Photographs of The Hacienda, Manchester, 1986 (Pre-Acid House)

The Hacienda, in its early years, had a different vibe compared to the later, well-documented era of acid house and door wars. There aren’t many images of Manchester’s clubland from this period. It was a time of significant change for the city – a melting pot of scenes and fashions that would set the catalyst for future generations.

Somewhere for the Misfits

Photographer Andy “Beezer” Beese visited Manchester in 1986 and captured the Haçienda during a period before it became synonymous with Club Culture. The club was open every night and attracted a diverse crowd of punters, including punks, Perry Boys, Goths, and students. Unlike most clubs during that period, there was no dress code. The Haçienda was somewhere for the misfits, a cold and cavernous space that would often feel empty. In its early years, the former yacht showroom turned New York-style warehouse club baffled many Mancunians.

The Hacienda, Manchester, 1986.
The Haçienda, 1986.

Photo © Beezer Photos.

Hewan Clarke

Hewan Clarke was the club’s original DJ, brought in by Tony Wilson. Tony met Hewan when he was the tour DJ for Factory’s first signing, A Certain Ratio. Already a known face on the all-day soul scene with Mike Shaft and Colin Curtis, Hewan played a mix of soul and funk – fresh imports from Manchester’s ‘Spin Inn’. During those difficult early nights, he would have to play to the crowd, mixing in Orange Juice, Bowie, and Kraftwerk before introducing more underground records. Hewan left in 1983 for another legendary Manchester Club, Berlin, with Greg Wilson coming in, introducing electro and putting on live shows by the Broken Glass Crew, who he managed.

“In the early days, most of us took refuge downstairs in the Gay Traitor as the main dance floor was always really cold. There would only be about thirty of us, all wearing heavy overcoats and trying to dance. The DJ box was still on the stage, and you could even get your hair cut downstairs in Swing (The Haçienda’s onsite Salon run by Andrew Berry).” – Mark Jordan (Hacienda regular) 

The Hacienda, Manchester, 1986.
The Haçienda, 1986.

Photo © Beezer Photos.

Madonna on The Tube

The band nights soon became a big draw, featuring early performances by The Smiths and Cocteau Twins. Madonna famously made her UK live debut here for an episode of The Tube in 1984, dancing and miming along to ‘Holiday’, to a rather unimpressed audience. The club was quite a fitting venue for Madonna, who made her way in New York clubs such as the Danceteria, which were a big influence on the Haçienda.

Nude Night

Friday nights started to gain traction with the popular Nude night launched by Mike Pickering and Martin Prendergast (Little Martin). The night was pretty much packed from the off, Mike and Martin would play early house tracks from Chicago and Detroit to a clued up crowd, prior to it blowing up with the arrival of ecstasy and acid house. 

Tony Wilson

From Bernard Manning to Acid House, the formative years of the Haçienda were far from ordinary. The following statement from Tony Wilson appeared in a 1982 issue of The Face magazine as part of a review of the opening night: 

“For any real form of substantive youth culture to thrive in a city, there has to be a place to go, somewhere to meet. That place, in turn, becomes representative of the city’s culture and gains respect and a reputation for the city. Manchester was way ahead of everyone else during the first days of punk. Why? We had a marvelous meeting place called the Electric Circus. Since the Circus closed its doors, there has been Rafters, and after that, The Factory to keep Manchester going. But for the last two years, there has been absolutely nothing of any interest here… The Hacienda had to be built.” – Tony Wilson

Gallery

The Hacienda, Manchester, 1986.
The Haçienda, 1986.

Photo © Beezer Photos.

Doorman at The Haçienda, Manchester, 1986.
The Haçienda Doorman, 1986.

Photo © Beezer Photos.

The Hacienda, Manchester, 1986.
The Haçienda, 1986.

Photo © Beezer Photos.

Bruce Mitchell and friends in the Haçienda, 1986.
Bruce Mitchell (Durutti Colum) and friends. The Haçienda, 1986.

Photo © Beezer Photos.

The Hacienda, Manchester, 1986.
The Haçienda, 1986.

Photo © Beezer Photos.

The Hacienda, Manchester, 1986.
The Haçienda, 1986.

Photo © Beezer Photos.

Promotor Paul Cons at outside The Haçienda, 1986.
Club Promoter Paul Cons outside The Haçienda, 1986.

Photo © Beezer Photos.

All images © Beezer Photos, all rights reserved. No usage or reproduction of any kind without prior permission of the copyright holder.

Share
Tweet
Email

READ NEXT

SUPPORT BCA

British Culture Archive is an independent archive and cultural resource that was set up through a genuine passion for photography. Since 2017, we have supported British photography by publishing and exhibiting works from photographers and by unearthing and giving a global platform to previously unseen photography.

Our online galleries and exhibitions will always be free for everyone. Public support and funding is vital for us to continue documenting and preserving important photography. If you appreciate the work we do, please consider making a donation through the link provided below.