Kissing under the mistletoe is set to go the same way as every other festive interaction this Christmas - unless the apple of your eye is in your bubble of course.
So we thought we'd add some cheer to the loveless 2020 festive season with a reminder of the story behind the Dirty Stop Outs.
It's an amazing tale of the re-discovery of a long-forgotten photo that sparked love second time around and far more besides. In fact the chance publication of the 1970s wedding picture set off the most amazing chain of events.
When Ann and Chris Jackson posed for their wedding photo at Sheffield’s Hofbräuhaus on Eyre Street in the late seventies they assumed the picture was consigned to the family album.
When they divorced a few years later many had forgotten the photo even existed.
Ann, who was just 17 years-old when she began dating Chris, said: “It wasn’t as though Chris had done anything wrong – we just never saw one another because he was working the entire time helping run the family haulage business.”
They would have stayed divorced if it wasn’t for the inadvertent re-discovery of their wedding photo a quarter of a century later and the amazing chain of events it set off.
Neil Anderson was researching his ‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 1970s Sheffield’ book – his first retrospective focusing on the city’s nightlife.
He said: “I’d amassed literally hundreds of photos in my research but one in particular caught my eye – I knew it had to go in the book. It captured the essence of the style and feel of the era.”
That photo was Ann and Chris Jackson on their wedding day.
By the eighties their relationship had gone the same way as the flares of the seventies and they the couple had gone their separate ways. Chris remained in his native Wrexham where the couple had set up home whilst Ann moved back to Sheffield.
They’d not set eyes on each other for 26 years when word filtered through that their wedding photo had got pride of place in the ‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 1970 Sheffield’, a book dedicated to celebrating the vibrant nightlife of the era.
Though Ann ended up remarrying and having two children, she freely admits nothing could ever match the excitement of her time in seventies Sheffield with her first love.
Little did she know that life was about to take a bizarre twist of fate that would put her back in his arms.
She said: “A car suddenly screeched to a halt when I was walking to the bus stop and my friend Jacqueline, who also used to work at the Hofbräuhaus with her husband Orrett, shouted out ‘I’ve just seen you in this new book on your wedding day!’”
The couple ended up getting back in touch and the courtship started all over again. Within months they were re-married with author Neil Anderson as guest of honour at the wedding.
Ann said: “Chris told me he’d only ever had one love and had sworn never to marry again. He kept that promise until he asked me to marry him – again! The only thing I ever had a problem with was the fact Chris now looks smaller than he did in the seventies. That can be exclaimed easily – he doesn’t wear platforms anymore!”
But that was only the start of the impact of the photo.
The book ended up being such a success it became the inspiration for Neil Anderson’s www.dirtystopouts.com
Its success has now inspired over twenty more ‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide’ titles with them being launched in Liverpool, Manchester, Coventry, Chesterfield, Barnsley with more of the way.
Neil Anderson said: “The impact that book had on the lives of Ann, Chris and their friends and family was quite incredible. I’ll never forget it. It was a true privilege to have helped inspire such happiness at their second wedding.
“I’ve always had a keen interest in social history and the success of the book truly piqued my interest. If it hadn’t been for Ann and Chris it’s unlikely there’d have been the growing library of titles that are now spreading across the UK.”
- Neil Anderson has just released a special 10th anniversary edition of the ‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 1970s Sheffield’.