the Prince of Wales public house, were I use to do the, rock n roll discos, we used to vist other pubs, an gigs, like the Black Raven, the Fishmongers and the rms, Longbar in Southend. I all so worked on the fair, in Devon and Cornwall in 1971.I did all the things, most do, get married, kids, divorced, and yes im still drinking in the Prince of Wales with friends, from 40 plus, years ago, an new ones ,so still rockin.

 1472387_473464156107343_1816271461_n ‘Teddy Boy Paul’ Keenaghan

When I was a kid in the 70s at school,the teacher once asked us what youth cult we would like to follow.The kids mostly said what their older brothers were into.I was the elder brother: Mods,Punks,Skinheads,ect.Then one said “I’m Gonna Be A TED!” Yeah! I thought…so am I !!!!  I loved Elvis as a kid (& he still is my favourite).But drifted off into other things growing up.Then a mate of mine when I was 12 liked Elvis but was not ‘Rockin’ re-introduced me.But this time I was full-on.When I was 13 me & my younger brother Mike got a tub of brylcreem and used the whole tub in 1 hit to grease up our hair!!!! We were ‘Rockin’ but too young to go ‘Rockin’. When I first dicovered the ‘Rockin’ scene in the late 80s at 17 in Camden Town,London.The Rockabilly scene seemed to have taken over.There was little left of the Ted scene (in London where I’m from anyway).So I naturally was part of the Rockabilly scene at the start,but always felt a little out of place…I think the Ted was always in me waiting to come out.  I missed the worst of the troubles between the cults in the 70s & early 80s.But there were still some troubles between them when I was first on the scene.There were a few clashes along the way.But this faded out through the years in the London area anyway.Still in one peice (plus a few scars maybe Ha Ha!).  I have no problem with Rockabillys.They follow the American style we follow the British style.Our origins both pre-date Rock n Roll and we’re more or less ultimately into the same thing and are all ‘Rockin’ brothers & sisters.  Some of us started going to both Rockabilly & Ted joints like Hackney Hospital,Hackney & The Three Crowns,Edmonton.I liked going to the Ted joints,but I didn’t like the 70s style drapes they were still wearing.I found myself getting more and more facinated in finding out exactly how the 50s Teds dressed because I couldn’t believe anyone in the 1950s could wear such ‘loud’ drapes as I seen around at the time.  My style had drifted into the American biker & onto British Rocker 1989/90. I made it my business to find out what the original 50s ‘Ted look’ was all about.I liked what I heard.I thought yeah,this is really ‘me’! So as soon as I could afford it in 1991 I got my first drape from Jack Geach (RIP) in Harrow.  I purposely got jet black with no velvet drape.To throw all the idiots in the street who thought all Teds were into Shawaddywaddy and silly looking drapes.  As London ‘Rockin’ clubs were (and still are) mostly Rockabilly,I would still be mostly seen at them.The Rockabillys called me ‘Teddy Boy Paul’ (shortened later to TBP by the Skinheads) because I was often the only Ted at their clubs.I never minded and found it quite endearing.  There were a few Teds I knew at the time that were like me (interested in the original 50s look): My brother Mike,Russian Danny,Big Beat Kris,Chalky,Tony.But there seemed to be nowhere to go.We seemed to be on our own.  But then in 1992 we heard about a venue in Clerkenwell,London EC1 that was going to be organised by something called T.E.D.S. (The Edwardian Drape Society) by the 2 lovely Rockin sisters Susie Prince & Dixie Hodges.We also heard,that you must dress in only original 50s Ted attire to gain entry and be a member.  Me & my mate Russian Danny thought this sounded great,so we went along in November 1992 & were welcomed with open arms by Susie & Dixie.Apparently we were the first one’s in Susie told me recently.  I guess there were around 20 of us in T.E.D.S. at this time.Richard Thomson was the DJ at these ‘early’ meetings.  It was still very exclusive at this time. Dave Begent used to organise ‘Port & Cigar’ nights for T.E.D.S. These were for the Teddy Boys only.The Teddy Girls were not allowed at these West End of London pub crawls.(We thought they’d soften our ‘tough’ image when we invaded these ‘non-Rockin’ pubs).We’d meet them later at the normal T.E.D.S. meets.  T.E.D.S. was such a success I think it was outgrowing itself and becoming too to ‘insular’ to achieve it’s real goal of changing the image of Teds back to it’s original very stylish,generally forgotten look of the 50s.  That’s when very prominent member Ritchie Gee was given the reigns as President of T.E.D.S. & in 1993 opened his (now legendary) ‘Tennessee Club’ at The White Hart in White Hart Lane,Tottenham,North London.  This was the new home of T.E.D.S. & although nearly all the Teds in there dress in original 1950s style it was not restricted to members only.In one way,the end of an era.But in another way,the start of an era.As Ritchie’s club caught the media’s attention and so really spread the word of the ‘new’ old 50s style that most Teds now wear as standard.  Many T.E.D.S. members (including myself) have been in magazines,TV appearances,ect related to The Tennessee Club.   There was a short movie (4 mins) made by Bruce Webber in 1996 at The Tennessee Club ‘The Teddy Boys of The Edwardian Drape Society’.  In the mid 90s it moved to The Kings Stables in Wood Green and later to Oakwood.Closing in 2001.  Ritchie became the manager of Bill Haley’s Comets and concentrates on his brilliant Ted weekenders ‘Wildest Cats In Town’ where T.E.D.S. lives on.          WE ARE THE T.E.D.S.!!!!! LONG LIVE THE TEDS!!!!!

 

 Jay ‘Rev’ Slow.

All though I had never even seen a Ted, I thought they were so much cooler than Skins or Hippies. but thought they were extinct! I thought Ringo Star in ” That’ll be the day” looked brilliant. Anyway, I left school aged 17 in 1975, and I rode past a Tailors everyday. They had a drape jacket always in the window. Ellaneff they were known as, Neville Felstien was the tailor for Showaddywaddy – we lived in Leicester- So after a fortnight of riding past, I went in for a look, just to ask… and came out having ordered a Drape jacket, which matched Ringo Starr’s in the film. It cost £60.00 a fortune to me, I only earned £68 a month! I couldn’t afford the trousers at the time, that was an extra£15! Having got the gear, ( I had already owned some great creepers for ages) I got my haircut, but had no where to go! Shakin’ Stevens and the Sunsets were playing at the Uni, so I went along, with a biker mate, and in the corner amongst all the long haired students, were 2 older Teds, Mick O’Grady and “Elvis” Mick Heywood, both their wives were called Val. It looked like the only safe place to be! They welcomed me and invited me to the Rock n Roll Club they had just started. From then on I went every week, and made friendships that have ;lasted to this day. We had a Ted Pub called The Bakers Arms, and the 1st time I walked in there, it was like stepping back in time, with all these old Teds ( who must have been all of 34!) By May 1976 I was 100% dedicated, and went on the coach trip with them to the Rock n Roll March in London, I found myself walking behind Screamin Lord Such!The Pickets Lock gig afterwards was a revelation, 100s and 100s of Teds, Cavan, Saucers and Graham Fenton with the Hellraisers. In September that year I became an Art Student and was the only Ted in the place. Loved it! Motorbikes became equally important so I was always in the Rocker scene too. Nothing has changed, my ambition aged 16 was to be a Ted and have a bike. Still doing it!

 

 

 
 

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Last modified on August 1, 2017

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