‘Stan the Man and Wednesday RnB nights’ – Memories of the Warrington super club Mr Smiths

If you are of a particular age I’m sure you can remember the Warrington nightclub that that put the town on the nightlife map.

Opened in back 1986, the iconic Mr Smiths nightclub was the place to be in the 80s, 90s and even the noughties with people coming from as far as Liverpool, North Wales and Manchester to boogie at the Bridge Foot venue.

The building was sadly destroyed back in 2015 and the site has since been earmarked for development, Manchester Evening News reports.

But for a time, it was one of the county’s busiest venues – famed for its dancefloor, live performances, and the monthly R&B nights held on Wednesday nights.

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Former clubgoers have recently flooded social media with memories of what made Mr Smiths so good.

Steven Ellis simply said: “The world was better.”

While Si Tolley added: “I feel that the burger van, with its fine array of french stick hogies, needs an honourable mention.”

Darren Sweeney commented: “Had some great nights here and also remember Stan the Man….”

Sara Beverley Jones said: “Wednesday’s RnB nights!”

Nick White posted: “Grew up in Warrington. Still puzzles me how we had the money to go to Smiths on a Thursday, indie night at Legends on a Friday and then Legends again on a Saturday (although not indie that night)? Also if I tried that now I’d need a week in bed to recover!”

Thomas White said: “I remember it as a picture house in the sixties and next door you could catch the bus to Liverpool.”

Paul Hart commented: “Ace place, I remember it being bigger than that.”

Paula McCafferty commented: “Had some cracking nights here!”

Pictures from the Goodbye Mr Smiths exhibition at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery The demolition of the famous nightspot
The building was demolished back in 2015
(Image: Sunday Echo)

Mark Samba-Gray posted: “Some great old skool house nights were had here, big place too.”

Lisa Marsden said: “Many a great night here then rolling into work two hours after getting home.”

Scott Lawson commented: “The red phone box inside for ordering taxis and the massive hotdogs from the van outside.”

Chris Peers posted: “Soul Train sessions! This was what Warrington was back pre 2005, sad day in April 2015 when it was lost.”

Warrington Casuals posted: “When Warrington had the best nightlife in the country. Every weekend was like being on the strip in Ibiza. They travelled from miles to visit this place.”

Jase Brough posted: “I can remember going to work straight from here most weeks.

“My mate was the DJ, some great times I bet, just can’t remember them all.”

Victoria Cummings said: “Met my now husband there, way back in 1989 on a Thursday night!”

Michelle Murphy commented: “Spent my 18th there and saw HM&H a few times. Happy memories (ish!).”

Gareth Jameson commented: “Blummin’ eck, now there’s a blast from the past.”

Tracey Donaldson said: “I remember my Mum and Dad talking about Mr Smiths and them going out for the evening dressed up, Mum in her maxi dress, dad in his wide tie. Great memories of my childhood!”

Another commented: “Damn we use to go here in the early 00’s use to be a good night..

“Minibus full of guys and girls heading to Mr Smiths.”

The rise and fall of Mr Smiths

Mr Smiths opened in 1986, its Art Deco site formerly home to Ritz and ABC cinemas.

It soon began attracting hundreds – not just from Warrington, but Manchester, Liverpool, Preston – even as far as the West Midlands and North Wales.

In the late 1980s, Mr Smiths became known more widely as a regular venue for ITV dance music show The Hitman and Her.

Hosted by Pete Waterman and Michaela Strachan, the show was a window into the world of late night clubbing.

Revellers could be seen dancing to popular hits in the charts and playing party games, with the show also showcasing a number of celebrity performances.

Singer Rick Astley, The Prodigy and Boy George all performed at Mr Smiths, and the show also featured acts signed to Waterman’s Stock Aitken and Waterman stable, including singers Sonia and Sinitta.

Mr Smiths was also where Take That star Jason Orange was first spotted as a dancer and footballers from across the North West were regularly seen at the club.

The first ever Hitman and Her show came from Mr Smiths in Warrington in 1988 and the final show, which aired in 1992, was filmed from The Discothèque Royale in Manchester.

Major fire at Mr Smiths nightclub
Major fire at Mr Smiths nightclub
(Image: Liverpool Echo)

Around the turn of the millennium, Mr Smiths drew clubbers from miles around with its monthly, Wednesday soul night – part of a circuit of R&B venues that included Manchester’s Havana and Liverpool’s Kirklands.

But, as the decade wore on, big nightclubs began to pass out of fashion, and violent incidents marred the venue’s reputation.

Despite attempts to re-brand the club as Synergy in 2008 and then Halo a couple of years later, the venue closed its doors for the final time in 2010.

The building was set to undergo a £3 million redevelopment, to transform it into a dedicated youth zone, run by Warrington Youth Club, when disaster struck.

In the early hours of Tuesday, April 14, 2015, emergency crews from across Cheshire and Greater Manchester were scrambled to the former Mr Smiths venue.

At the time, the MEN reported how flames had engulfed the iconic building in a blaze which took firefighters hours to tackle.

The roof, collapsed and roads around the building had to be sealed off. The site was later demolished. Memories of the super club that was a ‘guilty pleasure’ for Mancunians – and where a Take That star made his name

Cheshire Live – Cheshire