GEOFFREY SHRYHANE: Remembering Wigan Casino

Wigan Casino in its glory days
Wigan Casino in its glory days

Years ago, I delighted in travelling to some great places on the world map. One year I got as far as Bickershaw. Oh the dizzy heights of holiday adventures!

But I’m now more than sad to say I never enjoyed a night in the heady atmosphere of Wigan Casino.

Gone for years now, the Casino lives on in the memories of folks from all over the country who made their way to the club on Station Road to dance and trance the night away.

So for those of us who never sampled the famous Wigan Casino, here are a few facts.

The Casino found a home in the former Empress Ballroom after the great Russ Winstanley and Mike Walker had the idea to run Northern Soul all-nighters, the first being held in September 1973.

Young enthusiasts countrywide flocked to Wigan to hear the latest northern soul artists and there were always long queues to get in.

There was reason to worry when Wigan Council wanted the land for a civic centre extension. But the plan failed.

The Casino closed just before Christmas 1981 …and dancers were so upset they refused to leave on that last emotional night.

An ionic film of an all-nighter was made in 1977. Books appeared as well as a successful stage play.

One of the saddest photos of the last days of the Casino was my old friend Russ Winstanley posing with an old grand piano surrounded by demolition rubbish.