Haçienda co-founder says club was nearly founded in a Castlefield warehouse

Alan Erasmus, co-founder of The Haçienda, has revealed that the iconic superclub was almost located in a warehouse in Manchester’s Castlefield area, rather than its now famous site.

The club was started in 1982 by Erasmus and his Factory Records colleagues Tony Wilson, Rob Gretton, Martin Hannett and Peter Saville, and funded largely by the label and the band New Order. It was located in a former yacht builder’s shop on Whitworth Street West until its closure in 1997.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News to mark the club’s fortieth anniversary, Erasmus – who was already running The Russell Club in Hulme –  said that he had pushed for the club to be located elsewhere, and that he and Hannett both voted against its eventual location.

“Me and Martin didn’t want to do it for different reasons – Martin because he wanted to invest in computers and technology, while I had the Russell Club going at that time, I could see down the line the problems you had coming with gangs and drugs becoming more organised. From that perspective I could see problems.”

The former site of The Hacienda is now apartments CREDIT: Commons

His preferred location was the derelict Bridgewater’s Warehouse in Castlefield. “I’d been to Plan K in Brussels, it was an old sugar warehouse, there were multiple floors, multiple spaces for film and music – and that’s what I could see could being done at Bridgewater’s Warehouse for the Hacienda,” he said.

“It was ideal, the whole place had a magical feel to it, it still does with the beautiful bridge there, that was where the Hacienda should have been built. But Rob and Tony didn’t catch what I was saying, I was outvoted, and Jimmy Ramsbottom bought it for £25,000 I think – I was so pissed off.”

Ramsbottom would go on to develop the site, kickstarting a regeneration in the area. It is now a hub of bars, restaurants and office spaces.

The eventual site chosen for The Haçienda was demolished in 2002, with apartments built on the site. To mark its fortieth birthday, a rave was held in the building’s underground car park.

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