News and Interviews
25 Year Party Palace
When the Haçienda was built, there was nothing like it in existance. Its presence inspired dance music, superclubs and the cult of the DJ. On its 25th anniversary, we pick out some of the 'FAC'ts that made it so unique.
The Haçienda (pic: Ian Tilton)
- Designed by Ben Kelly on the recommendation of Factory Records’ co-founder Pater Saville, the initial idea for the Haçienda came from Joy Division and New Order manager, Rob Gretton, who wanted a club that played the sort of music he liked to listen to.
- The club was financed by both New Order and Factory Records. Opening as a members-only club, it lost a lot of money in the early days, with closure only diverted by the continued funding of New Order, who even turned over the cash made on the massively successful Blue Monday.
- The name comes from a slogan of the radical group Situationist International: 'The Hacienda Must Be Built', from Formulary for a New Urbanism by Ivan Chtcheglov.
- It may have been the Haçienda to the rest of the world, but in the Factory catalogue, it’s FAC 51, nestling in-between New Order’s Movement album and A Certain Ratio’s Waterline.
FAC 51 The Haçienda (photo: Ian Tilton)
- Even though the cedilla isn’t used in the Spanish spelling of the word hacienda, it was included in the name of the club because it meant that 'çi' resembled 51.
- The three bars at the club were called The Gay Traitor, The Kim Philby and Hicks, references to Anthony Blunt, a British art historian who spied for the Soviet Union, and his accomplices.
- It was officially opened by Bernard Manning, who was so unimpressed by the sound system that he left after making his speech, leaving behind his fee.
- In the first few years, the Haçienda hosted many live shows, not least the first ever UK appearance by Madonna in 1984.
The Haçienda (pic: Ian Tilton)
- Always a place to find unusual performers, at a concert by German industrialists Einstürzende Neubauten, the band actually drilled into the walls that surrounded the stage.
- Credited by many as being the birthplace of the superstar DJ, thanks to its elevated DJ booth, the actual reason for the lofty perch was that the club had poor lines of sight from the original booth, moving the first resident DJ, Hewan Clarke, to lobby for it to be moved.
- Like Factory Records, the club had many ups and downs. Its nadir was reached in 1991 when a young club goer died from ecstasy poisoning and security staff were threatened with a machine gun. This led to the police closing the club. It re-opened the following year.
- The Hacienda closed shortly after its fifteenth birthday. After a violent incident outside the club, the owners became convinced that it would have its licensed revoked. That, coupled with on-going financial problems, led to them closing the doors for the final time in June 1997.
- After standing empty for 18 months, in which there were many arguments about what should happen to it, the club was demolished. A block of flats now stands on the site. New Order’s Peter Hook said the decision to build the flats was a good one because “if it had been a club and it’d carried on, it would have been like seeing your girlfriend out with somebody else.”
- With the club gone, for his 2001 film 24 Hour Party People, director Michael Winterbottom recreated it brick-for-brick and girder-for-girder in a warehouse in Ancoats
last updated: 21/12/2007 at 08:23
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