Pre-Broad Street ‘Golden Mile’, John Bright Street was one of the places, if not THE place, to be for for a night out in Birmingham City Centre. Originally opening in 1979, Edward’s Number 7 bar and Edward’s Number 8 nightclub above it were the 7th and 8th clubs/bars to be opened by Birmingham club impresario Edward Fewtrell – hence their names – and marked a concentration of his clubs/bars in one area with Abigail’s and Rebecca’s also on John Bright Street and later Gowldwyns and Paramount just around the corner.
The ‘bar’ element comprising Number 7’s occupied the bottom two floors of the building and was located at the frontage onto John Bright Street with the entrance on the corner of that and Lower Severn Street as seen above. The Number 8’s nightclub – also occupying two floors – was accessed via an entrance on Lower Severn Street at its corner with Beak Street – to the extreme right of the above shot.
Whilst initially a reasonably successful club and bar, Number 8’s began to flag and in 1987 became a Rock club (Edward’s Rock Complex) catering for the City’s heavy metal/hard rock fraternity and became a phenomenal success and also opened itself up for gigs by rock bands and hosted some soon to be huge groups such as Faith No More.
Unfortunately, Ansell’s Leisure bought the premises from Mr Fewtrell in 1989 and rather ruined what had been a successful club. They also changed Number 7’s from two floors to one and renamed it Bizzy Lizzies – for some reason better known to themselves. However, with newer, more exciting and more heavily invested-in venues springing up elsewhere – particularly around Broad Street – John Bright Street began to lose its appeal and with it the old Number 7s began to fade away.
In November of 2006 a fire completely gutted the building (a similar thing happened to Boogies Nightclub too when that part of John Bright Street was earmarked for redevelopment oddly enough) and what remains today – as seen above and below – is a new building built within the facade preserved from the original structure. Whilst ‘Eddie’s Rock Club’ lives on in name only at a nearby venue – the original is well and truly no more. The Westside Two development Scheme that encompasses John Bright Street has now ensured that, some may argue, pointless office blocks prevail in the area and that the night life has long since left the buildings!
For my personal recollections of Edward’s Number 8 as a rock club, please see my Edward’s No.8 Night Club – The Rock Complex Remembered article.