All I knew of Hammersmith was its famous Palais de Danse!
The equally famous Meat Market didn't get a second glance.
It was almost 'a place of ill-repute' in my giddy younger days,
But that didn't stop us going there! The Palais was the craze.
Compared to the 'dives' of the present day I suppose it was rather tame,
But hints of indiscretion seemed to add spice to its fame.
And it's true that for gentlemen on the loose it was something of a mecca,
Being a place long favoured by the wide-boy and home-wrecker.
It held thousands of dancers, and the floor was specially sprung,
So that it rose and flattened as the many dancers swung.
And swinging around was essential so the gentlemen could view
The layers and layers of petticoats, white and pink and blue,
That the girls all wore; plus the shoe-string straps and the heels that teetered high,
Swinging around under twinkling lights that echoed a night sky.
And the great bright ball revolved above in the centre of the ceiling,
And the whole excited atmosphere gave one quite a funny feeling!
Of course, the girls had to be asked; there was no equality then
And there were times when one had to dance with unattractive men.
'Do you come here often?' they'd whisper in your ear.
Oh yes, in the nineteen fifties partners danced very near!
It ended in disappointment many more times than not,
But it was great just to be there in London's great night-spot.
The dance-bands were so thrilling, up on the revolving stage;
Every one a household name and quite the latest rage.
Four bands would be performing; they took it in turns to play;
As one completed its time-slot it would silently swivvle away.
And then we'd buy the records and learn the latest song!
To what a very different era these memories belong!
Two years ago they pulled it down, so you'll never have the chance
To spend a night as I did at the famous Palais de Danse.
At least they wore ties!
And it all ended in tears!
"The Hammersmith Palais is one of Britain's most legendary venues, having played host to acts in all the important musical styles of the 20th century.The building opened just after the First World War as the Palais de Danse with the original Dixieland Big Band. In the Twenties it was converted briefly into an ice rink before reverting to duty as a dance hall.During the Second World War the BBC broadcast Services Spotlight from the Palais. Big band stars including Stan Kenton, Joe Loss and Glenn Miller all played there. It was demolished in 2007 to make way for a block of flats."
The not-so-boring fifties here: