M • I • N • I
M • E • M • O • R • I • E • S
These pages are devoted to special memories of Big L in the Sixties.
If you have a particular memory of something that happened while listening to Radio London, won a station competition, or have unearthed some rare memorabilia, please click on the mail button to the right and let us know!


Stewpot at the Gala
Francis Pullen of Cambridge writes:
" I found this Poster in the archives, for a May Bank Holiday 'Great Open Air Beat Gala', 29th May 1967, compered by Top Radio London DJ' Ed Stewpot Stewart at the Cambridge City Football ground and featuring some well-played bands from the Big L Fab 40.


Deryck's autographs
Deryck High writes: I finally got my scanner working and scanned in these Big L autographs.

In 1966 (I was 13), I wrote to Big L and asked for a few autographs - never expecting that I'd get a otal of 10 DJs signing the back of a Big L MV Galaxy postcard.
I wrote off again in early 1967 - hoping for another load. No postcard that time, but I got my letter back with 3 more autographs at the bottom. Very touched that Keith took the time to write something personal to me.

Webmaster's note: By the end of 1966 several of the DJs who have signed the back of the Galaxy postcard on the left, had already left Big L. Dave Cash and Earl Richmond both departed in April, John Edward and Duncan Johnson, in July and Dave Dennis, in December.


(Right) The 1966 teeshirt.
(Photo: Brian Long)

This page from a Big L Club newsletter (circa New Year 1966) can best be described as 'rather vague' in its descriptions and frankly, the illustrations of the merchandise would not have inspired anyone to make a purchase! Perhaps the club – now a limited company – was relying on the public being inspired by heavy on-air promotion of the items and adverts printed in music papers.

Readers are incited to join the 'IN' crowd at the Big L Discotheque (the word was not abbreviated to 'disco' in those days). The club had opened on December 3rd 1965, at 122 Charing Cross Road. (Full story here.) However, the newsletter fails to mention the membership and admission fees to the discotheque – which varied considerably depending on both the day of the week of the visit and the 'IN' person's gender!

Dave Cash introduced a new feature to his programme called 'The Battle of the New Sounds', where each week he played three new releases and asked listeners to vote for their favourites. With the incentive of winning a prize draw for a year's membership at the Big L Discotheque, around 5,000 people regularly responded.

DJ Lorne King's personal 'silver-gilt' identity bracelet.
These cost 10/- for Club members

Big L merchandise was the responsibility of Gabey Collin. He was not on the station payroll, but was more of a 'middle man' between the station and the manufacturers, an arrangement that worked well for all parties.

Being a dedicated Radio London fan and buying all the station merchandise could prove an expensive business.

The Big L shades (right), belt fob, identity bracelet and teeshirt (it went on sale in March '66 at 12/6) would have cost a total of £2 7s 0d. (Not to mention the annual Big L Club membership fee, although this did entitle members to a merchandise discount). All this was without the discotheque's own membership fees and the cost of trendy 'IN crowd' threads.

The average weekly wage for a school-leaver in 1966 was around £7 and many young listeners were still in education and relying on pocket money from their parents of a few shillings a week, supplemented by paper rounds and Saturday jobs. The 'IN' crowd were clearly big earners living in Swinging London and sadly, the rest of us were doomed to be 'out'.

Mary Payne

If anyone has a Big L belt fob, we'd love to see a photo.

The late John Bennett supplied the newsletter scan

Highlights of Big L – The Radio London film and discs
Two last-minute promotions that appeared virtually at Radio London's 'Eve of Destruction' were the Big L record and Big L film. Naturally, these items of merchandise were heavily promoted during the station's final weeks in 1967.

Issued on the Wonderful Radio London label, the record, 'Highlights of Big L', (below, left) went on sale for 12/6d. An edited version of 'Their Final Hour', as broadcast on August 14th, it contains jingles and farewell messages from the DJs and management.

The other 7" Radio London single from 1967 that occasionally comes up for sale is the soundtrack to the 5-minute, 8mm Big L film, made in association with Style productions. The narration by Mark Roman, is heard over the music of the PAMS Sonowaltz ('Big Lil'). Rarely will the single be offered for sale with the film. After so many years, the two will have long-since parted company and many sellers are unaware of what the recording is about. The soundtrack came with a white label, in a plain white sleeve and is recorded on only one side. Unless it has since been hand-labelled by its owner, the recording itself is the only clue to the nature of the 45. It's quite possible that it was pressed in such a hurry that there was no time to print labels.

(Below, right) On my own copy, an obliging boyfriend of the time has labelled both the record and sleeve.

The film plus record cost £1.10s 0d for a black-and white copy and £2.12s 0d for a colour print. However, an extra 10/- was required to purchase a Super 8 version.

The opening shot shows the tender being loaded at the dock, with John Peel aboard, 'on his way to the Perfumed Garden', as Mark Roman tells it on the soundtrack. On the Galaxy, Mark ('a thin Bob Monkhouse' wearing a Vitalis teeshirt) does a studio hand-over to Pete Drummond and is then seen inside his cabin before closing the door on the camera. This is followed by shots of photos and hand-written signs on the cabin doors, including Stewpot's glamourous fiancée Myrtle. Other 'stars' appearing in the studio or galley, or clowning about in the mess, are Willy Walker, Paul Kay, Mich, Tony Brandon and Dave 'Hermione' Hawkins

Somehow, I managed to find the money to buy a colour copy of the film. Although £2.12s 0d made a big hole in a 1967 weekly wage packet of around £9, I just had to have a visual reminder of my beloved Big L! It was the nearest I would ever get to visiting the Galaxy. I had no idea what Super 8 was, or how it differed from Standard 8, so I saw no point in paying an additional ten bob to get it. However, a Standard 8 projector proved hard to come by and the film did have to be converted to the newer Super 8 format for viewing. Over the intervening years, the colour of the original print has faded and the film has been reconverted to various new formats as they have been introduced. The soundtrack single will of course not run in synch with an 8mm film, because it plays at a different speed – 45rpm. My copy has long since been rerecorded and edited to fit the movie.

Mary Payne

Chris Edwards of the Offshore Echoes website writes:
I was surprised to see the Big L film soundtrack as a white label disc, as the one I have is printed. The soundtrack is bright red with silver letters and confusingly, it looks identical to one of the versions of the Final Hour. The only visual difference is a very tiny A and B pressed in the centre vinyl of the final hour release. It's extremely difficult to see, unless you get it in the right light. The soundtrack has what looks like a letter F scratched or stamped in the centre vinyl, although this is on the B side - which contains a test tone track. Again, it's difficult to see. The records are so similar that my copies have had to be hand-labelled to distinguish them.

The soundtrack (far right of photo above), bright red with silver letters looks identical to one of the versions of the Final Hour (left).

I have seen other copies of the soundtrack over the years and again these have all had a printed label.The labels have silver lettering on a maroon background, although there are some with gold lettering on maroon. The picture (top, left) shows the maroon and gold version.

Incidentally the printed 'Radio London' sleeves seem quite rare; all of the discs I've seen have had plain ones.



Funnily enough, until Chris kindly sent these photos of his own copies of the records, I'd only ever seen a white label copy of the film soundtrack; my own, of course, but also two that came up recently (2011) on knee-bay. Perhaps in 1967, unprecedented demand caused the pressing plant to run out of printed labels. Possibly, there was a mishap, causing a number of soundtracks and Final Hours to be printed with the same label. Whatever the case, we know this was a rush job and rush jobs often result in errors.

If anyone has a disc with a different label variation, we'd be interested to add a photo to our collection.


Nowadays, the film can be viewed on Youtube.

All contributions for our scrapbooks will be gratefully received.