Sheffield Wapentake rock bar landlady Olga Marshall saved a legendary show by Def Leppard

When one of the world's biggest rock bands shuns the country’s arenas in favour of an intimate gig in your pub, you’d think you’d welcome it with open arms.

Tuesday, 8th September 2020, 6:49 pm

But when Def Leppard attempted to book a gig at Sheffield's Wapentake Bar they were given short shrift - “Sorry love, we don't put bands on any more,” said the barmaid.

Olga Marshall, the venue's legendary manager, was on holiday at the time and was suitably horrified when she heard what had happened.

She quickly got on the phone to the band's management, apologised and rescued the situation.

Olga Marshall at one of her bars, The Buccaneer

Her intervention paved the way for one of the most famous shows ever seen in the Steel City - the night the multi-million-selling Def Leppard returned to perform in her honour for the same £15 fee she'd paid them when they were a struggling rock band in 1979.

Now a new range of merchandise is being released by local social historian Neil Anderson - creator of the Dirty Stop Outs series of books and events.

The new range celebrates Olga Marshall's influence on the rock scene in Sheffield and remembers venues like the Wapentake, Rebels and the Casbah.

Def Leppard perform in honour of Olga Marshall at the Wapentake in 1995

Always impeccably dressed without a hint of denim or leather, Olga Marshall, who died last year aged 92, was already a mother of four by 1972. She didn't smoke and she rarely drank, said Neil.

She also ran The Buccaneer on Leopold Street, where she started work as a barmaid in 1964.

Olga recalled in 2012: “We'd only got a jukebox, so I spoke to the management about getting a DJ in.

"I tracked down George Webster, who was playing at the Cannon Hall social club at Page Hall.

Sheffield's much-missed rock bar the Wapentake

"The Buccaneer took more on our first night with George than it did on its average weekend.”

Def Leppard performed at the Wapentake Bar for the last time on October 5, 1995 in the presence of Olga Marshall and the world's press.

The bar, which stood at the foot of the Grosvenor House Hotel, eventually became the Casbah, another fondly-remembered rock bar.

That venue finally disappeared when the hotel complex was demolished to make way for a new-look city centre.

The crowd enjoy Def Leppard live at the Wapentake on October 5, 1995

All three bars are much mourned by Sheffield rock fans. It clearly has a special place in the heart of Def Leppard as well – as did Olga Marshall.

The Sheffield rock merchandise can be viewed at Neil Anderson’s website,

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Legendary landlady Olga Marshall at the Wapentake
One of the new range of T-shirts celebrating the Wapentake