The Marcus Garvey Club was based at the old St Mary’s Church Hall on St John’s Street near the gas silo and now the site of the Wellington Street car park. It largely catered for the city’s West Indian community with live local reggae acts being the order of the day, such as Peterborough’s “first ever reggae band” The Legions and also Masai.

However, as Bob Marley pronounced in his hit “Punky Reggae Party”, the reggae scene was an unlikely bed-fellow to the emerging punk scene of the mid-late 1970s and, under the banner of a local anti-racism movement, the Marcus Garvey Club played host to a small number of London based punk bands such as the Killjoys, 999, The Slits and Eater as well as local punk bands such as The Now ….. proclaimed Peterborough’s “first ever punk band” and who rehearsed at the club from early 1977.

The centre moved to Cromwell Road (to the site of today’s Harambee House next to Hobsons Youth Project) in the early 1980s before a major fire forced it back across to the current day Afro Caribbean Centre.

St Mary’s Church Hall in the early 1960s – home to the Marcus Garvey Club in the late 1970s.
Peterborough’s punk pioneers The Now on stage at the Marcus Garvey Club in 1977 [Photo: Allen Adams]