Night of horrors in 1960s Preston

Spooky night at Preston's Top Rank nightclub in 1965
Spooky night at Preston's Top Rank nightclub in 1965
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With Halloween upon us these fun loving party-goers are pictured enjoying a spooky night on the tiles in Preston.

The photographs are the latest images to be published from the Vin Sumner collection.
Earlier this month, we received a great response after we printed a selection of images from the former manager of Preston Guild Hall and the Top Rank nightclub’s personal archive.
These photographs were taken at a Horrific Ball held at the Top Rank on June 18, 1965.

All dressed up for fright night at Preston's Top Rank nightclub in 1965

All dressed up for fright night at Preston's Top Rank nightclub in 1965


The event was run in conjunction with the release of the horror film “Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte”.
The American horror movie, starring Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead and Mary Astor, had just been released at the Odeon Cinema which share a building with the Top Rank.
The film featured an ageing spinster who lived a reclusive life in a grand plantation house in the American Deep South after the discovery of the horrific murder of her lover.


Following its release, the movie received a string of Oscar nominations and it was scheduled for a week-long run at the Odeon cinema in Preston.
Music for the fright night party was provided by Johnny Wollaston and His Mad Musicians.
Wollaston was a popular fixture on the big band scene, regular playing at venues on the club circuit up and down the country.


The highlight of the Horric Ball was a special competition to find one fearless young woman willing to watch Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte all alone at a special midnight screening in the Odeon. Sadly, history does not recall whether anyone was brave enough to step forward and take up the terrifying challenge.
More images from Vin Sumner’s collection can be found on the Top Rank Preston 1960s and 1970s Facebook Group.

Spooky night at Preston's Top Rank nightclub in 1965

Spooky night at Preston's Top Rank nightclub in 1965

Spooky night at Preston's Top Rank nightclub in 1965

Spooky night at Preston's Top Rank nightclub in 1965

Serving spirits at Preston's Top Rank nightclub in 1965

Serving spirits at Preston's Top Rank nightclub in 1965

Roll up for fright night at Preston's Top Rank nightclub in 1965

Roll up for fright night at Preston's Top Rank nightclub in 1965