Mecca Leisure Group

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Mecca Leisure Group
Founded 1933 (as Mecca Agency Limited)
  • Cyril L. Heimann
  • Byron Davies
Headquarters London, England, UK
Key people
Michael Guthrie, Chairman

Mecca Leisure Group (also known as Mecca Leisure Ltd, Mecca Ltd, and Mecca Dance Ltd) was a British business that ran nightclubs, hotels, theme parks, bingo parlors and Hard Rock Cafes.[1] During the 1960s, Mecca was a centre of entertainment with numerous nightclubs throughout major United Kingdom towns and cities. Mecca ballrooms were used for the BBC TV show Come Dancing.[2] Eric Morley was a general manager of dancing at Mecca Leisure Group and was involved in the Miss World competitions.

Notable DJs performing at Mecca nightclubs include Jimmy Savile[3][4] from 1960[5] and Pete Waterman.

The Coventry Locarno is the subject of the Specials song "Friday Night, Saturday Morning", B-side to Ghost Town.[6] Also, Chuck Berry's live version of "My Ding-a-Ling" was recorded there.


The Mecca Leisure Group has its origins in the Mecca Agency Limited, a company co-founded by Carl L. Heimann and Byron Davies in 1933 to operate the recently created dance hall chain Mecca Dancing.[7]

In 1989, the company acquired Pleasurama plc.[8]

In 1990, the Rank Organisation made an offer of £512m to acquire Mecca Leisure Group, which was initially rejected, and then accepted two months later.[1][9]


Venue Location Opening Closure
Locarno Ballroom[10] Basildon 1961
Blackpool Mecca Blackpool 1965
Mecca Locarno[11] Coventry
Ilford Palais[12] London
Locarno Ballroom[13] Glasgow 1926
Mecca Locarno Ballroom[5] Leeds 1938 1969
Locarno Liverpool 1948
Lyceum Theatre London 1834
Southampton Royal Pier[14] Southampton 1963 1979
Stockport Plaza[15] Stockport 1965
Mecca Dance Hall Tottenham London 1910 2004
Hammersmith Palais London 1919 2007
Sherwood Rooms Nottingham 1957 1984


  1. ^ a b "The Rank Group plc - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on The Rank Group plc". Retrieved 2011-01-16.
  2. ^ "Come Dancing - UKGameshows". Retrieved 2011-01-16.
  3. ^ "A Study in Branding Popular Entertainment". Archived from the original on 28 January 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
  4. ^ "Jimmy Savile". Archived from the original on 22 September 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
  5. ^ a b "Leodis - a photographic archive of Leeds - Display". Retrieved 2011-01-16.
  6. ^ "The Specials - Music / Lyrics". Retrieved 2015-08-15.
  7. ^ Nott, James (2015). Going to the Palais: A Social and Cultural History of Dancing and Dance Halls in Britain, 1918-1960. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199605194. pp. 26-27.
  8. ^ Ball, Aimee Lee (July 1991). "Mr Universe". New York Magazine. 24 (27): 38.
  9. ^ "Rank Group Plc - About us - History". Retrieved 2011-01-16.
  10. ^ "Basildon - A Chronological History 1960 - 1969". Retrieved 2011-01-16.
  11. ^ "The Coventry kid who made good". Retrieved 2011-01-16.
  12. ^ "When the local palais was the place to be dancing". Archived from the original on 14 August 2010. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
  13. ^ Evening Times (March 30, 2015). "Memories: it was strictly for dancing at the Locarno Ballroom in 1962". Evening Times. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  14. ^ "English Seaside Piers - Royal Pier, Southampton". Archived from the original on 27 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
  15. ^ "BBC - In pictures: Stockport Plaza". 2009-12-11. Retrieved 2011-01-16.

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