Saluting the soul survivors at Hartlepool United Supporters Club

Dancers out on the floor at the first Hartlepool Northern Soul Night.
Dancers out on the floor at the first Hartlepool Northern Soul Night.

NORTHERN Soul fans in Hartlepool are polishing their dancing shoes as they prepare to celebrate the first anniversary of a club that brought regular sessions of “the best music in the world” back to the town.

Hartlepool Northern Soul Club will throw open the doors of its regular venue, the Hartlepool United Supporters Club in Duke Street, on Saturday for an all-day event to mark a year ‘out on the floor’.

Getting underway at 1pm and running until midnight, the all-dayer will see more than a dozen DJs take to the decks to pay homage to the hugely popular sub genre of American soul music.

Since its first Friday night ‘do’ back in 2012, Hartlepool Northern Soul Club has seen its monthly Northern Soul nights grow in popularity, while a Facebook page set up to promote the events and keep soul fans posted has attracted more than 200 fans.

Northern Soul has been a massive, but largely underground scene since the first clubs in Britain to play the music - the Twisted Wheel in Manchester and the Torch in Stoke on Trent - burst onto the scene in the late 1960s.

Hartlepool revelled in its own scene back then, with clubs like the Gemini and the Engineers serving as venues where soul fans could ‘keep the faith’ in between trips to legendary clubs like Wigan Casino.

Those regular sessions were resurrected last year when local promoter David Halcrow played the first of the hundreds of classic tracks that have since filled the Supporters Club dance floor and kept the appreciative regulars coming back for more.

David, 57, a part-time taxi driver from Brierton who also works as a DJ in a town centre bar, says the Supporters now regularly attracts up to 150 soul fans to the monthly sessions and heaped praise on those who keep the club alive.

David said: “I’d like to thank all the regulars who make the club what it is and help to keep Northern Soul alive and well in Hartlepool. Many of them are veteran soul fans who really know their stuff, so we must be doing something right to keep them coming back.”

One of those regulars is Jacqueline Wanley, a 52-year old support worker from the Headland, who said: “Until I walked into the Supporters last year I hadn’t been to a Northern Soul night since the last time I went to Wigan Casino in 1981. I’ve met old friends and made new ones, all with one thing in common: a love of the best music in the world.”

Veteran northern fan Paul Henry, a 52-year old data manager from Seaton Carew who never misses a night at the Supporters, added: “It’s great to see the club approaching its first anniversary. It’s gone from strength to strength and it’s all credit to David. He has an excellent group of resident DJs and regularly mixes things up with brilliant guest DJs, so here’s to the next year.”

Fans attending the ‘1st anniversary stomper’ can pay their £4 on the door of the Supporters Club on Saturday but are advised to arrive early as the club has a capacity of 200 and the event is expected to be popular.