Terry Clough - The Early Years
The Early Years:

I was born in Heywood, Lancashire in 1943 during the later stages of the war, I was told by the family that as a baby they used to place me in my ''Carry Cot'' and put me under the dining room table during the bombing raids on Manchester a few miles away, there was also an Air Raid Shelter at the bottom of our garden but I have no idea if it was ever used. At the end of the war my mother and father moved to the Isle of Man to try and start a new life away from the dreariness of the Manchester area, and to give them time to settle I was left with my grand parents in Heywood.

My grandfather also loved the Isle of Man and had a season ticket with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company who ran the ferry services to the island. I think I made twenty seven crossings with my granddad before I was seven years old, I used to love the ferry, or boat as I used to call it, and would spend most journeys sat on the mooring ropes that were coiled up at the stern of the ship, you could do that in those days, no health and safety..

I remember one trip in particular in 1947 where the boat was delayed in Liverpool by bad weather and heavy snow, to pass the time my grandfather took me across the river Mersey on the local ferry to Birkenhead, he bought me a wind up toy aeroplane that I played with on the deck. Another feature of sailing from Liverpool at that time were all the ship wrecks in the Mersey and the dock area which had not yet been cleared after the German bombing raids on the port, there were dozens part submerged with their masts and hulls sticking out of the water..

I started school at the age of four in Heywood, Magdala Street School which was about half a mile from where I lived on Middleton road. I was a lucky lad and had a nice home and a three wheel bike that I used to peddle to school each day, as I had to cross a main road to get to the school my grandfather had arranged that a man from the garage at the bottom of our road would take me across, he use to put my bike in a shed on top of a pile of tyres and at four o’clock would see me back across the road and dig my bike out. I don’t remember to much about the school except that we had to drink Cod Liver Oil and Orange Juice every morning, it was horrible. Another thing I remember was that one day in assembly there were two poles with flashing orange lights on them and a black and white stripes painted on the floor, they were Belisha Beacons that had just been invented and we were given road safety advise on how the crossings should be used.

As I said I was a lucky lad and lived in a nice house ''Pendennis'' on Middleton road, however a mile down the road in Heywood itself the kids were not that fortunate, I remember them being very dirty with cloth caps and clogs but we got on great. One day after school we were playing next to a bomb crater that had filled with water, I fell in and can remember clearly to this day laying on the bottom of the pool looking up at midges floating above me. Luckily for me the lads pulled me out and took me home. I remember my grandmother telling me how my grandfather used to buy sacks of coal for families living in Heywood to help them through the winter nights.

One day I had to go to a hospital in Manchester to have my tonsils removed, the doctor waved a fan in front of my face and asked me to blow on it as hard as I could, it smelled very strange {it was ether to put me to sleep} and the next thing I remember was waking up to a bowl of ice cream. On the way home in the car it was very foggy {smog} and for parts of the journey my grandmother had to walk in front of the car holding a torch so we could see where we were going.

In a different world to Heywood a few houses away up Middleton road our neighbours were the ''Pilkingtons'' of Pilkingtons glass fame. I was friendly with the youngest, forgotten his name I'm afraid, we used to play in each others gardens. However, one bonfire night I was watching the firework display in our back garden that my grandfather had arranged from inside the house as it was raining, when the two older Pilkington boys decided to liven up proceedings by jamming a bottle into our back fence and pointing a rocket at the house, the rocket smashed through the window and burnt my chest, an early bonfire night casualty. I remember also that this year during the school summer holidays I had contracted ''Scarlet Fever'' and it laid me​​
out for the whole six weeks of the holidays, I think shortly after that I must have moved to the Isle of Man with my grand parents to join my mum and dad and started school at Onchan at the age of five.

Onchan School was OK ! Nice teachers and milk to drink everyday instead of that horrendous cod liver oil and orange juice of my former school in the UK, the milk was warmish though being kept in open boxes in the school cloakroom, small bottles with cardboard tops, we used to prise the tops of and drink the cream off the top first, no semi-skimmed in those days. I had a girlfriend, Lizzy Layfield, and I used to walk her home everyday to her house a few hundred yards from the school, years later I was there replacing windows as a carpenter and hoping to see Lizzy again, but her parents explained that she was away at college in the UK, never did see her again.

I liked sports and was good at cricket, running, and football, I was chosen for the Onchan footie team as a right winger, I could have been a forward but every time I headed the ball I got a nose bleed, so they stuck me out on the wing to cross the ball. It was great in the team as we used to be invited to play other schools on the island in tournaments which meant we had a day out on a coach, charabanc ! Our favourite School to play was Castletown as they put on an excellent spread of Shiphams paste sandwiches at the end of the game, our least favourite was Peel School, uneatable rock cakes, I suppose they were meant to be scones but....

My best mates and neighbours in Onchan at that time were Shaun and Laury Loader, and their younger sister Cherrie. They were a Burmese family who lived a few hundred yards up our road, there was the large house and garden nursery where their grandfather and grandmother lived, and a smaller bungalow where they lived with their mother and father. I think the grandfather was a retired Burmese army officer, he never said much to us at all, just the odd grunt, but a great thing was that they were one of the few families in Onchan {1950'ish} who had a TV ! We were allowed once a week at teatime to watch Bill & Ben followed by the Lone Ranger & Tonto.

I remember clearly one morning their mother arriving at my grandmothers door on the way to her divorce hearing, very sad, however, she looked stunning, beautiful, in what I now understand was her traditional Burmese dress. Sometime after this the mother moved away with Laury, no idea where to, but Shaun stayed on the island and was a friend for many years, I believe Cherrie ended up at university in the UK, lovely family.

At the age of eleven I moved from Onchan school to Ballerkermeen High School in Douglas, and from then on had to wear long trousers, I hated them at first but I got used to them as they wore in and then wore out over time. The first day at school was an eye opener, we had all been allotted ''Forms'' to go to each containing around thirty boys per class, it was separate sexes in those days and the girls were next door at the Girls School.

The teacher arrived and we all stood up and quietened down, He said, right lads would all the RC's move to the right of the class, and all the Protestants to the left, and all the Jews stay where you are! I hadn't realised until this time that our family were non religious, it had never been mentioned to me, anyway I remembered the word RC's so I stood with what I now know to be Catholics, the teacher pointed to me and said, Clough, get with the protestants your not a catholic, lesson one over, and I had learned that different religions had to have their own religious instruction, and that some of my best mates were now Jewish !!

I spent two years at Ballerkermeen doing OK and then had to move to Douglas High School for Boys for the remaining two years of education.

The Manx Paedophile:

Growing up in the 50's the words paedophile and homosexual were not words I remember being bandied around at Onchan School, in those days we were just warned ''don't talk to strangers'', we knew a tiny bit about sex though as it was rumoured that our teachers Miss D & Mr C had been caught ''kissing'' in the school cloakroom.

However, one evening I was standing waiting for the bus at Douglas Bus Station when I was approached by a man who asked me if I would like to go to the circus, at this time there was a Circus situated in a spare area of the bus station, my first thoughts were, this bloke is a murderer, my favourite books at that time included one called ''The Chinese Nail Murders'' so I reckon that's what made me suspicious, however, he seemed OK so I agreed he could take me to see the circus, and there were hundreds of people about so I should be safe enough.

Wrong ! After the circus he said he needed to go to the toilet, at that time there were underground toilets at the far end of the bus station opposite the Steam Packet Company offices, so I followed him in. I thought I would have a pee as well so we stood next to each other in the gents stalls, the next thing his hand grabbed my hand and put it on his willy, which was hard, I was shocked and ran away up the stairs. He followed me and asked me if I would meet him again the following night, I agreed just to get away, and then ran like mad to catch a bus home.

I didn't tell anyone about the incident and soon put it out of my mind, I just got on with enjoying the summer holidays, lots to do, motor cycle gymkhana's at Onchan Stadium, fishing for bull heads on the rocks at Happy Valley, endless time spent in Molly Quirk's Glen and Groudle Glen, and toffee apples at the Port Jack Glen kiosk.

It wasn't until I was 15 years old starting my job as an apprentice carpenter at the Isle of Man Harbour Board that the memory returned, one of my jobs {perks} was to keep the penny slot machines oiled in the public toilets around Douglas Harbour, and I was warned by the head joiner to beware of ''Brown Hatters'', it was explained to me that this was a term used to describe the homosexuals and such like that used to hang around the gents toilets...

St Ninians High School

For me in the 50s the greatest thing about school was the four o'clock bell and the subsequent race for the bike shed, school was just an inconvenience to be put up with between fishing and spending time in the the local glens or on the beaches or playing cricket. Back then getting an education was just years to be endured; no computer lessons or interactive whiteboards it was simply heads down, no talking and get on with your work! However, it has to be said that it wasn’t all doom and gloom, we did have woodwork classes; Shacky’s woodwork lessons, that's Mr Shackleton, I remember them well!.

One of the highlights was being able to stir evil smelling, boiling, glue in a big pot which we named ‘The Witch’s Cauldron’. This foul concoction I believe was manufactured from dead horses sent to the knackers yard, anyway it what we used used to stick wood together long before Evo Stick, did they think it was too dangerous to provide us with hammers and nails, yet, thinking about it Old Shacky probably did us all a huge favour by putting us off glue sniffing forever. Thanks to ‘The Witch’s Cauldron’ there would be no empty crisp packets with a dash of Evo stick for us young woodworkers, although we would be denied the high that allegedly came from sniffing glue we were also spared the accompanying spots and pimples, as if we didn’t have enough.

Mr Shackleton was a really a nice, even if eccentric, type of guy but he was also the worst woodwork teacher in the world. Shacky had however, one saving grace. He had an absolutely fantastic asset which came in the shape of a 'Grundig Tape Recorder'. I can tell you that in 1957 this was ‘Big Magic’ to a class of thirteen year old adolescents lads itching to become Teddy Boys. Rock 'n' Roll was then just beginning to have an impact on Britain and was mainly to be heard, if you could get a signal, on 'Radio Luxembourg'. With ears glued to our trannies and old valve radios we budding Teddy Boys came to worship names like: Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, and many more, equally famous names who were there, waiting in the wings, ready to enter the Rock and Roll arena.

So, returning to Shacky, because of that tape recorder, Shacky became our hero, especially as he would let us record our own voices and mess about with his ‘Grundig’ to our heart's content.

It was probably just as well we had our ‘Big Magic’ to look forward to because apart from science lessons where we would make rocket fuel using weed killer and sugar {unknown to the teacher of course} we used this after school in our home made rocket devices, once we made an impact explosive powder and using a nut and two bolts, one nut was screwed on the bolt a little, we then placed the powder in the nut and then screwed on the second bolt lightly compressing the powder in the nut between the two bolts, when thrown on a solid surface it would explode.

We tried this in the school playground during a break and the device exploded almost according to plan, we hadn't counted on part of the device flying a hundred yards or so across Glencrutchery road and breaking a bedroom window of one of the houses opposite the school. This we found out in assembly the next day when the headmaster asked those responsible to own up, we did as there were witnesses, giving the excuse that we were swinging a bolt around on a piece of string and it broke, this was believed and we got off with just having to pay for the glass to be replaced.

I was not the academic type and I just couldn't wait to leave. Eventually the final day of school arrived and to my credit I feel I went out with a bang, there were two games masters, 'Venebles,' a right pompous git, not at all a gentleman, and 'Orry' our other and far better PE teacher. Venables had never liked me, not since the time I bowled him out three balls in a row during cricket practice, I had been taught how to play the game of cricket properly by my father who was an excellent cricketer and bowler.

Venables appeared to dislike the fact that one of the ‘brats’ could, and had, wiped the floor with him. So, on that fateful day and final PE lesson, there erupted a blazing row with the said Venables and myself. In a fit of temper, I picked up a shot put ball and threw it directly into a wall of hockey sticks. I can still see the look of shock on his face! I think I surprised him more than a little as in previous games lessons I could hardly throw the heavy ball far enough to reach the school standard, which wasn’t very far. I was out of the door, on my bike and half way home to Onchan before the sticks hit the floor, I had ''left school''.

Elvis By Lamplight

My best mate at the time was 'Sandy'. Most days after school we would go back to his house in Willaston, which was a lot nearer to school than where I lived in Onchan, about 2 miles away. Sandy’s mum would feed us a good meal. This never stopped me eating another ‘good meal’ when I got home. Sandy's house, however, had an added bonus, the house was directly opposite Pauline's house, and I was in love with Pauline.

Not that Pauline knew that, in fact she had never even spoken to me. I like to think she could sense my love for her as she would peep at me from behind her upstairs bedroom curtains. Spurred on by such encouragement, I would woo her by doing my Elvis impression under the street lamp outside. This Elvis impression consisted of me combing my hair, in the cool way Elvis combed his hair in the movies, and this combing had to be done every two or three minutes for greater effect. Now, having said that, it was not a very bright street lamp and I reckon thinking back that all she could see was my luminous orange socks, the style at the time, nevertheless, Elvis combed on.

When I did finally manage to wangle my way into Pauline’s front room, it was for the most part under the supervision of ‘Hitler’s Sister’, alias, Pauline’s mum. Now Pauline’s mum was as tough as old boots but luckily she worked at nights in a bar which meant she was out most evenings. This woman, who was not to be messed with, put me under the threat of death, or, perhaps even worse, having my bike tyres let down, if I even touched Pauline’s leg anywhere above the ankle. I must have proved myself, however, because within a few weeks we were trusted to stay in and watch TV, alone! Perhaps we were not quite alone as Pauline had a sister, June. June was a couple of years older than Pauline which made her about sixteen, and June had a boy friend, Eric.

June and Eric’s relationship was a problem for Pauline’s mum so when she left for work we were under strict instructions not to let the amorous couple go upstairs alone. Fat chance we had of stopping them. Pauline’s mum was hardly out the door on her way to work when Eric was up those stairs dragging an unresisting June behind him. Eric was a big lad and who was I to argue. Anyway, I had better things on my mind. What better thing could there be, when hormones were racing, than necking and fumbling on the settee with my beloved Pauline. I suppose what could have been better was doing exactly what Eric was up to. As I was practising my fumbling on the sofa he was busy doing the real thing in the bedroom. It has to be said that some nights the bed was doing so much creaking and groaning that the noise nearly drowned out Jerry Lee on the Dansette, I know now that he was far more interested in his own ‘Great Balls of Fire’ than Jerry Lee’s. The fun and games didn't last too long. After only a few months Pauline’s mum went up in the air, June was up the spout, and the amorous pair went up the aisle.

The Palais de Dance

Around this time, during the summer season, there were several Big Band venues on the island the biggest being the ‘Douglas Corporation run Villa Marina Concert Hall and Gardens. For several summer seasons the island was privileged to host top UK bands including Joe Loss, and the all girls Ivy Benson Band, and Ronnie Aldrich and The Squadronaires.

The saxophone player in the Squadronaires was Cliff Townsend, the father of the now legendary Pete Townsend of The Who. When Pete was young, it must be said he was a cheeky lad and once received a clip around the ear from my grandmother for being cheeky to clients in the café which was situated locally in Noble’s Park..

Members of the The Ivy Benson’s Girl band put up a good show for us lads. We were there panting and ogling at the front of the stage. Yes, ogling! The band was great but it must be said that it was the female drummer who made the biggest impression; she certainly was a huge hit with us lads. This drummer was rumoured never to wear any knickers, and the way her legs were positioned in order to play the drums meant everything was potentially on view ! Yep ! forever hopeful...

The pianist with the band at this time was Heather Nicholl who was a local girl and a true genius on the piano. In the mid sixties she played as the main backing pianist for cabaret turns at the Isle of Man Palace and Casino. Sadly, as seems to happen with truly talented people, she suffered a serious illness and tragically died very young in her mid thirties.

White City Amusement Park

Living in Onchan I was very handy for the White City amusement park on Onchan head where myself and the gang would spend summer evenings eyeing the girls, listening to the Juke Box, and playing on the many penny slot machines in the arcade, the Isle of Man at this time was still a very popular holiday destination and the place was packed most nights with tourists mostly from the north of England, Scotland, Northern and Southern Ireland.

A close neighbour of mine was the doorman at the most popular show on the resort, Joseph Karma the Lightning Hypnotist, with his assistant Elizabeth, she was gorgeous with the biggest boobs I had ever seen, armed with my complimentary tickets I used to go to the show a couple of times a week, I loved it. Apart from the very funny situations Joseph would put people into when hypnotised, he also would stop people smoking if they wished, and very successfully, when in the trance he would suggest to them that every time they put a cigarette in their mouth it would taste disgusting, it apparently worked and he used to offer this service privately as well.

He was also the person who got me into rock and roll, in the intermission at one of his shows one night he announced a New Form of Hypnotism, rock and roll, and introduced the islands first rock group, Bernie May and the Sinners. The band consisted of Bernie the vocalist and rhythm guitarist, John Lightfoot on tea chest bass, John Forrester on drums, and Kenny Radcliffe on piano. They sang Tommy Steels popular hit at the time, Elevator Rock, and from that moment rock and roll was all I ever wanted to do..

At this time I had a summer job in a Chemist shop in Douglas, washing equipment, mixing ointment and putting it into jars, labelling etc. and running errands, this was the best bit as on my way back from the bank each morning I would stop at the stage entrance, back door, of the Palais de Dance ballroom in Strand Street, where there was always a big band playing, and the place was packed with early jivers, I had to drag myself back to work after sciving off and watching for twenty minutes or so.

The owner of the shop a Mr Purcell was a Catholic, and I was under instructions to say to anyone asking for Condoms, sorry, we are Catholics and do not sell contraceptives, many a customer went out red faced. John, the bass player from Bernie May and the Sinners worked there also, I think he was about 17/18, and there was a girl assistant about the same age, they used to leave me in charge of the shop at lunch times so they could STOCK TAKE in the storeroom, on interrupting them on one occasion I found out that in fact stock taking was the lunchtime code for shagging, this was a bit of an eye opener for me as a young teenager, there was not much sex education in those days.

Myself and the ''Onchan Gang'' however, were fortunate to have a couple of friends who were well past the sex theory stage, they were well into the practical on a regular basis in a grassy enclave above the rocks at Port Jack beach, and from time to time we had front seats not to far away, we learned a lot from Arthur and Hillary. Hillary was to become famous in later life as an actress, best known for her work on The Princess and the Cobbler, She'll Follow You Anywhere, The Avengers, Under the Doctor, and, Are you Being Served. 

The Suedettes Story
True Stories from The World of Clough
Terry Clough : The Early Years