WIGAN CASINO 1973-1981 The Heart Of Northern Soul
No one could have predicted the enormity of Wigan Casino and the impact that it would have on Northern Soul during its eight year reign. Timing is everything, the Golden Torch (OSVLP004) in Stoke-on-Trent had been forced to close prematurely and the burgeoning underground scene that had been slowly molding since the heady days of the Twisted Wheel (OSVLP002) was set to explode. Wigan Casino, known locally as the Empress Ballroom, proved to be the ultimate venue. It featured a cavernous main hall with a wooden sprung dance floor and a first floor balcony on three sides. It also had an adjoining cabaret club, The Palais (aka “Mr M’s”), extending the already enormous capacity to over 1,500. It was an awesome prospect for an All-Nighter and a gamble for its then owner Gerry Marshall. On the first night, September 23rd, 1973, club manager Mike Walker opened the doors to an unexpected but eager crowd of 652 and DJ Russ Winstanley played the first disc that heralded a new era of Northern Soul. 40+ years on and we’re still living the nightlife!