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Report - - (Remastered) The Limelight Club, Crewe - May / April (2018 / 2019) | Leisure Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - (Remastered) The Limelight Club, Crewe - May / April (2018 / 2019)


TacticalDuck

Tactical Duck
28DL Full Member
Information and History:

The Limelight Club, located on Hightown Street in Crewe, Cheshire (CW1 3BP) was opened by the once Radio DJ 'Ray Bispham' in April of 1994.
The Building which was once a former English Church that had closed in the 1960's and remodelled into a snooker club in the 1970's was bought by Ray after he imagined the building as a great spot for local live music. The former snooker club was at that point abandoned itself and was reported to be overgrown and vandalised. Ray bought the building and after several months of remodelling, the Limelight club was opened to the public. The Club was very popular, as the club housed both local / independent Bands, as well as a series of tribute acts which spanned from tributes to famous rock bands ACDC to Thin Lizzy. The Club was later re-modelled in the early 2000's with a new bar being installed in the main hub of the Club as well as new Games Machines and Snooker tables. With the increase of patrons, the club later started adding extensions such as adding a small school room to the right of the main Church building, as well as converting a series of four small attached homes into one big 'Unplugged building. It wasn't until 2007 that the Club was given a new look, with freshly painted orange walls, revamped 'Rafters' club (upstairs bar) as well as all new signs and promotional material. The Limelight later adopted a social media presence, with a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

The Club was going well in the mid-to-late 2000's, with a steady increase in patrons as well as a large following in the live tribute scene, with various Bands from all down the country stopping by and playing a show. The Club became very popular and even caught the eye of the BBC who filmed a TV documentary under BBC Arena. The documentary which was filmed in October of 2007, gives a great look into the Club, which shows it packed full of patrons and bustling with all kinds of live Music. The Club at this time is seen packed full of games machines, snooker tables and concert posters which gives the viewer as sense of how big the Club was at that time. Despite having a great time running the Limelight however, Ray showed ambitions of moving on from the Club, after he had ran it for over ten years. Soon after the documentary was finished and was viewed on TV, Ray ended up leaving the Club and went on to live on a canal narrow-barge. However, Ray later returned in 2008 after his short break from managing the Club

BBC Arena - Into The Limelight - Full Documentary - 2007 - YouTube - Link to the Documentary

At this point in 2008, the Club had been re-vamped, with the old orange walls being repainted to a combination of Pink and Purple, as well as newly furbished lighting. The Annexe bar which at one point was a separate school room for pupils, was converted into a Café and mini bar. Despite the refurbishments done to the buildings, many locals began showing disinterested with the Club and due to this, the Club started to fail. The club tried desperately to show live Music as much as they could to lure patrons back in but more and more the club fell down hill. With increasing electric, water and gas bills increasing as well as the 2009 recession, the Club had planned to stay open until early 2010. The Club's final Gig took place on the 2nd of January 2010 until closing for the final time. Now as of 2022, the Club is under current restoration and is now being converted into a series of Apartments, with the Annexe Bar being turned into a small car park and the main church building being gutted and turned into flats. Sadly in 2022, the original manager and Limelight creator 'Ray Bispham' passed away from a health complications at the age of 67, a sad end to the Limelight's story.

https://www.cheshire-live.co.uk/news/chester-cheshire-news/tributes-crewe-music-legend-who-22663855 - Link to an article on Ray's passing

Quick Note:

This report is an overall remaster of my original report from 2018 and I have included re-edited photographs, as well as a few un-seen photos from around late 2018 and early 2019. The photo of the front entrance from years ago is not my photo. I don’t claim to own this photo, however I have tried my best to add colour to the image which originally was black and white.
I have done my best to edit these photos as the originals were very rough and difficult to make out due to my old camera. hopefully you guys will enjoy this remastered report.

Front entrance - photographed 1900’s:

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Front Entrance - Photographed 2018:

Front Entrance (One).JPG


Main Floor - Photographed 2018 / 2019:

Upon climbing in, I could immediately see the damage that had been done to the main floor. The fire from 2017 had defiantly done a huge amount of damage to the structure of the main floor and had burnt a lot of furniture and blackened the walls, leaving thick dirty soot. My guess was the smoke had blackened the walls while the fire spread due to the highly-flammable grey carpet. Other than the fire, I was quite surprised that a lot of the Limelight's electronic equipment and Snooker table equipment hadn't been destroyed. I only got quick looks but I could make out old Christmas decorations and large VHS style televisions (Proper Old-school.) The staircase which at one point had a sheet of glass, had been completely smashed and chunks of glass covered the main floor. Luckily I managed to avoid being stabbed by shards of glass and broken wood and managed to climb my way up to the second floor.

Main Bar (Front Entrance).JPG


Main Bar (Front Entrance Right View).JPG


Main Floor (Entrance).JPG


Main Floor (Overview).JPG


Main Bar (Back Area).jpeg


Main Floor (Extension).JPG


Main Floor Staircase - Photographed 2018 / 2019:

Looking down at the staircase, I noticed a large amount of Pigeon waste and broken glass. The stairs being as old as they were, were extremely squeaky and hard stand on. Due to the amount of glass and pigeon waste. The steps had become very un-level and made stepping on very tricky. Eventually we made it upstairs, and quickly was jump-scared by a pigeon, which was nesting on it's eggs. After putting my heart back in my chest, I began taking snaps of the upstairs. As I walked around the top floor, I managed to snap a quick look at the stairs from above, just show how high we were above the the main level. I will admit, even though I wasn't too bothered about the height, the floor was very rotten around the gap, which made leaning over quite nerve-racking.

Main Floor Staircase (Side View).JPG


Main Floor Staircase (Top View).JPG


Second Floor 'Rafters Bar' - Photographed 2018:

The Second Floor, commonly known as 'Rafters' by old-school patrons, had gone through many re-designs and changes before finalising as we see it today. At one point in history, the Second Floor contained a bowling alley of all things but later was removed and converted into a mini stage and later a mini bar and lounge type seating area. In the corners you will notice yellowish walls which were actually at one point, walled off sections which were originally men and women's toilets, as well as a fire escape staircase which is hidden underneath the window sheets. I assume during the 2017 fire, the smoke had travelled up stairs and stained the pink walls causing them to turn into a sooty black. The Hockey table was also quite a surprise as we assumed that nothing was left upstairs after the closing. Like as suspected though previous vandals had flipped the table, destroying it!

Second Floor (Staircase View).JPG


Second Floor (Overview).JPG


Second Floor Stage.JPG


Basement Level - Photographed 2018 / 2019:

Creeping on through into the extended area of the main bar, I came face to face with a large mass of exposed instillation. This was caused by the fire that occurred in 2017 which till this day has been reported as an act of arson. The Floor was covered with dust and bits of debris from the ceiling. The door leading down to the Concert Hall at one point had a witty jingle 'Welcome To The Limelight' sprawled on the glass, but at some point someone had punched a hole straight through it. As I looked down into the basement, I noticed the light started to disappear and this is when I started getting freaked out. The walls were covered in spider-webs and clumps of dust from the debris pit. At the bottom of the stairs me and my friends noticed a bent ladder and smashed doors, which at one point were doors to the 'Burger Bar' and kitchen. I noticed in the men's toilets off to the right was a single couch cushion which showed to me that someone at one point was taking up residence in the cramped, little toilet. I didn't bother pocking my head inside but if I did, I may have been greeted by an un-friendly face.

'Welcome To The Limelight' Concert Door.JPG


Concert Hall (Staircase View).jpg


Kitchen & Backstage Hallway.JPG


Concert Hall (Mens Toilets).JPG


Concert Hall - Photographed 2018:

The Concert Hall, which originally was a sub-basement to the original church, was a huge part of the Limelight when it was opened. The stage despite being quite small, played host to thousands of tribute and local bands. The Hall was by far the eeriest part of these explorations, as not only was it pitch black (despite having flashlights) but it was also the spot of the suicide victim of 2016. Despite visiting the Limelight in the spring time of 2018, the Concert Hall was eerily cold with a creepy silence despite the outside traffic. Other than these creepy occurrences, The Concert Hall was a blast to explore. We discovered all kinds of relics from the past, as well as a huge amount of old-school Gig posters, spanning from the 1990's all the way to the late 2000's. I want to apologise about the flashes in some of these shots. Due to it being very dark, my camera adjusted to using a flash effect which caused some minor exposure. I've done my best to edit out these flashes.

Concert Hall (Entrance View).jpg


Concert Hall (Stage).JPG


Concert Hall (Top View).JPG


Concert Hall Bar (Left View).JPG


Conerct Hall Bar (Right View).JPG


Ruined Couches.JPG


Fire Escape & Annexe Bar - Photographed 2018:

Moving on through the Concert Hall, we move into a mini fire escape passage and into the Annexe Bar. Liked previously mentioned, the Annexe Bar was at one point a school room which helped educate upcoming Priests and Nuns, but was later converted around 2004 / 2005 into the Annexe Bar. Once the 'Unplugged' building was too added, the Annexe Bar then was rebranded into the 'Limelight Café' which could be seen from the outside sign. The Annexe Bar was in fairly bad damage, with large chunks of plaster board smashed and glass from the rounded window covering the floor. despite this, the Annexe Bar was some-what cleaner than the rest of the Club.

Fire Escape Hallway.jpg


Annexe Bar Window.JPG


Unplugged Main Floor - Photographed 2018 / 2019:

The 'Unplugged' building was a large extension to the annexe bar which also housed a large conservatory at the back of the building. the Unplugged building acted as a comedy club as well as a small gigging spot when the Limelight was up and open. Behind the staircase was a large entrance to a kitchen which after the 2015 fire, was completely destroyed. The conservatory was too burnt and destroyed, with only minor hints of the past shinning through the charred remains. The unplugged building was a great success at the time, as the building acted as a mellow pub for the patrons and on special occasions hosted small independent local bands and growing independent comedians.

Unplugged Main Floor.JPG


Unplugged Staircase.JPG


Left behind Machinery - Photographed 2018 / 2019:

Throughout the explorations through the Limelight, I encountered multiple left behind pieces of Bar kit and Stage equipment. Even though I didn't photograph everything at the time, there were lots of left over Gig flyers scattered all over the floor and Stage equipment such as large Peavy Bass speakers and Audio Interface boxes. When rummaging around the Concert Hall Bar, I encountered lots preserved pint and wine glasses just left all over the bar floor and bar counters. what was amazing was the amount of gig posters that still were glued to the walls, just a small glimpse into the past that the Limelight had. The Concert Hall was also full of damaged furniture such as ripped Couches and broken stools. Despite only getting a few pictures of these odd's n' ends, I was happy to at least catch something.


Broken Cash Machine.JPG


Broken Till.JPG


Audio Interface Box.JPG


Conclusion:

Despite the Limelight now in the hands of a property developer, nothing has been done to the main church building, as well as the Annexe Bar. The 'Unplugged' building however, has recently (as of writing this) been converted in studio apartments and potentially in the future the main church will too be turned into apartments. I had lots of fun exploring this building, as I am a huge supporter of preserving the history of this building. If you wish to contact me regarding the photos seen, Email me at TacticalDuck. Many regards!

I want to give many thanks to the Limelight Facebook group who has continued to post updates on the state of the Club as well as helpful information regarding the history of the Club

Crewe Limelight - Home | Facebook - Link to The Limelight Facebook Group
 
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Ethan Johnson

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Really good report you've made of LimeLight. Its a real shame to see this place in such bad conditions and I am surprised to find out how close this place is to home :thumb :cool
 

TacticalDuck

Tactical Duck
28DL Full Member
Really good report you've made of LimeLight. Its a real shame to see this place in such bad conditions and I am surprised to find out how close this place is to home :thumb :cool
Thank you! I’ve been obsessed with this building since I explored it and figured I should make a huge remaster of the original report I did in 2018.
 

TacticalDuck

Tactical Duck
28DL Full Member
REPORT - (REMASTERED) THE LIMELIGHT CLUB, CREWE - MAY / APRIL (2018 / 2019)

I dread to think what they were like the first time around:eek
You can still visit my original post if you like to compare the original photos. Let’s just say I’m proud of the editing I’ve done compared to before :lol
 

TacticalDuck

Tactical Duck
28DL Full Member
Quick Update:
Hey Everyone! Just making this quick update to the thread as I've stumbled across some old photos I took back around late 2017 early 2018 maybe? . . .
I'm not to sure when I took the photos but it was way before me actually getting into this place. It's not much but I got a decent shot of the front entrance, up close and far away, as well as a interesting shot through the Annexe Bar Mail Flap. These were taken back when you could actually get up close to the building and not boarded off like nowadays. I wasn't able to find anymore but I thought I'd share them instead of letting them sit on my Hard drive. I've done my best to edit them and make them look unblurred and more 1080p than 420p :lol

Front Entrance - (Photographed 2017 / 2018)

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Front Entrance Stairs Snap - (Photographed 2017 / 2018)

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Annexe Bar Front Door Snap - (Photographed 2017 / 2018)

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