Fans launch fight to save Manchester venue were Bee Gees first sangNovember 7, 2019
Stayin’ Alive? Bee Gees fans launch fight to save Manchester venue where trio first sang
- Former cinema in Chorlton is where the trio made live debut as The Rattlesnakes
- The 99-year-old building is now a funeral home but has been put up for sale
- Co-op Funeral Care could demolishing the building and develop site for flats
- Campaigners want to turn into a venue for arts, music, film and performances
Fans of the Bee Gees are hoping to save the building where the Gibb brothers first performed more than 60 years ago.
The former Gaumont cinema in Chorlton, Manchester, is where the trio made their live debut as The Rattlesnakes in 1957.
The 99-year-old building is now funeral home but has been put up for sale by the owners Co-op Funeral Care with view demolishing it and developing the site for flats.
The Gibb brothers performed as The Rattlesnakes before going on to form the Bee Gees in 1958
The former Gaumont cinema in Chorlton, Manchester: The historic site could be demolished
Campaigners want to turn the building into a community venue for arts, music, film and performances.
Campaigners have launched the Stayin’ Alive appeal, which has surpassed its initial £250,000 target and is now hoping to raise £500,000.
The Chorlton Community Land Trust, which has organised the campaign, says it has until Friday to submit an offer for the building.
Chairman of the group Steve Goslyn said: ‘The Gaumont was the place where the Bee Gees – as young boys – played their first live gig.
‘We’ve listened to people in the Chorlton community who are excited about the opportunity for this space to be a fantastic venue for arts, films, music, performance and public gatherings.
‘This appeal isn’t just for people in Chorlton or Manchester, it’s an appeal for Bee Gees fans worldwide.’
Campaigners want to turn the building into a community venue for arts, music, film and performances. Pictured, the Gaumont in 1938
Chris Peacock, who is leading the campaign, added: ‘Bee Gees fans still travel to get their photos taken next to the building, even though it’s now a funeral home.
‘Really it should be as important to Manchester as the Cavern club is to the legacy of the Beatles in Liverpool.’
The campaign has been supported by Bee Gees fans around the world as well as the Gibb brothers’ cousins, Hazel and Justine Gibb.
Although the brothers – Barry, Robin and Maurice – were born on the Isle of Man, they lived in Chorlton for seven years and attended Oswald Road Primary School.
A spokeswoman for Co-op Funeralcare said it had been a ‘hard decision’ to move out of the building after more than 50 years but they were working with Chorlton Community Land Trust to ensure ‘they are fully involved in the sale process’.
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