It was the end of an era when the Batley Frontier closed - but it’s looking like the start of a new one for the famous former nightclub as it undergoes a £2m transformation into a state of the art gym.
Work has been going on for months behind the doors of the Bradford Road building and the new gym, owned by JD, isn’t set to open until early summer - with just 200 places available.
But we’ve now been given a first glimpse of what the gym will look like with this virtual reality preview.
The video’s been widely shared on Facebook and it looks like people are excited to see inside the new facility, which will have hundreds of pieces of gym equipment, free weights and strength areas, more than 300 classes a month, bootcamp, boxing and functional areas, a prowler track, sprint track, ladies only room and rig as well as saunas and free parking.
Starting life as Batley Variety Club in March 1967, it welcomed massive stars of the day including Louis Armstrong, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Roy Orbison, Eartha Kitt, Morecambe and Wise, Gene Pitney, Neil Sedaka and Ken Dodd.
At its peak the club had 300,000 members. It closed in the late 1970s and reopened as Crumpets nightclub, closing again shortly afterwards. In the early 1980s it reopened as the Frontier nightclub and enjoyed years of success on Batley’s Golden Mile before closing for good last year.
On hearing the news Shirley Bassey told the BBC: “I have many happy memories of singing at the Batley Variety Club so sorry to hear it is closing.
“I remember the opening night and I walked into my dressing room. The owner had found out I liked Mars bars and there to greet me was a mountain of Mars bars. It took me a year to eat them and put me off Mars bars for life.”
However the Variety Club and Frontier days haven’t quite been consigned to history - for JDs have planned a memory wall in the gym entrance to commemorate the building’s famous history - and have asked for anyone with pictures of the club in bygone years to share them for the wall.
Amelia Worrell, from JD Gyms, said: “The wall will feature photos of the club and acts from over the years. We’d love the local public to contribute their memories to this.
“The gym development not only sees the landmark building being given a new lease of life, but is also creating 15 jobs.”