Scunthorpe Baths manager dies

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Wed Jun 9 13:49:56 CDT 2004

>From This Is Scunthorpe at:

12:30 - 09 June 2004 

Eric Oates, the man who made the Scunthorpe Baths Hall
the mecca for top showbiz stars from Britain and the
USA, has died in Norfolk aged 85.

By an amazing coincidence the one-time Baths manager
died in hospital on May 31 - the day North
Lincolnshire ceased promoting events at the Doncaster
Road venue, which could soon be demolished. Mr Oates
was appointed by the former Scunthorpe Borough Council
as the hall manager in 1951 but was forced to retire,
through ill-health, in 1975.

At one time he told the Scunthorpe Telegraph he took a
keen note of what the fans wanted.

But he said he would run the Saturday night shows 'off
the cuff' and not bring in mega-stars because in his
view they were 'a complete waste of time'.

Running the Baths for 24 years in 'off the cuff' style
meant in the so-called 'swinging sixties' only The
Beatles and The Rolling Stones did not sign the
contracts he offered.

His record as a promoter was unequalled elsewhere in
the UK.

Mr Oates signed up all the greats like Van Morrison,
The Who, The Animals, The Hollies, The Kinks, Slade,
Sweet, The Searchers, Status Quo and Thin Lizzy - all
for very modest fees.

The stars and their agents knew they would be
hard-pushed to get more than £400 from our man at the

Even comedian Jasper Carrott agreed to appear at the
Baths after the manager offered him £300 to perform a
45-minute routine in 1975.

Mr Oates did not expect the people of North
Lincolnshire to pay more than £1 for a good Saturday
night out.

When The Who played the Baths on October 16 1965, they
were riding high in the top 10 with 'My Generation'.

But the 1,400 fans only had to pay 37 and half pence
to see Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle and Moon, plus
two support bands, Shelley and The Chequers.

The one disappointment for Mr Oates came on April 20
1966 when The Moody Blues failed to turn up and to
console the customers he offered them a cash refund of
12 and a half pence each!

Even in retirement Mr Oates, a widower, followed the
rock and roll business with avid interest.

He even called his retirement home Woodstock in honour
of the festival and the number one record by North
Lincolnshire-born singer Ian Matthews, another of his
guests at the Baths.

A funeral service will be held at the crematorium at
Horsham St Faith, Norfolk on Friday at 3.30pm.

-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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