Pub life was full of song in old Somers Town; since ‘Every pub had a piano’, singalongs, and often live bands. Along with the popular hits of the day, some songs were particular to Somers Town and appear to be variations on popular lyrics, like ‘Only a shanty in old Somers Town’.
Dancehalls and pubs were big. All pubs had pianos and often had live bands, but DJs were taking on the pianos. Mods are more popular in Somers Town. Local Barry Purchese remembers ‘getting measured up for the your first suit’ in the Mod style, and going to the Tottenham Royal to meet girls and see the Dave Clark Five. - Barry and Danny
The Chalton Street market is a centre of social life, but cinemas are popular such as the Tolmer Cinema, an (in) famous flea-pit. With a terrific double bills of movies, it was the cheapest in London. The audience were a mixture of movie-buffs, homeless street people, a scattering of prostitutes and their potential clients and a few gay men looking for their own kind.
Skiffle bands play in the Somers Town Youth club in Jellicoe Hall. "I had a guitar. Tommie Owen had a banjo. He used to nod his head to change chords. We only knew three chords. I got into motorbikes - that was the end of the skiffle.” - Dave Hoefling.
The ‘Vicar’s club’ in Lancing Street put many boys on the straight and narrow. Father John started up boxing and had rock ‘n roll upstairs.
On July 1968 the Beatles photoshoot ‘Mad Day Out’ in St Pancras Old Churchyard. Somers Town teenager Elaine waits, and does not see them, ‘We were expecting to see a limo... so we didn’t notice they were there right amongst us.’ They’d crept into the crowd unobserved. Photographer Don McCullin wanted no fuss in the photo. She later sees her image in middle of the Beatles album.
At the height of the Cold War, for a few days in May 1969 state-of-the-art fighter jets screamed in and out of Somers Town ‘RAF St Pancras’ just North-East of St Pancras Station at Purchese Street Coal Depot. Somers Town was part of a transatlantic race competition between Post Office Tower and Empire State Building New York. The Daily Mail, sponsoring the races to the tune of £40,000 in prizes. Locals went to watch: ‘remembered the coal dust’ as told to Lester Hillman.