Peter Stringfellow's Penthouse nightmare became a rockers' dream
Few people realise Peter Stringfellow had more than a little hand in the future launch of the region’s undisputed king of rock clubs.
It was he that opened the Penthouse in 1969 in the space destined became Rebels years later.
His love affair with the venue sited many floors above Dixon Lane didn’t last long. If it had, well, there might have never been a rock club at all.
Peter Stringfellow, and his brother Geoff, had already achieved massive success in Sheffield in the years preceding the Penthouse opening.
Their Burngreave-based King Mojo teenage club attracted stars spanning Jimi Hendix to Ike and Tina Turner. Their performances at the venue were some of their very earliest gigs on record. Not only that, Peter Stringfellow had already been a presenter on the iconic Ready Steady Go! TV show and been a comperé for the Beatles.
The Penthouse was his first venue with an alcohol licence and it didn’t end well.
Peter Stringfellow ended up selling the Penthouse business within months of opening and moved his business interests to Leeds.
It was, in his eyes, a disaster. Fighting became a consistent problem.
Rebels was the brainchild of former Limit bouncer Steve Baxendale.
He said: “On opening night I thought no one had come. I came down the street and only saw four people stood outside. I was gutted.
“But then I opened bottom doors and over 1,000 people were on the stairs - all seven flights of ‘em.”
Rebels provided a dedicated nightclub for the rockers after they’d finished at the likes of the Wapentake.
Bob Maltby spun the discs in the early days. The opening of Rebels was perfectly timed as the rock scene exploded in the mid-1980s with the rise of spandex-charged hair metal following the rise of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal genre a few years earlier.
Rebels was a true Sheffield institution. It was a blur of endless flights of stairs, Red Stripe, bleached hair and rock’n’roll.
DJ Lez Wright took over the disc spinning duties in later years – his roots can be traced right back to the Buccaneer – with Rebels becoming one of the most popular rock clubs in the whole country towards the end of the 1980s.
Friendships were made that still carry on decades after the last tune was played in the mid-1990s.
- Pics/stories relating to Rebels are being sought for a forthcoming book. They should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org