New bid to publish photographs from famous final all-nighter at Wigan Casino

A photographer who documented Wigan Casino’s final all-nighter is hoping it is second time lucky as he aims to publish a book of his images.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 7:00 am
One of Francesco Mellina's photographs from the last night at Wigan Casino

Francesco Mellina was working as a freelance photographer for the NME when he took pictures at the famous venue in September 1981.

Now, 40 years later, he wants to include his photographs in a new book named Last Night At Wigan Casino.

Francesco launched a crowdfunding campaign two years ago to cover the cost of publishing the book, but failed to hit the target.

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Photographer Francesco Mellina

He has now launched a fresh campaign and is hopeful he will raise enough this time.

Francesco said: “I didn’t succeed for a number of reasons. I think it was a bit close to Christmas and I misjudged the timing I think. I didn’t reach the target.

“I was aiming for £10,000 at the time. This time we are setting a lower target and in the intervening years we have developed really good contacts with people who are into Northern soul who can spread the word on our behalf.”

So far more than £4,000 has been pledged to the new appeal, with a target of £6,500.

The funds will only be collected if the goal is reached in the next 14 days.

The book will include scores of previously unseen photographs taken by Francesco on that famous night, as well as writing from DJ Russ Winstanley, and organiser/DJ Richard Searling.

Francesco spent the whole night at the venue, capturing everything from the people queuing outside to crowds on the dance-floor.

He hopes the book will be a lasting reminder of that special night.

Francesco said: “It’s really to celebrate such an incredible moment in time and history, particularly because it’s something I feel very strongly about. It’s a northern thing and it’s probably the most working-class music movement ever. It created an incredible thing. It’s very difficult to explain unless you were there.

“What the photographs do is pay homage to the people, to the club, to the scene. Essentially people are buying a piece of history when they buy the book.”

It is the second time he has teamed up with book designer Michael March to crowdfund, with the first one leading to the publication of a book called Revealed, covering music scenes including punk and New Romantics.

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