Wigan Casino has a place in Northern Soul history like few other clubs. Even today, almost 45 years since the first Wigan Casino Northern Soul All-nighter the legend of the club still endures.
Much of the documented history of Wigan Casino is readily available online and in book form however the legends of Wigan Casino are many and varied. Questions such as who actually first approached Gerry Marshall (the then owner) to start an all-nighter, and what was the real reason it all ended, still echo around the scene today.
Wigan Casino closed it’s doors for the last time in 1981 and for many years Wigan became a wasteland for all nighters and the beating rhythms of Northern Soul. That was until the 1990’s when The Cricketer, Wigan became the very first Northern Soul All Nighter to be held in Wigan since the closure of the Casino Club. The Cricketer All Nighter was also the first and last time some well known Casino DJ’s shared the same stage to play for a Northern Soul audience. DJ’s such as Soul Sam, Richard Searling, Steve Whittle, Dave Evison, Brian Rae and Russ Winstanley to name but a few. A number of extra DJ’s also played at the first New Wigan Soul Club all nighter, the two notable additions being Brian Rigby and Alan Caine.
The Cricketer All Nighters became a window on the legend of the Casino for a few short years in Wigan, the people who organised the Cricketer All Nighter (Andy, Dave, Louise and Dawn) managed to recreate some of the essence of the Casino many years after the venue closed. With almost 500 people packing the club and a membership list for the new Wigan Soul Club running in the thousands, people came from all corners of the UK once again to re-live memories and make new ones too.
Few people realised that this first All Nighter to be held in Wigan since the Casino closed was in fact co-organised by Gerry Marshall’s son the lease owner of Wigan Casino back in the 1970’s. After the first Cricketer All Nighter, Gerry sat with interest as Andy (his son) and Dave (co-orginiser) described the attendance, who played what and how great the atmosphere was. Gerry was delighted, not only that the night was a success but also two names got their ‘day in the sun’, Brian Rigby and Alan Caine. “it was Brian and Alan who first approached me about All Nighters at the Casino Club, I even gave them the go ahead, but for some reason Russ got the gig instead” he said. Andy and Dave replied “we heard, that’s why they were on the first re-union all-nighter at The Cricketer!”.
Since those reunion All Nighters back in the 90’s the Wigan Casino legend has never waned, stories passed from one to another along with the records and memorabilia. The irony of those re-union all nighters was that the 4 people who organised the events weren’t old enough to attend the Casino, but the passion burned that much for them they recreated as much as they could to feel it for themselves. Today Northern Soul All Nighters are held the world over, the beating rhythm and stomping beats being loved by probably more people today than ever and so the legend of Wigan Casino lives on.
No matter if you attended Wigan Casino or simply love the place for it’s iconic status, the paintings by David Barrow make a perfect gift for Northern Soul lovers the world over. Buy your little piece of the Wigan Casino legend today.