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!

The Francis Pullen Collection
Thanks to a house clear-out in 2007, we gained a new source of clippings

In January 2007, Francis wrote:

Thanks so much for providing such a great site for so long! I was a fanatical Big L listener as my teen years were bang in the middle of the 'pirate' era - I was 14 when Big L hit the air and my passion continued after Aug 14 with the advent of RNI and Laser 558, but Big L was a hard act to follow!

I have quite a collection of Big L and other offshore stations press cuttings that I no longer have room to store due to recent house downsizing! I would be happy to donate these to you if they're relevant. If not then reluctantly they'll have to go elsewhere, which probably means the tip!

Material comes from the national press, Disc & Music Echo and Melody Maker from the mid-60s to post 14/08/67. Also original material from the Free Radio Association and Mi Amigo Club etc, including original Big L and SRE/BR car stickers, and some information I collected myself.
We could hardly let this collection go to the tip! So below, with grateful thanks to Francis, are the first gems out of the box, from the December '65 opening of the Big L Discotheque. Miss June Bellas, where are you?

June 2009, Jo Perry wrote:
"You were asking where June Bellas was now. I do remember I baby sat for her daughter called Ursula, born in 1970. The last time I saw June was about 1975, she was doing film extra work, and was living in Worlds End near Fulham. I have no idea where she is now. It would be nice to know what she is up to these days – or her beautiful daughter Ursula Bellas."


"The first of a series of Discothéques, jointly operated by the Radio London 'Big L' Fan Club and J Lyons Limited, will be opened on Friday December 3rd at 122 Charing Cross Road. The Discothéque will be open seven days a week from 8.00pm till 2.00am with extra afternoon sessions on Saturdays and Sundays. Admission will be for members and guests only. Soft drinks, beverages and snacks will be served and there will be dancing to discs spun by a girl disc jockey. An added attraction will be frequent personal appearances of Radio London disc jockeys and top name pop groups, personalities, film stars, etc."

Unfortunately, the above presser and the display advert (left) failed to attract much publicity, but a feature appeared in the New Year edition of the Belgian magazine 'Jukebox'. (See story below)

The Radio London Club was now registered independently of Radlon (Sales) Ltd as the Big L Club Ltd, with Philip Birch and M I Brook Greville as its directors. The new company ran both the Radio London Club and the Big L Discothéque from Radlon's existing offices at 17 Curzon Street. (In 1965, the word 'discothéque' had not yet been abbreviated to 'disco'.) The intention was to follow up the London club launch with the opening of a chain of discothéques across the country. A deal was made with J Lyons Ltd, who operated the famous Lyons Corner House restaurants and tea shops, which with their uniformed waitresses known as 'nippies', had been a British institution since the early 20th Century. Lyons owned premises in most reasonably-sized towns and naturally, London contained several. Their teashop at 122-124 Charing Cross Road had closed in April 1965. Presumably Lyons still owned the premises and viewed a dance venue in swinging London, operated in conjunction with Radio London, as a profitable new venture. Lyons was already using the station for its advertising.

It's uncertain how long 122 Charing Cross Road continued to be used as a discothéque, only that the proposed clubs for Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Birmingham never opened. Whether or not the Radio London connection was to have been used to promote these other clubs is unknown, but clearly, the name would have had limited appeal in areas where the station could barely be picked up.

Membership to the new club was (15/-) fifteen shillings for girls, and rather unfairly, one pound for boys! However, if you had already joined the Radio London Club, the fees were reduced to (12/6) twelve shillings and sixpence. On weekdays, the lads paid 5/- admission, while their guests (presumably regardless of their gender) parted with 7/6. Weekends saw prices rise to 7/6, guests 10/-. Once again, the girls fared better, paying only 4/- for weekday admittance, while their guests shelled-out an extra shilling. At weekends the ladies parted with 6/-, their guests 7/6. Prices were subject to change on Bank (i.e. public) Holidays - which invariable means that they would go up!

122 Charing Cross Road later became a branch of Macaris Musical Instruments, which in 2011, still inhabits the Charing Cross Road but is now at number 92-94. The home of the Big L Discothéque became a Borders book shop.

With grateful thanks to Brian Long, and Lyons historian Peter Bird.

J Lyons website

Thanks also to Shirley, who was selling a copy of 'Parade' featuring June Bellas as covergirl on ebay. Shirley kindly allowed us to add her scan of the front cover to our mini-feature.

Many more cuttings from the Francis Pullen collection: Summer 67 and Beyond Summer 67

More on the Big L Discothéque
Wim van Genderen from the Netherlands says, "I was reading one of my Sixties magazines, when I found some information about Radio London. It came from the Belgian magazine Jukebox, number 117 from January 1 1966 and is written in Dutch. Six deejays are introduced and some information is given about stars performing at the Big L Discothéque. The feature also talks about Radio London deejays playing records at the Discothéque and the Marquee Club."

Many thanks to Wim for his contribution. The magazine may have got John Edward's name wrong, but it's very interesting to see Twinkle sporting the 1965 Big L teeshirt. (Click on the photo for a legible version.)


David Lee shares a couple of personal reactions to sad photos of the Galaxy

I have been a regular visitor to your site now many times. I love the site, as it brings back very fond memories of my youth listening to the offshore stations. And of course living in the Essex area all my life, Radio London was by far, for me anyway, the most popular, professional and better station.

Way back in 1986/7 I was in contact with Theo Denker who kindly sent to me some pictures of the breaking up of the MV Galaxy and a very sad lot of pics they were too, no doubt they have been seen many times, by many people since then. But, at the time, I thought it would be nice to send copies to some offshore people at the time who were involved with Radio London in the Sixties.

I selected three people, just to see their comments. They were Tony Blackburn, Kenny Everett, and Eddie Blackwell. Well two of the three replied – Eddie Blackwell and Kenny Everett (below).

I found the letters when clearing out and wondered if you would be interested in copies of them for your site.

Once again, many thanks for the website. I know a lot of time goes into this sort of thing.

David Lee

Tim Schwabedissen's collection of photos of the demise of the Galaxy in Kiel harbour are here.

All contributions for our scrapbooks will be gratefully received