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Former DJ seeks help finding info on old Shropshire nightspot

By Toby Neal | Features | Published:

For decades the Nautical William at Alveley was a nightspot which attracted revellers from far and wide.

The building in 1987 shortly before the Nautical William nightspot was finally sunk.

And now a former DJ who played there is seeking our readers' help as he seeks to compile a four-part history of the long-disappeared venue.

"I have 'Brian's Blog' on Facebook which features nightclubs, discotheques, music venues, and so on, and soon I will be featuring The Nautical William," said Brian Davies, of Kinver.

The site on the Bridgnorth to Kidderminster road was to go through a number of incarnations. Brian says it started as The Roundhouse, then Nautical William, Fenn Green Swimming Pool, Fenn Green Hotel /nightspot and lastly The Nauty Will .

"It ran for 52 years, from 1937 to 1989, and is now a nursing home. I’m doing the history and featuring the owners, management, staff, entertainment, and all that went on at the venue."

The Nautical William

Brian says anyone who can help can contact him on davies1949@icloud.com by email.

He set up his blog just over a year ago and already has 1,700 followers worldwide. It features music from over 60 years to the present, nightclubs, music venues and so on, as well as pubs, television, film and fashion.

"I was a nightclub DJ for 25 years, from 1976 to 2004, at over 100 nightclubs. I worked for the Kidderminster Shuttle on the entertainments pages from 1980 to 1988, and ran my own entertainment agency all over the world for 25 years, to 2014."

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He has family links which make the Nautical William of particular interest.

"It's in the village of Alveley in which my father was born and in the 1940s he lived only 200 yards away from the venue with his mum, dad and four brothers and three sisters. I was a DJ there from 1978 to 1982."

Brian has already had considerable response, and his history is likely to be done in four parts. The first will cover from 1910 to 1937, then from 1937 to 1943, part three covering the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, and the final part from 1970 to 1989.

The Davy Jones bar, as seen in a brochure from 1937, the year of its opening.

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"I’ve just got back from Alveley after seeing Trevor Jones who worked there from 1950 and mentioned lots of the staff. I’m going to see Bill Scriven who worked there in the 1950s and 1960s and later Tony Lloyd who ran it in the 1970s and 80s. I’ve been sent photos and info already about their memories.

"I’m looking for photos, flyers, tickets, adverts and anybody with memories from the venue."

The Nautical William had opened in March 1937, the building designed to evoke a liner's superstructure.

In the 1970s it became renowned as a hotbed for the Northern Soul sound as it hosted regular nights with DJs spinning tunes from the American soul scene.

But times were changing, and by the 1980s it was clear the voyage was near the end for the Nauty Will, as it became known.

In 1989 it was sold and was turned into the Mary Rose Nursing Home, the name continuing the nautical theme.

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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