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Last Updated: Friday, 1 September 2006, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK
City's oldest club closes doors
Barons nightclub
The changing face of Swansea's nightlife is blamed for the closure
The oldest nightclub in Swansea has closed its doors for the final time after 33 years.

Slade, Donny Osmond and Peters and Lee topped the charts while disco had yet to arrive when Barons opened in 1973.

It became one of the best-known venues in south west Wales, helped by its appearance in the cult film Twin Town.

But it has shut for the final time with increased competition and changes to the licensing laws being blamed for its demise.

The venue, on College Street, started life as the Townsman and six years later was renamed Barons.

"It was still very much live music at that time and Tony Christie, Freddie and Dreamers and Bonnie Tyler all played there," said John, a regular throughout the 1970s.

It was in 1975 while performing at the club that Tyler, famous for songs such as Lost in France and Total Eclipse of the Heart, attracted the attention of the music industry.

It led to her move to London, where she recorded the single My, My, Honeycomb.

'Tie and shirt'

"I remember when it opened there were a lot of mirrors - it stayed open until midnight downstairs were the dance floor was and 2am upstairs which was more like a small cabaret-type room," added John.

"If you did not have a tie and shirt you would not get in - there were no jeans and no leathers.

"It was really good - there was very rarely any nonsense - the bouncers were pretty good there and you would be out before anything started.

"Anyway everyone wore suits then so no-one wanted to damage them."

Nightlife changes

Since the late 1990s, Barons has increasingly been a student venue, but competition increased with the development of nearby Wind Street with its many late pubs, clubs and restaurants.

The future of the building is now unclear but its owners have blamed changes to the city's nightlife for its closure.

The relaxation of drinking hours last year also bit with Barons saying it meant many people were no longer willing to pay to enter a club when they could drink in a pub until at least 0100BST and entry was free.

"It's a shame - you would get people from all over south Wales," added John.

"It was great in its time."

We asked for your memories of Swansea's oldest nightclub. Here are a selection:

We live in a changing world, but still a shame... Had some fun times at Barons in the mid-1980s as a student in lovely Swansea - and fell for my first true love on its floors... Fond memories...
Mark Liddiard, Perth, Western Australia

My father Doug was fortunate enough to be compere at the Townsman and is always regaling us with his tales of what went on in what was South Wales premier club at the time, the place to be seen. One of his favorites is the time Matt Munro was performing, Dad, a great fan of Munro's had gone on stage and sung one or two numbers to warm up the crowd and after they'd settled began his intrduction of the great man. 'Ladies and Gentlemen please put your hands together and give a big warm welcome to .... Blank! He'd completely forgotten his name. Luckily Matt saw the funny side of it and went down a storm. Mum and Dad have many many happy memories of those years and made many friends some of whom they are still in touch with. I'm sure they''ll be sad to learn of its closure.
Jason Evans, Swansea, S.Wales

Barons was legendary amongst us lads - and it will be sorely missed. If we didnt feel like standing around trying to look cool in a young, trendy club, Barons was the place we'd go for a guaranteed laugh. Swansea will never be the same.
Leighton Williams, Neath, Wales

Home of the Penlan School 6th Form Disco in the early 1980's, ah, the memories.... Barons RIP
David Williams, London now, Swansea then...

Last time I went to Barons I was chatted up by a guy wearing slippers and the dancefloor was full of people in their 50s and 60s. There didn't seem to be any effort to attract the younger generation - those who are more likely to go out every week. I'm not surprised it's having to close.
Claire, Swansea

I remember in the late 70's and early 80's Barons had a Grab a Grannie image. Most women over 30, in little black dresses with white stilettos!!
Carol, Wales

Nobody likes paying entry to a nightclub anyway, isn't it the owners fault for not realising that times change and maybe if they dropped the entry fee they'd still be around?

I would never go into a nightclub if it charged a fee.
Jonathan, Swansea

It's a little harsh to say it's the owners fault! Running a nightclub in Swansea is becoming increasingly difficult as the competition from Wind Street is doubling- particularly now most of the pubs and clubs down there have now got late licences. No one can be bothered to walk up to the Kingsway- and I don't know of one club in Swansea city centre that never charges a fee. But I'll always have fond memories of Barons (or at least fond blanks in my memory when i have apparently been in Barons!)
Laura, Swansea

i'm sorry to hear about the townsman/barrons, it was easy to walk home from after hours to port tennant i can remember when it was called the embassy club.
weller, edinburgh

"2 flights of heaven" gone for ever! Ah the memories...
Toj , Swansea UK

Rubiks Cube 2003-2006 @ Bar 5, Barons. (Fabio, Andy C, High Contrast, etc) Loved it! Thanks Al, Marilyn and Steve. All the best for the future guys whatever you get up to!
Jared, Swansea (in it?)

They have had some wicked Drum & Bass nights there over the last few years and other dance nights. Barons/Bar 5 you will be missed.
Dai Roberts, Port Talbot, Wales

When I was a student in Swansea Barons has good on a Wednesday night. But on the weekends it was like being in the cantina bar in Star Wars. No wonder its closed. Swansea should be happy :-). Out with the old
Joseba Prendergast, Houston Texas

The end of an era - whilst I am sure there will be sticky carpet clubs elsewhere none were so sticky as Barons - but the music, something for everyone, somewhere, some night of the week..... RIP variety and character
Mel, formerly Swansea now NZ

Great place to work, amazing bar and door staff. Will be sorely missed
Becka, Swansea

Spent a few sticky carpet nights in barons and will be happy to see it go. Not a good example of a teen friendly club..hated it
robert, caerphilly

Be missed a lot but we have to move on with the times and its sad that Barons will not be coming with us. Well at least no one has to waalk up those steep stairs anymore, ha ha ha.
KEV, Liverpool, but born and bread a Swansea Jack




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