I would like to start by thanking all the customers, Plymouthians, Matelots, Marines, Sub Mariners, Students (if they were brave enough!) and anyone else I may have forgotten for making Jesters one of the most popular and busiest clubs Plymouth has ever seen.
Jesters is now in its 16th year of business and has been owned and run by the same family members for all those years - Gill, Ken, David and Steve (or mum, dad, bruv and me!)
So on with the history...
God, where do I begin, it’s been so long now I have trouble remembering myself, but here goes...
The birth of Plymouth's most infamous nightclub started in 1991 (a lot of you reading this were probably only just out of your nappies then).
Jesters was born from the remnants of an old club called MR SWEETS. We owned and built Mr Sweets, but never ran it. We retired, and leased it to another club owner, who subsequently got into financial difficulties after a few years. So we took it back, closed the doors, and wondered what to do with it.
We then came up with the stupidest idea ever, lets rename it, refurbish it and run it ourselves!!!!!!!!!! (even though at the time none of us new the the first thing about nightclubs).
All we knew of the Infamous Union Street back 16 years ago was that it was the place to go and get your head filled in. Well, that's what the papers led me to believe back then, but now I'm older and wiser I realise what "creative journalism" is, and what sells papers and what doesn't. I now realise that you guys and girls love to read about someone getting "donked" on the head with a bottle in Union St, rather than reading which Club has just raised £18,000 for charity (ahem!).
Anyway, back to 16 years ago. So we went ahead with it, and to cut a long story very short, JESTERS was born.
I must admit, I opened the doors to the public on the first night thinking, "what the heck, I’ll do this for a year and see how it goes"! 4 hours and a 1,000 customers later, I locked the doors to go home and thought, "sod that, make it a few weeks"!
I had never seen anything like it in my life – let me explain, it was nothing bad, but when you come from teaching computers in Totnes to groups of laid back hippies (like I did), then get thrown in the deep end in Union Street with 500 boisterous Plymouthians and 500 matelots and marines, IT'S A CULTURE SHOCK!
Back in 1990-91, there were only a handful of clubs in the Union Street Area. Jesters, Blondes, OZ, Sgt Peppers, The Street, and a few smaller venues that I can't even remember now. Also, I think The Ritzy was open, it's so long ago now it makes my head hurt thinking back that far. It's not that I'm going cuckoo or anything but when you been in clubland for 17 years and see about a 1,000 customers a night and get into bed at 4 or 5am for that many years, your life becomes one big blurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
From then on, 16 years of madness have never stopped, I've seen things most of you wouldn't believe if I told you. I could make a fortune doing after dinner speeches with the tales I could tell, the daft and ridiculous things I've witnessed, most would make you laugh, some would make you cringe, and few would make you cry.
For nearly 17 years now, Jesters has been one of the No.1 busiest clubs in Plymouth. Can't really put my finger on the success of it, except for one thing – YOU THE CUSTOMERS. YOU’VE VOTED WITH YOUR FEET AND BEEN COMING HERE FOR ALL THOSE YEARS AND STILL KEEP COMING – THANK YOU!