Mecca Ltd published a 1977 Managers Handbook of all venues. Listed below are those in the Dance Halls and Disco section

Mecca Ltd published a 1977 Managers Handbook of all venues. Listed below are those in the Dance Halls and Disco section. Clearly many of the iconic ones are now gone, some by way of demolition, or change of use. Others exist to this day, usually after a mixed bag of owners, name changes and a multitude of managers.

We hope you find the following list interesting, and perhaps worthy of a comment –

Basildon Raquel`s 23 Market Pavement
Bath Tiffany`s Sawclose
Berwick on Tweed Caesar`s Palace Hyde Hill
Birmingham Gay Tower Reservoir Road, Edgebaston
Birmingham Locarno Hurst Street
Birmingham Mayfair Bullring Centre, Smallbrook, Queensway
Birmingham Samantha`s Pershaw Street
Birmingham Tiffany`s Long Lane, Blackheath, Halesowen
Blackburn Golden Palms St Peter Street
Blackpool Tiffany`s Central Drive
Bolton Palais Bridge Street
Bournemouth Tiffany`s 570. Christchurch Road Boscombe
Bradford Annabella`s Little Horton Lane
Bradford Locarno Manningham Lane
Bristol Locarno New Bristol Centre, Frogmore Street
Bristol Mayfair New Bristol Centre, Frogmore Street
Bristol Raquel`s New Bristol Centre, Frogmore Street
Bristol Tiffany`s Durdham Down
Burnley Cat`s Whiskers Centenary Way
Burnley Lancastrian Centenary Way
Burslem Adulte Ballroom Waterloo Road, Stoke on Trent
Carlisle Tiffany`s 81 – 87 Botchergate
Chester Tiffany`s Foregate Street
Coalville Tiffany`s Marlbrough Square
Coventry Tiffany`s Smithford Way
Darlington Tiffany`s (Opening November 1976 ???)
Darwen Tiffany`s Above Coop, School Street
Derby Tiffany`s Babbington Lane
Dewsbury Tiffany`s Field House, Wellington Street
Dundee Tiffany`s 106 Nethergate
Dunstable Tiffany`s Broadwall, The Quadrant
Edinburgh Tiffany`s 99 St Stephen`s Street
Exeter Zhivago`s 13 – 14 Okehampton Street
Glasgow Plaza Eglinton Toll
Glasgow Tiffany`s Sauchiehall Street
Gloucester Tiffany`s Station Road
Great Yarmouth Tiffany`s Marine Parade
Grimsby Tiffany`s Wintringham Road
Guilford Annabella`s 4 – 6 Upper North Street
Halifax Tiffany`s Broad Street
Harlow Tiffany`s Market Square, The High
Harrogate Bali Ha`i Commercial Street
Harrogate Annabella`s Station Parade
Hinkley Tiffany`s The Horsefair
Hull Bali bHa`i George Street
Hull Tiffany`s/Annabella`s Ferensway
Ilford Tiffany`s 246 – 250 High Road
King`s Lynn Tiffany`s Norfolk Street/Broad Street
Leeds Cat`s Whiskers Meanwood
Leeds Tiffany`s Merrion Centre, Merrion Street
Leicester Palais Humberstone Gate
Leicester Tiffany`s Corn Exchange, Market Place South
Liverpool Grafton Rooms West Derby Road
Liverpool Tiffany`s India Builodings, Water Street
London Bali Ha`i 386 Streatham High Road
London Cafe de Paris Coventry Street
London Cat`s Whiskers 158 Streatham High Road
London Empire Rooms 161 Tottenham Court Road
London Lyceum Wellington Street, The Strand
London Mayfair High Road, Tottenham
London Palais 242 Shepherd`s Bush Road, Hammersmith
London Tiffany`s 24 Shaftsbury Avenue
London Tiffany`s 111/115 The Broadway, Wimbledon
Manchester Caroline`s 111a Deansgate
Manchester Ritz Whitworth Street
Manchester Tiffany`s 27a Oxford Road
Merthyr Tydfil Tiffany`s New Market Walk, The Precinct
Middlesbrough Tiffany`s 234 Linthorpe Road
Newcastle upon Tyne Mayfair Newgate Street
Newcastle upon Tyne Tiffany`s 49 New Bridge Street
Newport Tiffany`s Bridge Street, Gwent
Norwich Norwood Rooms Aylsham Road
Norwich Samson and Hercules Tombland
Nottingham Palais Parliament Street
Nottingham Sherwood Rooms Greyfriar Gate
Nottingham Tiffany`s 74 Victoria Centre
Oldham Cat`s Whiskers Union Street
Portsmouth Locarno Arundel Street
Purley Tiffany`s 112 Brighton Road
Rochdale Tiffany`s 6 Nelson Street
Rotherham Tiffany`s Main Street
Sale Blue Room 56 Washway Road
Sale Tiffany`s 56 Washway Road
Scarborough Tiffany`s Bar House, Aberdeen Walk
Scunthorpe Tiffany`s Doncaster Road
Sheffield Crazy Daizy 11 – 17 High Street
Sheffield Samantha`s Queen`s Road
Sheffield Tiffany`s 33 – 49 London Road
Shrewsbury Tiffany`s Riverside Shopping Centre, Raven Meadows
Southend on Sea Zhivago`s 355 Chartwell Square, Victoria Circus
Southampton Royal Pier Ballroom Pavilion, Royal Pier
Southport Tiffany`s 549 Liverpool Road, Ainsdale
Stafford Top of the World Newport Road
Stevenage Tiffany`s Danestrete
Newcastle under Lyme Tiffany`s Crystal Buildings, Hassell Street
Sunderland Locarno Newcastle Road
Wakefield Dolly Gray`s Westgate
Wakefield Raquel`s The Bullring
Wakefield Tiffany`s Southgate
Wigan Tiffany`s 61 – 69 Standishgate
Worksop Tiffany`s Netherholme Shopping Centre
York Cat`s Whiskers Fishergate

It would be great to know what happened to the venue in your town or city.

Soul deep at Wigan Casino (or should that be sole deep?)

Soul deep at Wigan Casino (or should that be sole deep?)

Any parents reading the Sun or the Daily Mirror circa 1975/6 would have been understandably horrified by the lurid tales of all-night dancing and drug taking at Wigan Casino. As a 15 year girl, whose whole musical world revolved around the phenomenon called ‘Northern Soul’, felt like her scene had been violated by the tabloids. Being too young to go to Wigan Casino however, she could only drink in the news and reviews published in Black Echoes and Blues and Soul and wait for the latest discoveries to filter down to the local youth clubs, via pressings and bootlegs.

Eventually the girl grew up and managed to find her way to Wigan. Driving a battered, emerald green, Ford Escort van, she sallied forth across the Pennines, with various friends bouncing around in the rear of the vehicle – with no thought to health and safety – just a desperate desire to finally experience the famous Wigan Casino. With changes of clothing and deodorant in overnight bags emblazoned with soul badges, we were finally ready to rush up the famous stairs and through the double doors to dance on the most famous dance floor in our world.

Not being able to get there until 1980 turned out to be fortuitous, as 1979 through to the last night in December 1981 proved to be a golden era for the tracks discovered and played. The Mod Revival of 79/80 also boosted attendance temporarily, until that fashion went the way of all fashions.

In 1973, the early part of the allnighter scene at Wigan Casino, the venue didn’t open until 2.00am. But by 1980 the time had been bought forward to a more civilised midnight, still ending at 8.00am to the echoes of the ‘Three before Eight’. Any soulie worth their salt won’t need to be reminded about which tracks they were.

Now it has to be said that Wigan Casino was not your traditional nightclub in the genre of Tiffanys or Baileys. The venue started life as a ballroom, sporting the name of the Empress Hall. In 1980 it still had echoes of its former imperial splendour, but in truth the glory had well and truly disappeared under thick yellow-brown layers of nicotine and was a Sepia version of its earlier days. It still had the most fantastic, and enormous, sprung dance floor. Sprinkled with talcum powder, the floor was perfect for the spins, dives and drops that were a definitive part of Northern Soul. A huge balcony circled the dance floor, allowing you to marvel at the acrobatic dancing below, while you picked your way over prostate bodies unable to keep up with the pace.

The casino had a huge stage which was mostly obscure by a golden yellow curtain, with the DJs in front. Either side of the stage were steps allowing access to the DJs, where dancers trod a familiar path to request their favourite sounds. The DJs kept to a regular schedule – with the highlight for us being Richard Searling at 2.00am, followed by Soul Sam. These two DJs were responsible for the huge discoveries of this time, and their names will go down in the hallowed halls of northern soul fame.

Mr M’s, an offshoot, was a room that was dedicated to oldies, by that I mean older sounds – not people, although by 7.00am I think everyone felt they were one of those. Also an integral part of Wigan Casino was the record bar, where vast amounts of money often exchanged hands for the rarer records. This room was mostly populated by young men hovering over record boxes, flicking through the cardboard sleeves to find the sound they wanted.

Wigan Casino was also famous, or should I say infamous, for the awful state of its toilets. By 4.00am both the gents and ladies would be sole deep in questionable water quality. It was a test of your mettle if you managed to negotiate your way through the ‘Wigan swamp’ and find a toilet that wasn’t either blocked or too disgusting to use. The fashion for long circle skirts added to the challenge.

As 8.00am drew closer and after the famous ‘Three before Eight’ were played, the girl and her friends would slowly wend their way back to the ‘green rocket’ and make their way home back over the Pennines and bed, already dreaming of next Saturday.

(c) 2012 Wendy Tinley

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