Bosses at dilapidated Rusholme clubbing institution Antwerp Mansion are in shock after being served with a closure notice from the council.
The south Manchester venue has been home to many iconic club nights and performers over the past seven years, playing host to the likes of Ms Dynamite, Tim Westwood, Kahn and Neek, Flava D & Murlo, Mungo’s Hi-Fi, Big Narstie, Skepta, Redlight and many more.
The venue has also been used by many local creatives as a haven for their photography, art and videography, nurturing local talents including the Levelz collective, The Mouse Outfit, Room 2 Records, Strategy & Dub Phizix, Riot Jazz Brass Band and more, providing a platform for them to perform, party and record in over the years.
However, at 6am on Saturday the club made the following announcement:
More info to follow. pic.twitter.com/Y8piEGYX2A
— Antwerp Mansion (@AntwerpMansion) February 24, 2018
This shocking news, which will see the club close its doors permanently on 24th March, was followed by a huge outpouring from fans of the venue and the artists who have played it over the years.
Been resident DJ here for a while now. What a sad day. @AndyBurnhamGM stop killing Manchester nightlife!!!!!!
— DJ Hyphen (@hyphen_dj) February 24, 2018
Very sad to hear about the impending closure of Antwerp Mansion. Yet another loss for Manchester’s nighttime economy #SaveNightlife
— Sacha Lord (@Sacha_whp) February 24, 2018
As if Antwerp mansion is closing, only place you can walk from a DnB room into a room playing ABBA and it's acceptable
— Max Foster-Currie (@FosterCurrie) February 24, 2018
An online petition to save the venue surfaced over the weekend and is already close to meeting its target with over 7,500 signatures.
Club manager Ben Hourahine confirmed that the club has been wrangling with the council over planning permission issues for months.
“It all came down to discrepancies over the original planning permission for the venue. It was listed as a private members’ club in the 1920s, and the council put us on an enforcement notice for its use as a nightclub which it has been used for seven or eight years now.
“We would have had to revert back to a private members club with an 11pm curfew, but that would have killed the venue.
“This has been ongoing for eight months but we didn’t want to railroad their decision by making it public or doing a big save Antwerp Mansion campaign.
“We didn’t think there would be any major issues, but on Wednesday the closure notice was sent to our solicitors which was a huge shock.”
As well as depriving south Manchester of an iconic alternative clubbing venue, the closure will also mean the loss of 30 jobs including bar staff, marketing staff, sound engineers and security.
As another one bites the dust we wonder, what does this mean for the future of underground clubbing in Manchester?