IT WAS a rare film that captured the atmosphere of Southampton’s 1960s music scene.

But Concorde Club boss Cole Mathieson had almost given up hope of ever finding the footage of a rhythm and blues session led by a band which became one of the super-groups of the decade.

Now the 50-year search is over, because it has been found on the other side of the Atlantic.

The incredible discovery was made in a treasure trove of more than 100 hours of classic British TV drama and documentaries which film historians feared had been wiped out.

A chance find by an American television researcher at the Library of Congress in Washington DC has uncovered an amazing collection of previously lost British television.

And it comes exactly 50 years after the cameras rolled at The Concorde Club, which was then squeezed into a back room of Southampton’s former Bassett Hotel, in Burgess Hotel. (Today its home is in Stoneham Lane, Eastleigh.) Back in the early ’60s, the club’s resident band Manfred Mann were filmed bySouthernTelevision’s teatime programmeDay ByDay.The band were then on the verge of the big time.

A delighted Mr Mathieson told the Daily Echo: “I have been trying to get a copy of the film ever since it was made. It was on 16mm film reel, and there was no video so we thought it might have been deleted. From time to time members have asked me whatever had happened to the film, and I am absolutely delighted that after all these years we have found it.”

It was a Concorde member who alerted Cole to the British Film Institute’s (BFI) Missing Believed Wiped presentation, documenting lost clips of more than 65 unique recordings of British television.

Cole went to the BFI’s London headquarters for a screening of the lost Concorde film.

It was through Andover-born Mike Hugg, an original member of Manfred Mann, that he managed to get a copy, which now has pride of place in the club’s archives.

The film captures the red hot atmosphere of the Concorde’s Bassett Hotel days, when Portsmouth-born leader singer Paul Jones and his bandmates raised the roof with punchy R’n’B numbers in the packed club.

Cole recalled: “You could not squeeze a cat in, let alone swing it, and every inch of the dance floor was taken.

“To this day I have rarely seen as much excitement as generated by the Manfred Mann band. It was Southampton’s equivalent of Beatlemania. We installed Manfred Mann as the resident band and in 1963 cameras from Southern Television accompanied the group, using their gig as a background for a documentary on local lads made good – Mike Hugg, Mike Vickers andPaul Jones.”

Cameras zoomed in to get close-up interviews with the club members and the live stage action, including the charismatic Paul Jones.

And Cole, who has enjoyed reliving the early days of the Concorde, said: “The film is very fast-moving, but I still remember some of those faces.”

From the euphoria of their Concorde residency, Manfred Mann – still playing today as The Manfreds – were soon rocketing to stardom.

They took the pop world by storm with their infectious 5-4-3-2-1, which became the signature tune for the groundbreaking TV pop show Ready Steady Go!.

The band went on to score 15 UK top 20 singles.