Hidden History of Stockport College: The Purple Gang

Hidden History of Stockport College: The Purple Gang

The Purple Gang, composed of former Stockport College students were always going to stand out, rubbing elbows with the likes of David Bowie, Cat Stevens and Pink Floyd.

At Stockport College we’ve always been known to think outside the box - just a quick look at the blueprint for our new building designs will tell you that - so is it any wonder that the musical talent of our former art students on homemade instruments caught the attention of iconic psychedelic rock band, Pink Floyd and the legendary David Bowie?

The Purple Gang composed of former Stockport College students were always going to stand out. Pete Walker led on vocals and kazoo, Gerry Robinson on electric mandolin and harmonica, Geoff Bowyer on piano and washboard, Joe Beard playing guitar, and Trevor Langley making music with a jug.

The creativity of the group bore out onstage with the band well known for their outrageous stage performances, with music site Pooterland reporting that the band wore gangster outfits and fired blanks into their audiences.

The Purple Gang hit the big time when their demo was picked up by Transatlantic Records in London. They met Pink Floyd recording in the same studio where Syd Barret offered the artists one of his songs, Boon Tune.

After performing several major gigs, including UFO and the Technicolour Festival at London venue Alexandra Palace, the group disbanded only to re-emerge with a new line up in order to honour the record contract before breaking up yet again. According to Manchesterbeat, they did, however, play college halls in 1968 and a homecoming gig alongside David Bowie, as well as alongside with Cat Stevens, the Kinks, T Rex, Slade and Hawkwind, reported Pooterland.

Purple Gang member Trevor ‘Ank’ Langley came back to the College for a time to tutor in graphics.

Who will you meet at Stockport College and what noises can you make in our new £24m worth of open-plan creative space? As part of our changes, expect curriculum areas to be grouped together, increased footfall from employers to our new business centre, better entry space, improved access, a light and welcoming courtyard, and more environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient modern buildings.