Tram work the nail in coffin of iconic music venue

Reporter: Andrew Rudkin
Date published: 01 May 2013

But owners vow to go out on a two-night high note
MUSIC-LOVERS will bid farewell this weekend to an iconic Oldham venue earmarked for demolition.

The Castle’s 150-year-old premises will close its doors for the last time — and the owner blames Metrolink works for their loss of trade that has led to the closure.

The keys of the Union Street premises — in which legends such as Oasis and Inspiral Carpets played early gigs - will be handed over to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) on Tuesday, after an emotional two-night farewell with live bands and DJs.

Aaron Mellor - Tokyo Industries’ managing director and owner of The Castle and Oldham nightclub Tokyo Project - said: “We have had some amazing years; some incredible shows we’ll never forget. But Oldham is no longer the same place. Oldham once had more pubs per square mile than any other town in the country. People used to come to Oldham from miles around for its vibrancy.

“The disturbance Metrolink has created along Union Street has pretty much destroyed what was left of the trade at The Castle. Ironically they then approached us to buy it. This gives us a poignant full stop. Sometimes things have to change to move on.”

TfGM declined to comment on the purchase. Plans have been submitted to Oldham Council for the building’s demolition.

Martin Commons (26), who worked there, called it a “tragedy” for live music in Oldham.

He said: “Oldham is quickly becoming a ghost town. How is this tram going to improve the town centre when it’s just going to be full of take-aways and pound shops?

“I met around 80 per cent of my mates at The Castle. It will be sad this weekend — and to see it eventually knocked down.”

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