Skating Rink & Majestic Ballroom, Camborne



Commercial Street, Camborne


The Skating Rink operating in what was the old town market, located in the heart of Camborne. The large historic building housed the Big Fry Fish & Chip Shop, Knees Arcade, Scala Cinema, snack bar, Majestic Ballroom and the Skating Rink.

The fish and chip shop, arcade and cinema were located on the side of the building that now houses the Wetherspoons pub, with the snack bar and ballroom around the corner. The Skating Rink was located to the back of the building, behind the arcade and chip shop. The Majestic Ballroom was located on the second floor, above the snack bar and was accessed from the main road.


The majority shareholders in the building were the Bartle family and son Viv Bartle had a keen interest in rock & roll and burgeoning teen scene. Being a few years older that most he was a little more level headed and wise enough to spot an opportunity to get involved in making the scene run, as well as enjoying the rewards of being at the centre of the action.

As rock & roll took off in the late 50s/early 60s the snack bar introduced a jukebox which gave the kids a place to hang out, and it soon became a very popular meeting place to listen to music and chat to friends. The Skating Rink was also becoming more popular as the skating craze took off. Running on Saturday nights the rink was also playing the latest rock and beat hit records, and was buzzing. It could hold up to 1000 people and had a real fairground buzz, with lights, noise and excitement.

Viv was a big music fan and decided to put on dances in the Skating Rink, initially with local bands. As the rink was in operating well on a Saturday night the dances took place on a Thursday. The rink had a purpose built stage towards the back of the building, directly behind which there was a dressing room. With the skaters cleared out it was a perfect venue for dances. Although when the skating was on records were played during the dances it was all live music. The kids were hearing the records on a Saturday night, so they didn’t need to hear them again on a Thursday. Live music was the order of the day.

One of the first regular local bands was The Staggerlees, who Viv remembers as being a level above all the other local bands at the time. They had a professional outlook and sharp suits, along with the homemade echo chamber which helped give them an authentic Shadows sound.

Bands would play from 7.30-10pm with only a short 15min break, so needed to know a of songs! If it was a local band on the bill there would be only one band performing, only when a major national act was visiting would there be two bands on the bill.

Through the Staggerlees Viv made contact with Dave Stock, the band’s then manager. Dave was also operating Teen Promotions with Eric Langman and running the Black Cat Club in Plymouth. These links would help Viv in securing bands from Plymouth and across Devon. It would also bring him in contact with Lionel Digby and bands from the Torquay area. Like most venues in Cornwall he was also booking bands through Pete Brown’s BCD in Bodmin. As well as The Staggerlees popular local bands were Rikki & The Layabouts, The Drifters, The Jaguars and Manny Cockle.

One memorable local performer was Rockin’ Henri from Plymouth. Fresh from performing on Westward TV in Plymouth earlier that evening the band rushed down to Cornwall, but Henri refused to go on stage until he received a proper showbiz introduction, which Viv reluctant gave him!

With the Thursday night dances becoming so popular Viv decided to make use of the Majestic Ballroom, which was getting little use at the time. Although smaller in capacity, holding 3-400, it allowed him to run dances on a Saturday night, with the skating continuing in the rink on the same night.

All big name acts would perform in the rink, due to the larger capacity. Big name national acts would be booked through legendary promoter and manager Roy Tempest, based in Soho.  With the stage being only 3-4ft high punters were within touching distance of some of the biggest acts of the day (or grabbing distance as Adam Faith would find out!).

One of Viv’s biggest scoops was boking The Cascades. Booked well in advance the band had just hit the top of the charts with ‘Rhythm of the Rain’ on the night they were booked at the rink. Their management tried hard to buy back the contract but Viv refused to let it go and it was the most popular gig at the venue. It was also the only gig were Viv sold tickets in advance, making use of all the outlets on the site. Many people came in for a bag of chips and left with a ticket to the gig!

Another memorable performer was Screaming Lord Sutch who played on several occasions and was always a popular draw in Cornwall, a place his visited often. Never one to shy away from the limelight during the day he decided to drum up some interest in the gig. At the time Holman’s operated out of the site that is now Tesco’s and at 5.30pm each day they workers would clock off and a wave of bodies would make their way down Camborne high street. On this occasion they were greeted by Sutch in the middle of the high street playing piano (pushed from Viv’s parent’s house nearby)! This caused the expected chaos with the high street blocking up as everybody came out to see what was happening. Needless to say, that evening’s gig was another sell out.

Another high profile gig was an early appearance by The Who, just as they were starting to hit the big time. Even playing provincial Cornwall didn’t stop them putting on their usual incendiary show at ear splitting volume, culminating in the show stopping gear smashing finale.

Blood and Sand supported The Who at the venue. During the gig Keith Moon split one of his bass drum skins. Dennis Wood, who was drumming for Blood & Sand at the time was beckoned over by Keith and replace the skin while the band were still performing! After the gig The Who headed off taking Dennis's drum skin with them.

Other high profile acts were The Applejacks, Paul Raven and The Moody Blues (who arrived but did not perform on the night). Viv almost secured another major artist in The Walker Brothers. Again booked well in advance by the time of the gig they were one of the biggest acts in the country and had far outgrown the 1000 capacity rink. Despite being advertised in the local press close up to the date, in the end Viv bowed to their management and sold back their contract.

The Skating Rink continued up until 1979, at which stage Viv called it a day and the family sold their shares in the building.  Soon after it became the Berkeley Centre with the old Majestic Ballroom becoming office space. It operated as a night club for many years before closing in the early 00’s. It remained in a sorry state, often boarded up, until part of the site was taken over by pub chain Wetherspoons who have now breather life back into the old building (although the site of the ballroom remains unused.

After the Rink Viv would remain the entertainment business, running cinemas throughout Cornwall.

The site of the Majestic Ballroom in 2012

The site of the Skating Rink in 2012

Skating Rink gigs

Here are a list of gigs that took place at the Skating Rink. Over time more will be added. These are all taken from advetisements placed in the local press, so there is a likelyhood that some didn't take place, or bands were changed. If you have any to add please get in touch.


09 September 1965





11 September 1965


Country Gentlemen


Majestic Ballroom

02 October 1965


Beat Merchants


Majestic Ballroom

09 October 1965


Dave and the Diamonds


Majestic Ballroom

07 October 1965


Dave Berry and the Cruisers

The Zoo


14 October 1965


The Who



21 October 1965


Unit Four Plus 2



21 October 1965


Moody Blues

Beat Merchants


28 October 1965


Profile, Nite Peple, Tributes



04 November 1965


Walker Brothers

"Big Beat Session"


11 November 1965







Did you visit this venue? If so please get in touch!