Will you share your Wapentake memories for our new project?

1970s, 1980s, 1990s, Bailey Brothers, George Webster, Olga Marshall, Paul Unwin, Rock, Steel City Rockers -

Will you share your Wapentake memories for our new project?

Olga Marshall

Olga Marshall at the Buccaneer

Olga Marshall will forever be remembered as the face of Sheffield’s Wapentake Bar.

She managed the rock venue from the early 1970s right up to late 1990s. But what are your memories of her and the venue she managed? We’re set to launch a Wapentake edition of our ‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide’ and we need your help.

We think long and hard about which venues should have a stand-alone book and it was the popularity of our Wapentake T-shirts – which we launched last year – that proved the venue’s legacy is as strong now as it ever was.

Olga Marshall – who sadly passed away in 2019 just months before the pandemic - was an unlikely figurehead for the Newcastle Brown drinking, heavy metal listening bunch of motorbike riding aficionados that frequented the venue.

Always impeccably dressed without a hint of denim or leather - she was already a mother of four by the early 1970s when she first started at the Wapentake. She didn’t smoke and she rarely drank alcohol.

But that didn’t stop her being splashed across the pages of Kerrang! magazine in 1995 when Sheffield’s own Def Leppard came to perform for her – again.

Her after dark career actually started at the Buccaneer. Many called this place Sheffield’s first rock pub. It was certainly one of the largest and is still very much missed.

The Buccaneer stood on Leopold Street under the Grand Hotel. Olga Marshall started there way back in 1964 and ended up managing it. She enlisted the help of George Webster and Ian Roberts as DJs. The place was packed.

It shut in 1973 – the customers were heart-broken. Olga wasn’t out of the limelight for long though. She was given the job of managing the nearby Wapentake which, at that time, was more geared to providing lunches for shoppers.

It didn’t stay that way for long. George Webster was soon spinning the discs at the Wapentake with the likes of Paul Unwin (they eventually moved to the Limit which George opened with Kevan Johnson) and the rock crowd turned up in their droves.

Def Leppard played one of their very first outings at the venue.

Tens of thousands of revellers made the regular pilgrimage from the Wapentake to Rebels rock club (opened by former Limit bouncer Steve Baxendale) which thrived in the 1980s and early 1990s.

The night Def Leppard returned to the Wapentake

The night Def Leppard returned to the Wapentake

Olga Marshall’s proudest achievement was probably a return visit by Def Leppard, who  performed for her one more time at Wapentake Bar on October 5, 1995, in front of most of the world’s music press.

It was a massive moment – even if the initial response from the Wapentake barmaid to the band’s offer of the gig was “sorry love, we don’t put live bands on anymore”. The problem was quickly rectified by Olga!

  • Do you have photos or memories you’d be willing to share? If so please email them to me by March 31st, 2020, at: neil@dirtystopouts.com