Looking back at Hereford’s iconic Crystal Rooms

For those who grew up in the county in the 1990s were lucky enough to have had one of the UK’s biggest club nights on their doorstep.

While the decade is mainly remembered in music circles for BritPop, in Hereford the beat was a quicker one and defined by a counter culture.

The Crystal Rooms in Bridge Street was home to dance music, primarily hard house, but techno, drum ‘n’ bass, hardcore and acid house could also be heard and were the reasons for the huge queues skirting around Bridge Street King Street.

And it was the Naughty But Nice club night, started by DJ Andy Passman, which really put Hereford on the underground music map.

He began promoting nights from the Rooms in 1993 and, before long, Fridays in Hereford had gained a cult following within an alternative section of society.

Jeremy Healy, Paul van Dyk and Tony de Vit were among the DJs who, by 2003, had helped make Naughty But Nice the longest-running club night operating from the same venue in the country – beating heavyweight contenders like Cream and Ministry of Sound.

To any teenager in Hereford, massive crowds – and huge names from the world of music – seemed the norm but the superclub was to close just over a year after records were being broken.

The nightclub remained a popular venue right up until the moment that the then-owner Clive Davies decided it was time to sell up.

The popularity of the club was still evident when Roni Size played at the venue just as news of the sale of the Rooms was revealed.

Many of those there that night in March 2004 may have been the wrong side of their 18th birthday, but were desperate to see what all the fuss had been about from older relatives.

When the club did finally close a few months later, international stars from the world of clubbing lined up to express their sadness and regret.

DJ Judge Jules said: “Naughty But Nice every Friday was an exceptional night, so good that it compelled many of the world’s leading DJs to make one of the most driver-unfriendly journeys possible to Hereford on a regular basis.”

Promoter Steve Harrison added: “To a lot of people, the Rooms is as much a part of Hereford as the Cathedral.”

Shortly after an emotional final night featuring Andy Passman and Tim Hooley, permission was given to convert the site into luxury flats.

But it’s iconic Hereford venues like the Rooms which you’ll be able to reminisce about in our new Facebook group.

If you have any memories of the club, the new We Grew Up In Hereford Facebook group is the place to share thoughts and pictures about the people and places we have loved over the years.

To join the group on Facebook visit bit.ly/HTnostalgia

But it was a sad end to the club’s tenure in the city centre, but its art deco frontage remained when the diggers moved in.

But the interiors of a venue that had not only welcomed DJs but the likes of Bob Monkhouse and Ken Dodd through the 1970s was gone.

Such was the strength of feeling for the Crystal Rooms that an auction was held, selling off 540 items from inside the venue.

Lots ranged from turntables and cash registers to pint glasses and a picture of Marilyn Monroe, with one woman buying a toilet sign.

Zoe Canvin was one of those in attendance and left the auction clutching a toilet sign.

She, like many before her, had made the pilgrimage from Bristol to Bridge Street for her special purchase.

“It looked a bit different without the clubbers,” she told The Hereford Times. “But there was that musky smell that was familiar.

“I have been to clubs in Bristol and Birmingham but the Crystal Rooms had a special appeal and it will be sadly missed.”

Many thousands of others – now aged between 30 and 60 – won’t need rose-tinted specs on to echo those words.

Hereford Times