A brief history of FAC 51 The Hacienda

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FAC51 The Hacienda. The Manchester-based nightclub was more than just that; it was an institution.

Its lasting impact on Manchester’s music scene and its influence on club culture are still prevalent to this day. And although it’s been over 20 years since it closed its doors for good, its legacy is still unrivalled. 

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While the club wasn’t without its demons, there’s no doubt about it that the Hacienda was one of the most important clubs the country – and quite possibly the world – has ever seen. 

It was a true musical pioneer throughout the ’80s and ’90s, birthing both the ‘Madchester’ and ‘acid house’ movements across the north of England, throughout the country, and around the globe.

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The club paved the way for the likes of Liverpool’s Cream and London’s Ministry of Sound, inspiring many world-renowned DJs along the way too – the Chemical Brothers if we’re name dropping. 

It’s played host to countless club nights and numerous iconic gigs throughout its 15-year tenure; the memories left behind by the Tony Wilson, Rob Gretton and New Order owned venture surely won’t be forgotten any time soon. 

While there’s been numerous books, interviews and documentaries telling the tales of the venue in great detail, with this weekend’s United We Stream hosting the Hacienda House Party Part 2, we thought now would be a pretty apt time to have a look back at some of the nightclub’s most iconic moments.

From classic gigs, iconic Factory Record releases and tracks that would have never existed without the club, we’ve pulled together a few key moments for you to kick back, reminisce and scroll through. Enjoy.

21st May 1982 – FAC51 The Hacienda opens its doors

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Located in an old yacht showroom on Whitworth Street Manchester – a then semi-derelict industrial are of the city – New Order’s and Joy Division’s manager Rob Gretton instigated the opening of a club between himself, New Order and Factory Records.

Its decor made full use of the industrial aesthetic. High ceilings, steel girders and iron pillars – the Ben Kelly designed interior was a huge step away from all the usual carpeted nightclubs across the country. 

7th March 1983 – New Order release Blue Monday

Despite being open sometimes six nights a week, The Hacienda wasn’t without its money troubles. 

On the 7th March ’83, New Order released Blue Monday for the first time.

The record would go on to be one of the biggest selling 12″ of the era. It spent 34 weeks in the charts, but despite its commercial success, the band were persuaded to part with their profits to help alleviate the Haciendas financial losses.

20th July 1983 – New Order play The Hacienda

Just one of the many times the co-owners played the venue, check out the grainy footage of the performance above. 

24th November 1983 – The Smiths play The Hacienda

While it’s easy to remember The Hacienda as being the epicentre of rave culture, it also hosted some of the UK’s biggest bands over the years.

In November of 1983, The Smiths played their third-ever show at the super-club.

27th January 1984 – Madonna’s first UK TV appearance

The Queen of Pop herself, Madonna, recorded her first-ever live UK TV appearance for Channel 4’s ‘The Tube’.

She performed her debut single ‘Holiday’. 

May 1986 – Resident DJ Dave Haslam launches Thursday’s ‘Temperance Club’ night

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The Thursday night disco was aimed specifically at the city’s students, with cheap drinks and a free bus rides taking the customers back to campus.

May 1987 – T-Coy releases Carino

Responsible for the Haciendas ‘Nude’ club nights, resident DJ Mike Pickering had reservations about the bookings he was making, so took to recording himself with the 1987 release ‘Carino’.

June 1988 – A Guy Called Gerald releases Voodoo Ray 

What would quickly go on to being known as the anthem of the Hacienda, A Guy Called Gerald – aka Gerald Simpson of the Hit Squad – released Voodoo Ray.

The rest you could say is history. 

27th February 1989 – The Stone Roses play The Hacienda

A performance that would go down in the band’s history, The Stone Roses played The Hacienda in 1989 – just two months before the release of their self-titled debut album.

Brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher were both in attendance that night, a gig that they say without Oasis would never have been formed.

November 1989 – Happy Mondays release Rave On

An EP cover that would become synonymous with the club, Factory Records and The Hacienda – the Happy Mondays released their ‘Rave On’ EP in November 1989.


21st November 1989 – 808 State release Pacific State

Another anthem forever associated with the Hacienda; there doesn’t really get a bigger house track than this.

808 State’s Pacific State will always be remembered within that late ’80s/ early 90s era of rave culture.

28th June 1997 – The Hacienda closes its doors for the final time

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Following a spate of shootings, run-ins with the law and a drug-related death on the premises, The Hacienda finally closed its doors for good on 28th June 1997. 

And although the nightclub was no more, its influences throughout the UK and its rave scene has never waned.

11th October 1999 – The Chemical Brothers release ‘Out of Control’

With The Chemical Brothers sound heavily influenced by a combination of Haslam’s ‘Temperance Club’ Thursdays and Pickering’s ‘Nude’ Fridays, Manchester University’s own Tom Roland’s and Ed Simon’s released ‘Out of Control’ in 1999. 

With lead vocals from New Order’s Bernard Summer, the track can clearly be attributed to the influence The Hacienda had on the duo. 

2002 – The Hacienda is demolished to make way for city centre apartments

After standing empty for almost two years, the club was eventually snapped up by property developers and demolished to make way for city centre apartments. The end of an era.

Its legacy still lives on through the apartments’ title though, with ‘The Haçienda’ name licensed from Peter Hook.

13 February 2002 – 24 Hour Party People is released

Steve Coogan’s excellent portrayal of Mr.Manchester himself, Tony Wilson, took a look back at the rise of Factory Records and the story of The Hacienda.

Despite the club having been open for 15 years, the lack of archival footage led the filmmakers to build a remarkable replica in an Ancoats warehouse. The doors were opened to around a thousand revellers in March 2001, which would go on to be one of the most talked-about night in Manchester for years.

2015 – ‘Do You Own The Dancefloor?’ documentary released

Following the super-clubs demolition in 2000, 69 lots including bricks, signs, toilets and sections of its fabled dancefloor were auctioned off.

The 2015 ‘Do You Own The Dancefloor?’ documentary traces what happened to these unique pieces of memorabilia, as well as chatting to a few familiar faces along the way.

2016 – Hacienda Classical is formed

Comprised of legendary DJs Graeme Park and Mike Pickering, plus the Manchester Camerata Orchestra, Hacienda Classical was formed back in 2016. The project toured across the UK, bringing a new spin to a catalogue of club classics.

12th October 2019 – The Warehouse Project FAC51: The Hacienda

We were lucky to be in attendance of WHP’s FAC51: The Hacienda night in October 2019.

Split across two rooms for the night, the orchestral sounds of Haçienda Classical and Soul II Soul filled the Depot with violins, cellos and live vocals of some of the most infamous clubbing tunes of all time.

The concourse was still centred around the DJ, with sets by Hacienda icons Graham Park and Mike Pickering, Justin Robertson, and Chicago’s very own Marshall Jefferson.

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