Northern Soul in Stoke-on-Trent
The Northern Soul scene is still massive today in Stoke, with regular all nighters and regular pub nights all over the area (pre lockdown). Alongside the Wigan Casino and Manchester’s Twisted Wheel, we had our own big club in the seventies that catered for local and national Northern Soul scenesters.
The Golden Torch was opened in Tunstall in 1965 by Chris Burton as a mod club. The Hose Street venue played host to some massive names throughout the sixties including: Black Sabbath, The Kinks and T-Rex. But from 1969 - 1973, The Torch became a legendary piece in the British Northern Soul scene.
Chris Burton took on a suggestion from DJ Keith Minshull to hold an all-nighter at the venue in 1972, after the recent closure of the Twisted Wheel. The venue was supposed to hold 500 people but 1300 packed the place one night. Chris was a great local promoter and brought The Rolling Stones to Stoke so managed to bring names like Al Green, The Drifters and The Stylistics to his little club in the 6 Towns. Famous nightclub entrepreneur, Peter Stringfellow was one of a host of great DJs that spun discs alongside local legends.
All great things must come to an end and alas The Torch had to close in 1973. A variety of reasons including over crowding and drugs made sure the police were on his case and forced his hand. A plaque commemorates the venue where it once stood and cements its place in Northern Soul folklore.
Chris Burton told 6 Towns Radio in 2014 that “Northern Soul is still alive and kicking and thankfully I am alive and kicking”. He added with a big smile “They say, Stoke-on-Trent has more soul playing in it than Detroit. Who am I to judge?”
Megan got permission to use the Golden Torch logo on her latest piece from Chris himself. This goes alongside a Kings Hall Northern Soul print that is also available on our site.
Keep The Faith!