Disco tunes, red lights, and a carpet so sticky you’d get stuck to it if you stood still for too long - the Masquerade Club was a former Chinese restaurant turned basement bar located on Clayton Square. This bar was known for its high camp and punchy energy, where one could expect to be entertained by a Cabaret on a Monday or a ‘cheeky scrap’ on a Saturday. The owner, Harry, was a camp old queen known for his dyed jet-black hair and artificially orange skin. A kind and cheeky soul that would earnestly welcome and befriend anybody who walked through the door. As the clock struck midnight at the ‘Mazzie’, Harry would appear out of the kitchen with a free buffet that often consisted of a platter of cheese and spam sandwiches - only those brave would dare to eat them.

Most of Clayton Square was demolished by the end of the 1980s to make way for the current Clayton Square Shopping district. Today, we begin to revisit this iconic space using the memories of both Chris Bernard and Mark Lees. Each of them shared with me a layout sketch of the bar, brought to life through their vivid descriptions - from the characters they would meet, to the smell of the room and the texture of the sticky carpets - this model stands as a starting point to develop further our understanding of this space, so that hopefully we can once see it again.

Interior of The Masquerade Club on Clayton Square, as remembered by Chris Bernard and Mark Lees today. Newspaper clipping of The Masquerade Club courtesy of John Harrison.

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