A community group has launched a campaign to save the building where music legends, the Bee Gees, first performed.
The volunteer group, Chorlton Community Land Trust (CCLT), are campaigning to save The Co-op Funeral Care from being sold off and turned into flats.
The historic building – formerly The Gaumont – will be 100 years old in 2020 and is the venue where the Bee Gees first performed in public.
The Bee Gees have sold more than 220 million records worldwide, making them one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time! But before the Bee Gees, the Gibb brothers’ first band, The Rattlesnakes made their live debut at their local cinema, The Gaumont, round the corner Oswald County School where the boys went to primary school.
In Australia Bees Gees Way was created to honour the band’s hometown in Moreton Bay, Queensland where they lived, after emigrating from Chorlton, Manchester. However, in the UK, there is very little to mark the band’s roots.
The CCLT’s Stayin Alive campaign to save the venue and celebrate the Bee Gees’ heritage is getting support from fans around the world, as well surviving Bee Gee, Barry Gibb along with his cousins, Hazel and Justine Gibb.
Simon Hooton from CCLT said:
“Time is critical to save this landmark building – we have just a few days left to persuade the Co-op to change course.
“It is an important part of Manchester’s historic music scene, so we want to preserve it and celebrate the world-famous Bee Gees and encourage more visitors to the area.
“Bee Gees fans from all over the world come to have their pictures taken outside – even though it’s a funeral home!”
CCLT have been working with developers and residents to generate a plan that would help make Chorlton a more vibrant place for residents and visitors and retain this unique piece of music history. The plans will see the old cinema building converted into a market-style food hall with flexible scope to also be a performance space for live music and cinema nights.
CCLT are also working with the local community health centre to bring forward a new GP Practice with potentially a gym, community space and some affordable housing on the site too. The campaigners are also keen to integrate the development with the upcoming re-development of the precinct and to create a new public square outside the building too.
A spokesman for CCLT said the group have been liaising with Manchester City Council and the Co-op, who have given them until Saturday (November 9)to raise £250k.
The #StayinAlive crowdfunding website is now up and running. Click here to donate and help a community save an important historic building.
Also published on Medium.