The great Haçienda sell off… [November 2000]
This is the way the world ends,
Not with a bang but a whimper…
So it was on November 25, 2000, as dozens of former DJs and club kids assembled at the stripped-clean Haçienda nightclub in Manchester to purchase a piece of nightclub history…
What should, perhaps, have been one of the music auctions of the decade was, instead a limp affair, with the most sought-after items being bricks and pieces of dismantled dancefloor, available for £5 each.
As Mixmag’s Conrad Murray reported at the time, “despite the initial buzz in the building, the auction is a non-event. Like the reading of the will of an aunt you once adored but who quickly faded from memory, no-one seems over anxious to gather up the old belongings.”
The item that made the most money, the article claims, was a painting, discovered in three pieces in a partition behind the ladies toilets, and reportedly painted by the wife of former resident Mike Pickering, which sold for £3,200.
The rest of the lots attracted fairly humdrum interest, despite their legendary role in shaping Manchester (and UK) music history…
– Acid-green corner seats where Bez and Shaun Ryder held court: £170
– No. 21 Albion Street sign: £260
– Hazard-strip stage facade: £110
– DJ Booth: £1,100 (with bidding starting at £1,000)
Within weeks of the auction, work was underway to turn the site into apartments, which they remain to this day.
The last word should go to Peter Hook of New Order, who was present at the auction to pick up a piece of concrete with ‘Tony (Wilson) 94’ written on it. Should the Haçienda have been saved?
“It had to go. If they turned it into another club, it would have been like seeing your girlfriend with someone else.”