Sir Jimmy Savile’s tenure as Ilford dance hall manager remembered
Legendary DJ and television presenter Sir Jimmy Savile, who died aged 84 on Saturday, once entertained revellers at a famous Ilford dance hall.
Sir Jimmy had a stint as manager of Ilford Palais in High Road in 1959 and ran records-only dance sessions on Monday nights which were said to be popular with teenagers.
Sir Jimmy, who went on to present the first episode Top of the Pops, was interviewed by the Recorder about his time spent in the borough in 1966 and a photograph accompanying the article showed him wearing a two tone coat.
It was taken by retired freelance photographer Clive Simpson, formerly of Kenwood Gardens, Gants Hill, who met the star at his BBC studio.
Recalling how the shot was set up Mr Simpson said: “At the time Jimmy had a two tone head with one side black and the other side white.
You may also want to watch:
“There was a guy in Barking who started manufacturing leather coats and he made a couple with two tones which were exactly the same colour as his hair.
“He contacted Jimmy and said he would give him a coat for free in return for some publicity pictures which he agreed to.”
- 1 Mercato Ilford 'delayed again' as council pushes for Christmas opening
- 2 Road and rail round-up: Disruptions to travel in east London this week
- 3 'Not acceptable': Residents mount opposition to plumbers' building plan
- 4 'Sick and tired': More restaurants fall victim to Just Eat scammers
- 5 ‘Hard to comprehend’: MPs react as Sir David Amess dies after stabbing
- 6 Cross-party group demands mayor reject Tesco Goodmayes development
- 7 Jailed: Men who laundered £25m from cash and carry warehouses
- 8 Two more police 'enforcement hubs' to open in Redbridge
- 9 Six cars damaged and lamppost felled in late-night Loxford crash
- 10 Chadwell Heath pharmacy to offer Covid-19 booster jabs with flu vaccine
Mr Simpson added: “Jimmy was a really nice guy and we sat and chatted after the pictures.
“It wasn’t a case of two minutes get in and get out.
“He was a shrewd character and did a brilliant job raising money charity but also had an eye for the business side of things.”
In the article Sir Jimmy was quoted saying: “Some of the happiest days of my life were spent in Ilford.”
And he also raised a smile by giving some amusing response to questions.
When asked how he got to Ilford he answered: “I came out of my front door and turned left and it was about 186 miles from there because I lived in Leeds.”
When asked how long he was at the Palais for he replied: “About five feet ten inches.”
His funeral will be held on Wednesday at St Anne’s Catholic Cathedral in Leeds with thousands expected to pay their last respects.