Your Stories
The Stranglers gig ticket

Gig memories of Malvern Winter Gardens in the 70s and 80s
Nick Ratcliffe remembers The Stranglers, Specials and Dexy's Midnight Runners at the Winter Gardens.



Nick now lives in Evesham, but he was born in Worcester, and lived in Malvern from birth until he was 23, in 1985.

Here's his memories of gigs at the Malvern Winter Gardens, along with his saved tickets:

The Stranglers gig ticket
The Stranglers gig ticket

The Stranglers

My first Winter Gardens gig was The Stranglers in 1978.

I distinctly recall how many police there were out on Grange Road when fans were arriving and afterwards; Malvern had never seen so many police.

There was not much trouble at this gig, but there was the possibility of it, so the police seemed to be taking no chances.

Siouxsie and the Banshees gig ticket
Siouxsie and the Banshees gig ticket

Cherry Red gigs

Thereafter I went to a lot of Cherry Red gigs by the likes of The Stranglers, Buzzcocks, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Elvis Costello, Magazine, Penetration, Stiff Little Fingers, The Undertones, Dr Feelgood, The Pirates and John Miles.

Some quite famous bands played support - e.g Simple Minds and The Cure.

I saw Joy Division at one of their very last gigs in April 1980; I have recently found a bootleg recording of that gig online, and it is quite chilling to listen to it again after nearly 30 years.

Winter Gardens gig ticket, Nov 1979
Winter Gardens gig ticket, November 1979

College organised gigs

My favourite Winter Gardens gig was not a Cherry Red gig, but was promoted by the Inter College Liaison Committee of three local FE Colleges (which I presume were Worcester, Kidderminster and Redditch).

I didn't go to any of these colleges, but got my ticket through a friend; Why the gig was in Malvern, I never worked out.

The gig was on 30 November 1979 and three bands played - The Specials, The Selecter and Dexy's Midnight Runners.

Two of these three had their names misspelt on the ticket.

I recall that Dexy's played wearing trench coats, but they made a real impression for a band who were third on a bill of three!

The Specials were amazing and really had the place jumping.

John Miles gig ticket from December 1977
John Miles gig ticket from December 1977

Ticket sales

Tickets for the Winter Gardens gigs were sold in three or four places only - the Winter Gardens' box office, Cherry Red records in Adelaide House on the Wells Road in Malvern, Fearnsides' art shop on Belle Vue Terrace, and Goose's records in the Tything in Worcester.

The name of the ticket vendor would be stamped on the back of the ticket.

Bedroom shop

When there was a gig on, Cherry Red would have a stall in the pump room of the Winter Gardens selling records, T shirts, badges and tickets to forthcoming gigs.

Cherry Red also sold records on a Saturday from a flat in Adelaide House on the Wells Road.

The "shop" was essentially a spare bedroom, but had a great stock of Punk and New Wave records, including imports and some bootlegs that you simply didn't find anywhere else in the County.

The Undertones

I recall a gig where the Undertones played support (could have been Penetration, who were standing in for the recently split up Rezillos), where after their set, the lead singer Feargal Sharkey stood at the back of the hall, with no shirt on, watching the next act and trying to cadge a cigarette off audience members.

Someone bought him a beer and he stood there quite happily smoking and drinking.

Happy days...

Nick Ratcliffe