A once popular nightclub in Warrington is scheduled to meet its end in August this year when the bulldozers will be moving in to call time not just on the Art Deco building but also possibly another step towards the end of the nightclubs in general.
There is little doubt that nightclubs are in trouble. Much has been made about the closure of many high street shopping chains, but the silent decline of nightclubs in the UK has grown to alarming proportions.
Mr Smith’s once drew in busloads of late night clubbers from all over the North West and could comfortably accommodate 1,700 people in its heyday.
Unfortunately for this grand old nightspot in Warrington, as with many others including the famous Hacienda Club in Manchester, the late eighties and early nineties would turn out to be their best years.
Nightclub chains too have felt the winds of change in the nightclub world. As recently as 2012 it has been reported that the market value of the nightclub industry has fallen from £1.8 billion to £1.4 billion since 2007
Luminar which was once the largest nighclub firm and owner of Liquid went into administration recently and was forced to close many of its 79 venues.
There has been something of a cultural shift which has slowly seen young people reject the high prices charged by clubs for what amounted to a drink and dance.
With cheap alcohol from supermarkets freely available at 20% of the price charged in nightclubs it is little wonder that clubs began to see a drop in their takings as people spent less and less time in them.
The crowds that once filled up the dance floors of clubs all over the UK have started to dwindle with a drink at home with friends or in the pub becoming a more popular choice amongst cash strapped youngsters.
At its height, Mr Smith’s nightclub in Warrington was the venue for the first episode of ITV’s The Hit Man and Her show. The programme was presented by Pete Waterman and Michaela Strachan between 1988 – 1992.
The programme really put Mr Smiths on the map with clubbers arriving and hoping to be featured among the late-night clubbers, celebrities and to see performances from the likes of Prodigy and Rick Astley.
Without the pull of TV and the famous pop stars who went with it, Mr Smith’s entered a period of decline and rebirth with several rebrands aimed at attracting new generations which would ultimately prove unsuccessful.
Mr Smith’s was eventually closed in 2010 and the site sold at auction for £1million in 2011.
The Pervaiz Naviede Family Trust who bought the site with the intention of preserving the art deco landmark embarked on extensive marketing of the property which produced only limited results.
Options are currently being considered for the possible reuse of the site, however a demolition date has now been set for 11 August by LPC Living, a developer owned by the Pervaiz Naviede Family Trust.
Simon Ashdown, director of LPC Living, said “We’ve heard dozens of stories about how the club holds happy memories from those who visited it in the past three decades and are equally sad to see the end of an era for the iconic nightspot.”
Posted on: July 19, 2014