Russ Winstanley wanted to bring Northern Soul to Wigan. And for eight extraordinary years, he did just that
What a brilliantly written, evocative, article. I've only every 'heard' of Northern Soul, not being from round here, and didn't 'get' what was so special about it. This article just made a great lump in my throat appear and a pointless wish that I had known about it and participated. Excellent, well done The Mill, keep it up.
Really brilliant article, amazing immersion into something I've never experienced myself, yet found compelling reading. Great portrait of a unique man - glad he's still going strong.
What a great article, thank you. Still love the music.
Yes I have few happy memories of Wigan casino being a young lad from Warrington it was the only place left fornorthern soul I still listen to northern soul everyday after going to the ritz in Brighouse about 18 years ago to there northern soul night and it brought it all back me keep the faith
Wonderful write up , thank you.
Like Dave, I too was too young to ever visit the Casino. I’d often shop with Mum on a Saturday and take the bus home, boarding by the Casino and dreaming of what it might be like to actually go in there. Love the stories but so sad that I never got to see it fully in person!
Not sure Russ found Frank Wilson's Do I love you. A record dealer by the name of Simon Sussan was reputed to have "lifted them from the vaults of Motown , there were two copies one was worn & warped & i believe was sold to Tim Brown who even appeared on TV with it at the time, there was a decent copy ,not sure who Sussan sold that to , then a third copy turned up in the collection of a studio engineer which was mint & unplayed , Kenny Burrell had that one & he actually got Frank Wilson to sign it , but instead of him signing the sleeve he signed all over the label in felt tip & some years later when John Manship sold it on Kenny's behalf it brought a probable world record price for a single of £47,000, but it was said by experts at the time it probably would have made double that had it not been defaced, it was rumoured at the time that Steve Davis (Snooker player) bought it as he is also a huge Northern Soul collector, Nobody can take away from Russ the enormity of what he achieved with Richard Searling & of course the backing of the late Mike Walker manager of the Casino,& the other great DJ's of the day Martyn Ellis , Dave Evison, Kev Roberts, Kenny Spence, Ian Lavine, even the likes of Keith Minshull & others KTF
I used to go there every Saturday,I first attended as a 14 year old in March 1974,We would go up on Gethro’s famous bus from Wolverhampton,I even attended the last night in September 1981,I saw many live acts there of which I would say Betty Wright April 1975 was the best,Tommy Hunt 2nd Anniversary was good aswell that particular night Gethro and his girlfriend Kim came 2nd and 3rd in the dance comp,I have many memories of that great place and some fantastic stories aswell,It was a big part of my life for 8 years and I’ll never forget the place,KTF Nico ✊🏾
I love this. I never went to Wigan Casino (a bit too young) but it was legendary. I went to a disco every Thurday night at the Pembroke Halls in Walkden, where they had a Northern Soul room, separate to the main disco where the late seventies hits were playing. My friends and I would go in there a few times a night, just to watch the dancers, mostly male, dressed in black, who would take over the floor one at a time, do a few wide leg stretches, then go into an acrobatic dance display like I'd never seen before; the splits, flips, handstands, a totally different type of dance. The music was so different, pure soul -it was so special. Everyone there would talk about nights at the Wigan Casino, and to me, at 15, it sounded so exciting, somewhere I wanted to go, when I was old enough. Sadly, I never did get the chance.
My first date with my wife Lynne was at the Monday night Soul club as 16 year old on the 6th May 1974, we sat in a corner and kissed all night barely exchanging a word, never once did we get up to dance, we are still to together 47 years later, 40 years married in December, we still both love Northern, back in the day we preferred being in Mr M's were it was mostly motown.
We heard on the TV that the casino was on fire so went to look we spent the night in the top floor communal area of a nearby block of flats watching it burn down heartbroken crying along wit at least 50 of faces we had known from soul nights.
The casino was so much more than all nighters Sunday, Monday and Wednesday was so much more relaxed and easier to get into if you was under 18.