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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan



Photo-a-Day Archive
Photo-a-Day Archive

Photo-a-Day  (Tuesday, 26th September, 2023)

Anniversary


Anniversary
Display at the top of Wallgate for the 50th anniversary of Wigan Casino all nighter.

Photo: Dennis Seddon  (Sony DSC-WX500)
Views: 1,537

Comment by: Poet on 26th September 2023 at 07:33

The ' scene ' passed me by in my youth mainly because I couldn't dance for toffee , but it is music that I've since grown to love.

Comment by: Sue on 26th September 2023 at 08:04

Love it.

Comment by: Veronica on 26th September 2023 at 08:07

I haven’t seen these posters as I haven’t been to Wigan for a few weeks. Thank you Dennis you are always on top of your game.
I only ever went to the grand old Emp in my day and was very sad when the building was burned down. Obviously the young ones at that time had a great time…but the Emp for me and many others was the greatest.

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 26th September 2023 at 08:14

I'm sure those who attended the All-Nighters will never forget those days. I only ever went to The Casino once, (although it wasn't to an all-nighter), and I truly believe if it had been preserved it would still be used by those same people as, although much older now, they still attend Northern Soul reunions in other venues and still dance to that same music. I attended The Monaco in Hindley which is still very much in use for various events; what a shame The Casino went the way it did as it would still have been a popular venue and a feather in Wigan's cap. As many people on p-a-d have said before, "If it had been in any other town........".

Comment by: Gary on 26th September 2023 at 08:23

This anniversary certainly put Wigan on the media map. Most of the old recordings, initially unsuccessful and revived by Northern Soul, are on Youtube.
I was in the Casino a few times before Northern Soul - and remember it for the stickiest carpet I had ever trodden on!
Thanks for this one, Dennis.

Comment by: T on 26th September 2023 at 08:35

Before my time but still a great piece of history and advert for the town and the number of people from far and wide that seem to have been to the casino never ceases to amaze me

Comment by: Roylew on 26th September 2023 at 09:28

Remember being in Singapore in 1974 with the RN and saw that Wigans Chosen Few were in the Top 20…..brought me closer to home just seeing the name….my mam used to send me the Wigan Observer most weeks by BFPS

Comment by: Sylvia from Bognor Regis on 26th September 2023 at 09:52

It was on BBC breakfast last week all about this and the presenter asked some of the ex dancers how they managed to dance all night long, the answer was we had some help, meaning it was all down to pill popping.
Ive been told since by a retired police constable that it was common for them to be called out to a chemist that had been broken into.
So I'm surprised that Wigan is celebrating this dance craze.

Comment by: Arthur on 26th September 2023 at 09:59

Been there didn't like it.
The Casino was OK but not the soul music.

Comment by: Veronica on 26th September 2023 at 10:38

I remember the Casino better. That was really good. I saw Tom Jones there once and I remember the last night I ever went inside it was June 6th 1969. A date to remember. I went with a group of girls to my ‘hen party’. I wish I had a photo …not like today with the smartphones.

Comment by: Roy on 26th September 2023 at 10:49

Looked at these yesterday, a brilliant set of photos.

Comment by: Cyril on 26th September 2023 at 11:25

Why are the council suddenly jumping on this Wigan Casino bandwagon? When the Casino was in full swing in the seventies the council at the time were always up in arms about it and in favour of shutting it down. I can't remember of any bother in the town centre caused by folks going here, though I do remember that sadly a few young people were found dead in the town centre toilets, and also other places on Sunday mornings after overdosing and such with substances they'd bought off the drug peddlers, but it's the ghouls who peddle this stuff and who will always go to wherever they can or any convenient place to sell their poisons, and Wigan Casino would have been such a place to offload it with plenty young people gathering and with music, though the majority of those attending the all nighters wouldn't have had anything to do with drugs at all, but as always the ghouls and the odd few that would buy the poisonous substances they were peddling gave everyone else a bad name.

The building had been there since 1916 and hadn't had any problems even when cars had been parked underneath, then after all the hoo-ha about it and the shutting of the doors in 1981 a mysterious fire broke out in 1982, later the building was said to be unsalvageable.

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 26th September 2023 at 11:26

As for the "pill-popping", I think it was "purple hearts" that were taken to keep the dancers dancing all night, but I have all the late Paul O'Gradys books and in one of them he tells of coming to Wigan Casino with some mates from Liverpool once and panicking because he was given some pills on the train, (he was only a young lad), and they turned out to be Pro-Plus that you could buy in any chemists! I remember selling them when I worked in a chemists after leaving school, and they were just designed to give you a bit of energy....a bottle of Lucozade would probably have done the same job!

Comment by: Dennis Seddon on 26th September 2023 at 11:59

I used to see them turning out when I very rarely worked week ends. My bus stop was just round the corner from the Casino.
Many of the lads were making their way to the Baths. Where they got the energy from I don’t know, even with the pills!

Comment by: Alan on 26th September 2023 at 12:45

Get to the point, Wigan Casino all nighter ended up a drugs den. The
Police was never Away from the place Saturday and Sunday morning. It was never out of the Wigan Observer for all the Wrong reasons.

Comment by: John G on 26th September 2023 at 12:51

Well it must be true if dog daft Pauline O'Grady said it.
It does make me wonder how many of the all night dancers got themselves deeper into drugs after the music stopped.

Comment by: Veronica on 26th September 2023 at 12:57

I often wondered was the Emp set fire to on purpose..I know the older generation were up in arms against what was going on there…. It does make you wonder. People came from miles around it wasn’t just Wiganers who frequented the place.

Comment by: Poet on 26th September 2023 at 13:11

Tony Palmer's documentary about Wigan Casino isn't just about Northern Soul and the Casino club . The film shows much footage of 1977 Wigan like the baths , the arcades , the pier and the old market hall plus interviews with old Wiganers about their lives in the 30's compared to the Casino goers .
It's quite an eye opener for those looking back with rosy specs. Scholes flats in particular look really grim .
The You Tube print isn't too good but it's watchable. Lasts about 30 mins .

Comment by: Maureen on 26th September 2023 at 13:40

We lived on the junction of Warrington Lane at that time,and the noise they made going up Darlington St was something else...it was quite obvious that drugs were at the bottom of it all..the Casino was a poor excuse for having a good night and enjoying dancing, the dancing always reminds me of Indians doing a war dance around a totem pole..that isn't dancing at all .only the Emp could do that.

Comment by: Tom on 26th September 2023 at 17:05

So why is this drug club anniversary being celebrated.
When I think of drugs I think of the innocent victims, like Olivia Pratt Korbel

Comment by: Bruce Almighty on 26th September 2023 at 17:22

Wigan Casino wasn't unique. It wasn't 'new', it was one of many. The others lasted longer. So, it was in Wigan, wow, what do you want? an orange?

Comment by: Press on 26th September 2023 at 17:24

Read through the Wigan Observer from 50 years ago on microfilm, then maybe you'll know.

Comment by: Elaine on 26th September 2023 at 17:48

You are dead right Maureen,that northern soul 'dancing ' is ridiculous,it doesn't even match the music.The daft spins and gymnastics just look as though they are showing off,who can be the most acrobatic.

Comment by: Harold on 26th September 2023 at 18:40

Instead of the Wigan Council wasting tax payers money on this pointless display, spend the much needed money on road sweepers round the estates. you only see them one main roads , its months now since our street road kerbs were sweeped with the lorrie.

Comment by: Dave johnson on 26th September 2023 at 18:51

All this talk about strong drugs causing addiction is crap. Most of the people who used drugs were on speed and the majority never took anything during the week because they went to work!

Comment by: Sandra on 26th September 2023 at 18:57

Tom's in cuckoo land I'm afraid. Every wiganer old enough to know what went on there, the casino was OK it was the all nighter with soul.

Comment by: Dave on 26th September 2023 at 19:38

I bet there are a few on here who now take more pills than ever the dancers did .

Comment by: Sir Bob on 26th September 2023 at 20:32

I was a rocker.

Comment by: Arthur on 26th September 2023 at 20:47

Yes but for the right reasons DAVE.

Comment by: Cyril on 26th September 2023 at 21:11

If only I could have done gymnastics and spins back then, and even more so if only I could do them now. Bring on the Ralgex

Veronica, a lot of folks think that too, and other fires in buildings around town also seemed a bit too convenient. I remember those Pro Plus Irene, and others too that contained caffeine, I think you can still buy them, though I'd rather have a strong coffee, and far nicer too I would think.

It was the Rock Nights on Saturdays that I would often go to, these nights were on before the Soul Nights which began around midnight, and on leaving around 11.30pm there were queues waiting to go in for the Soul Club, I can't vouch for them all but the ones I saw or spoke to were okay and just there for the music and a good night out. I suppose amphetamines were taken by some to help keep them going all night, but that's nothing new as even from the 1920s when Amphetamine was discovered and prescribed as an anti-depressant and appetite-suppressant, and later methamphetamine, folks would be taking it non medically and abusing it so much so that it came under strict control.
info from this article: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26070751/

The prescribed stuff was at least made under strict laboratory conditions, the stuff these ghouls peddle could well have been cooked up in a clandestine laboratory set up in a dirty, rat infested building, and also bulked up with all manner of materials before being peddled, so they just don't know what they are swallowing.
https://www.rehabguide.co.uk/what-is-amphetamines/

Comment by: Doc good on 26th September 2023 at 21:16

Yes we do take pills, the legally ones, to make us better not to send us insane.

Comment by: e on 26th September 2023 at 21:17

At my age , I back track everything!
I search for what knew as a need , and hunger with a passion what I missed !

Comment by: Pru on 26th September 2023 at 21:35

Harold don't be lazy, sweep your own kerbs.

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