LARGE crowds gathered as a building which played a key role in East Lancashire’s musical heritage went up in flames.

In 1976, the Nelson’s Column nightclub was burned to the ground.

In the Sixties, the building was The Imperial Ballroom - known by its nickname The Imp - which had welcomed some of the biggest names in the music business ranging from the Beatles and Rolling Stones to Otis Redding.

Residents from Gordon Road in Nelson which overlooked the rear of the premises were evacuated and at its height, more than 50 fire fighters were involved.

The thick smoke from the blaze could be seen in Burnley town centre.

The Imperial opened in 1910 as a roller skating rink before becoming a ballroom in 1924.