Sankeys is – quite rightly – the stuff of legend, a part of Manchester’s nightlife that will be talked about for decades to come.
While Ancoats 2022 is a maze of bars and restaurants, back in the 1990s Sankeys was the only destination most people bothered with – mostly everything else was a shell of a warehouse.
The doors to the club opened, and closed, and opened again, and closed again, with a few tweaks to its name along the way.
Whether you remember it as the Sankeys Soap that opened in 1994, or the Sankeys that built an actual beach (using 50 tonnes of sand) in 2009, or even if you never made it onto this hallowed dancefloor, you probably have a story about the venue.
It hosted everyone from Boy George to Bjork to the Spice Girls to Daft Punk, but famously turned away a baby-faced Justin Bieber (too shuffley, apparently).
Nowadays it’s one of many, many converted mill buildings around the neighbourhood, filled with small businesses and apartments.
But Urban Splash, who have repurposed Beehive Mill into a co-working space, have kept many traces of Sankeys alive.
Building manager Carl Holt, once a doorman at Sankeys, remembers when the entrance – now a wall of glass doors with fingerprint recognition – when it had huge steel doors to deter the cars that used to try and ram their way in.
The foyer of the building proudly displays photographs from the club’s final days, showing off rows of empty spirits bottles, crumpled promotional posters, and sticky dance floors.
Videos from club nights at Sankeys are projected on to the concrete wall that houses the mail boxes.
There’s even the old safe, which developers drilled open to find years-old contraband confiscated from clubbers.
The old dance floor is now home to the head office of The Prince’s Trust, who store their outdoors equipment (wetsuits and the like) in what was once the smoking area, the jungle-inspired graffiti still covering the walls.
Credit: The Manc Group
The old wooden staircase of Sankeys is now a fire escape and mostly blocked off from public view, while the former recording studios have been turned into bicycle storage rooms and office spaces.
Important meetings that now take place here are actually in what was Sankeys’ medical room, tending to revellers who’d overdone it a bit.
The safe Urban Splash found when converting Beehive Mill. Credit: The Manc Group
The old Sankeys medical room. Credit: The Manc Group
Beehive Mill. Credit: The Manc Group
Carl says: “When Urban Splash bought it, they revamped it from top to bottom.
“It’s flipped on its head, where there’s now all this business based here. It’s great to see but it is a big change.
“I find it quite satisfying – yes I loved it when it was Sankeys, but I also like it the way it is now.
Bullet For My Valentine and Trivium announce joint Manchester gig at Co-op Live
Bullet For My Valentine and Trivium have just announced a huge joint arena tour, including a date in Manchester.
Both bands will be performing at the Co-op Live arena as part of The Poisoned Ascendancy UK Tour in 2025.
They’ll be playing their respective albums in full to celebrate their 20th anniversary.
Bullet For My Valentine frontman Matt Tuck said: “I honestly can’t believe it’s been 20 years since the release of The Poison, and what an incredible 20 years it’s been.
“I feel so proud of what we’ve achieved as a band in the last two decades and it all started with that debut album.
“The Poison is such an important part of our lives musically and personally and we know the massive impact it had on the metal world on a global level.
“This tour will be made even more special as our brothers in Trivium are also joining us on the road to celebrate and play in its entirety their stunning album Ascendancy.”
Trivium frontman Matt Heafy said: “Bullet For My Valentine’s The Poison and Trivium’s Ascendancy are two records whose influence can be heard to this day – in the DNA of modern metal.
“It’s incredible to think of the impact the albums had when they came out in 2005. They were both like bolts of lightning.
“Both bands grew up independently of each other in different countries and separately from any movement or scene but both shared a common love of melodic heavy metal at the core; and both had similar meteoric rises right out of the gate.
“Trivium and BFMV were in such whirlwinds when our respective albums came out that we each never truly got to play together or sit back and celebrate during the maelstrom of constant touring, recording and globetrotting.
“But that’s what this anniversary tour is. It’s a celebration by the bands to the fans of an important era, and most importantly it’s an invitation to fans come and have an epic night with us and sing and rage and celebrate the awesome power of the music.”
“This is going to be the metal tour of 2025,” concludes Tuck. “Bullet For My Valentine and Trivium The Poisoned Ascendancy World Tour 2025. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of both albums and playing them in their entirety.
“Get excited people, it’s going to be special and we can’t wait to celebrate with you all.”
Bulley For My Valentine and Trivium – the Poisoned Ascendency Tour, will be at the Co-op Live on 30 January 2025.
The tour will also visit Cardiff, Glasgow, Birmingham, and London.