JILLY'S ROCKWORLD - HOME OF MANCHESTER'S ROCK & ALTERNATIVE COMMUNITY
OUR HISTORY - FAGIN'S / ROCKWORLD

Jilly's Rockworld is not only todays No.1 Rock/Alternative club in Manchester, but also has a long and illustrious history indeed. The club is the second oldest in Manchester. Originally called Fagin's, it was a well-known caberet club throughout the seventies and eighties where many of the top stars of the day, such as Scott Walker, Cliff Richard, Lulu, Tommy Cooper, appeared. Fagin's first opened it's doors in 1970, with the downstairs club openning 18 months later in 1971. Now known as The Music Box the downstairs was then called Rafters. Throughout the eighties Fagins continued very much as a cabaret venue, but also would put on various rock gigs with bands such as Hawkwind and Thunder, and artists like Sade and Pigbag. In 1981 a seperate disco room was created called Funnies - later becoming the Fishbowl.
By the end of the eighties the old vangaurd of cabaret was beginning to dwindle. So in 1990 Fagins was renamed Rockworld and started a new era with a
complete changeover of music policy which saw the club become Manchester's premier rock club. Our legendary Friday Allnighter was introduced at this time with DJ John Gannon arriving from The Banshee and The Ritz. At that time both upstairs and downstairs were made into one club. Then 1996 Rockworld's upstairs were split further to create the new room 1, whilst downstairs was seperated to create the MusicBox. A new venue for gigs and special events like the many regular dance nights held there. Whilst the upstairs now incorporated the Jilly's name. In March 2003 Room 4 was opened to further increase Rockworlds variety. Continously updating it's seen many changes and styles in rock and continues to be at the forefront of the rock scene.

RAFTERS / JILLY'S / MUSICBOX

Rafters was a originally a disco and live venue. Soon after opening it hosted the first singles nights in Manchester on Monday and Wenesday nights. Whilst Tuesday it hosted a Folk night. By the mid seventies the venue was putting on more and more live gigs. As the punk scene began to flourish in 1976/77 it proved to be a vital venue for many of the new bands. This was the beginning of the clubs move towards an increasing rock based venue. That period of the late seventies and early eighties saw a great many bands make early appearances before going on to greater success. Bands such Joy Division, Depeche Mode and Bauhaus all played there during that time.

In 1977, Paul Young of Sad Café and Dougie James had began promoting at Rafters in Manchester, whilst Rob Gretton had become a central figure in the Manchester punk scene with his involvement with Slaughter & the Dogs, his management of The Panik, and his dj sets at Rafters. Mick Middles first met Gretton at this point in his life: “To be honest, I have nothing but fond memories of Rob Gretton. By chance, I knew him before his days running bands, clubs and terrorising journalists. It was 1977, Gretton, just back from a mind-swelling spell in a Kibbutz, was trying to write a fanzine about his local glam rock punk band, 'Slaughter and the Dogs'. It's odd to recall him as a young man. Same glasses, smaller frame, curiously reverential attitude. As I had scaled the dizzying heights of actually producing the kind of wholly illiterate, appallingly written, indecipherable drivel that passed for a fanzine in those days, (Rob) Gretton clung to my coat tails - literally - during interviews with sundry fallen legends, The Drones and Slaughter and the Dogs"
At the Stiff Records Test / Chiswick Challenge at Rafters on April 14th 1978, the band Joy Division had an opportunity to impress not only Rob Gretton but also Tony Wilson, already a well-known presenter on Granada TV. Joy Division were scheduled to appear last on a bill of seventeen bands. As a result the band were so wound up that Tony Wilson and Rob Gretton were won over by the sheer energy of their performance. Gretton is reported to have said, after their 3 or 4 song set: "So they went on about ten to two and they were blazing madmen. And I just went and watched them. Great! Best band I've ever seen – and they sent a tingle up my spine. And I was dancing all over...I went up telling them - at the end - telling them how brilliant I thought it was...And I went raving about them all next day" Gretton had previously encountered the band under the name Warsaw when he was dj-ing at Rafters in June 1977. At that time he thought that they looked a little weird but also that: “they were the best band [I’d] ever seen."

Also during that time friday and saturday nights were given over to soul nights as DJ Colin Curtis recalls, "The Mecca had run its course. It was the end of an era. Where do you go from here? So, I’d been to Birmingham and Wolverhampton looking at clubs and thinking, well, I dunno… Kev Edwards who worked behind counter at Spin Inn in Manchester, he phoned me and said, ‘I’m going to Angels in Burnley tonight can I have a word with you?’ Angels was more of a Mecca spin-off and Richard Searling used to play there on a Wednesday, so it was a good chill-out place. He said, ‘I want you want to meet this guy in Manchester, I want you to meet him and do something here’. About a month later, in 1978, I drove into Manchester to meet this guy called John Grant in a pub. In walked this guy with what looked like a Brillo pad on his head – his hair – glasses, looked like me dad. He’s got speakers under each arm. Huge bloke. So he built this mobile disco while we drank our Cokes and then proceeded to play the night… He played similar to what we played at Blackpool but with a black feel. He got a mixed crowd, but it was busy. I spoke to him and we agreed to go and have a look at a few venues. We looked at a club called Fagin’s on Oxford Road. Fagin’s had been a rock club, loads of bands had played there and it had mainly been frequented by rockers. ......... I took one look at it and said, no way. He said, ‘Look we’ll chuck £5 or £600 at it. ....I can put the sound in.’ Very reluctantly, I agreed to get involved. Four weeks after we opened there was 800 - 900 people there....
.....Rafters itself ran till about 83. We did Rafters on Fridays and Saturdays. Fridays were more commercial, not pop, but more commercial."
Mike Shaft, a key figure on the Manchester soul scene, was also a DJ at Rafters during this time, his 'Takin' Care of Business' show on Piccadilly Radio (1978-86) was unmissable. He was then the driving force behind Sunset Radio, keeping the faith, and broadcasting to inner city Manchester in the early 1990s.

It was at the start of the eighties that Rafters was renamed Jilly's. The original Jilly's had been a small basement rock club near Piccadilly Station thoughout the seventies. Now the time was right for the well-known and well-loved rock club to be revived in it's new home, with its brilliant rock nights.
Since bdecoming the MusicBox in 1993 club has continued to develop and grow, and to be a home to established and new bands.

The old Fagins Logo:
logo
RECORDINGS AT JILLYS ROCKWORLD:
Throbbing Gristle - TG+ [Limited Edition] [Box set] - The 10 final live shows by Throbbing Gristle, as 10 cd's in one beautiful box. This box set covers the period from March 1980 to the bands end, in San Francisco, May 1981. It includes some favourite shows, such as the one at The Rafters Club in Manchester (4.12.1981) - this has only previously been issued on cd as a poorly recorded (from vinyl) bootleg, but now here it is in all its unblemished glory - and also featuring about 8 minutes extra to that bootleg.
BAUHAUS - Ziggy Stardust 12" single contains live version of "Waiting for my man" with Nico - recorded 29/10/82 FAGINS MANCHESTER
THE FALL - Hex Enduction Hour - 1982 album - Re-issue CD 2005 bonus disc - "I'm into C.B. (Stars on 45 Version)" (Carroll, Scanlon, Smith) – 3:14 live at Fagins, Manchester, September 30, 1981
24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE - Used as a venue for the filming of some the club scenes.
Flyer Advertising gigs at Rafters:
rafters 78
Flyer from 1973:
ticket front
ticket back
MEMORIES SOME PEOPLE HAVE SHARED:

"I remember seeing Gerry and the Pacemakers at the Club in 1980, a couple of years before I met them at another Cabaret Venue, Fagins on Oxford Street. But in those days, you could get a night bus home seven days a week, whether you had been for a night out, or whether you worked there. It didn't matter whether you went to a Cabaret club like The Willows, Golden Garter or Fagins, or if you went to see the Salford Jets in a late night concert, you could always get transport home."

" I have seen Chubby (Roy Chubby Brown) many times over the years and he has never been better than the old days when he used to play Fagins on Oxford Road..."

"Just reading your web page brought back fond memories of Fagins. I saw the Grumble Weeds in 1977, Dougie James there in December 1977, in fact one of the friends I was with got us into Dougie James's dressing room after his show !
I had my hen night there in June 1978.My friends and I had some good nights there during the seventies.
Regards Gill Drummond
"
ALL FEW GIG DATES OF INTEREST:
DEPECHE MODE 03/11/81 FAGINS MANCHESTER
DEPECHE MODE 04/11/81 FAGINS MANCHESTER
DEPECHE MODE 15/08/81 RAFTERS  MANCHESTER
BAUHAUS 22/10/80 RAFTERS MANCHESTER
BAUHAUS 20/08/81 RAFTERS MANCHESTER
THE FALL 30/09/81 Fagins, Manchester
ADAM & THE ANTS Apr 27th 1978 - Rafters, Manchester
WARSAW (JOY DIVISION) 31/5/77 RAFTERS
WARSAW (JOY DIVISION) 30/6/77 RAFTERS
WARSAW (JOY DIVISION) 13/10/77 RAFTERS
WARSAW (JOY DIVISION) 24/11/77 RAFTERS
JOY DIVISION 14/4/78 RAFTERS
THE SMIRKS 30/06/78 Rafters, Manchester (with Ed Banger) AD BELOW:-
smirks
XTC & FAST CARS 29/05/78 RAFTERS - POSTER SHOWN BELOW
xtc

OTHER IMAGES FROM OUR PAST

Buzzcocks
BUZZCOCKS
Magazine
1978
1983
Scott Walker
Sade
John Curtis

If you have any memories, relics or information you wish to share with us we would be very pleaswed to hear from you! Please email jillysrockworld@hotmail.co.uk