VIDEO: The man who put Batley on the map

James Corrigan with Louis Armstrong and Betty Corrigan
James Corrigan with Louis Armstrong and Betty Corrigan

Next week will see the launch of a new book telling the story of how one man put Batley on the map.

‘King of Clubs’ is the story of James Corrigan, founder of the world famous Batley Variety Club.

The book was written by Maureen Prest, a close friend of James Corrigan who worked in promotions and public relations at the club between 1967 and 1974.

It tells the story of James, from his childhood in pre-war England to his idea to bring the world’s biggest stars to Batley.

Maureen said: “James Corrigan’s imagination knew no bounds.

“With the philosophy of ‘think big’ he brought the brightest stars in show business to the industrial mill town of Batley, in the heart of the heavy woollen district of Yorkshire.

Shirley Bassey performing at the Batley Variety Club

Shirley Bassey performing at the Batley Variety Club

“His club played host to the most famous names in show business this side of the Atlantic and beyond, and it was to become the biggest nightclub in western Europe for over ten years.”

The book launch comes 50 years after the club opened its doors for the first time.

Maureen said: “It will be 50 years on March 26, way back in 1967, when James and Betty Corrigan realised their biggest dream by opening the doors

of the Batley Variety Club, changing the face of showbusiness and bestowing a new-found pride in the surrounding areas. The birth of this entertainment venture was to capture the imagination of the world’s press, thus firmly placing Batley on the map for ever more.”

The book launch will take place at Batley Town Hall on Friday 24 March at 11am, 50 years to the weekend from when the Batley Variety Club opened its doors for the first time and became the largest entertainment venue in Western Europe.

The event will be hosted by broadcaster

and author Ian Clayton, and Sammy King,

composer of “Penny Arcade”, will say a few words relating to his meeting with Amer-ican musician Roy Orbison.

Maureen will also sign copies of the book at the event.