Wigan Casino  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Wigan Casino was a nightclub in Wigan, Greater Manchester, England famed as a primary venue for Northern Soul music. It operated between 1973 and 1981.

The Casino remains considered one of the most famous clubs in the North of England. In 1978, the influential American music magazine Billboard officially voted it "The Best Disco in the World", ahead of New York's Studio 54

It was a major venue for Northern Soul music, carrying forward the legacy created at the Twisted Wheel in Manchester and Stoke-upon-Trent's legendary club The Golden Torch in Tunstall.

History

The Casino had previously been a popular dance-hall. It was opened in September 1973 by Russ Winstanley, who was also the club's DJ. Many famous soul performers appeared here, including Jackie Wilson, Edwin Starr and Junior Walker.

Youngsters from all over the UK regularly made the trek to "The Casino" to hear the latest Northern Soul artists. Queues to get in were sometimes 5 and 6 deep and stretched round the corner up into the town centre. The second dance floor, "Mr M's", opened during the all-nighter till 6 am and played oldies from a variety of top DJ's.

Amphetamine and other drug abuse led to the downfall of the club with pressure from the Police and the Local Authority forced it to close in 1981. The building itself burned down a year later.

Legacy

  • This England, a TV documentary about the venue, was filmed in 1977.
  • Winstanley wrote a history of the club, The Wigan Casino Story, published in 1996.
  • A stage play about the Casino years, Once upon a time in Wigan, written by Mick Martin, debuted in February 2003 at the Contact Theatre, Manchester, and has since toured nationally.


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Wigan Casino" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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