The Jungle was certainly a rough and tumble sort of place.
The Jungle’s proper name was the Northumberland Arms and it was a three-storey building. Upstairs was classed as the Kontiki Lounge; ground floor was the bar and downstairs was the nightclub.
It had a reputation second to none when it came to variety and entertainment. Everyone you spoke to would condemn it as a dirty old whorehouse, but what people heard were the stories from people who had never even been in the place. Now when we used to go drinking in the early years you were guaranteed to see sailors from all over the world trying their luck with the ladies of the night. Some of these lads would start to get a bit frisky and step out of line but the girls would soon sort them out as they could fight better than men. Like all pubs it was a bit rough round the edges, so if you were looking for trouble you would soon find it.
It was like the night a couple of the boys stepped out of line and one of the larger, older lasses just walloped them and told them to sit down like two naughty boys. Yes, a lot of the girls (who made a very good living) were rough but good looking and you always got a good laugh at their antics. Another thing – I wish I had a pound for each time when I was half drunk one of the girls politely told me to go away when I had asked them for a dance.
Now the nightclub downstairs was fantastic because when it came to dress code the simple answer was NONE REQUIRED! As long as you could walk in, you were made welcome by the doorman because they got about 25p (5/-) a head entrance fee. It would not be the first time we have come off the boat with wellies and boiler suit stinking to the high heavens and gone to the night club for a couple of pints. Now once in the night club it was like entering the Black Hole of Calcutta and I can safely say a miner’s hat would not go amiss to find your way round. The good thing was if someone was having a punch up, nine times out of ten it could be all over before the lights came on no no-one got thrown out.
The Jungle was certainly a rough and tumble sort of place but you were always guaranteed a good laugh and a good night out. To put it in simple words I would say it was A VERY EDUCATIONAL insight to us young lads. Today it is now a block of posh flats called COLLINGWOOD MANSIONS.