'The day the music died' - how Gatecrasher nightclub blaze left clubbers devastated in Sheffield and beyond
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They were scenes more akin to a tragic death than a building fire.
But this was no ordinary building blaze.
It was the day the music died.
Sixteen years ago, in June 2007, flames tore through Sheffield superclub Gatecrasher - razing the iconic nightspot to the ground.
And in the hours afterwards, as news of the blaze began to spread, devastated clubbers and dance music fans flocked to the charred venue on Matilda Street, Sheffield city centre, to pay their respects.
A bouquet left at the scene was accompanied by the message: "The music, the lights, the spirit of the people. We will always remember you."
Angela Howard, who organised two minutes’ silence for clubbers to share memories and pay their last respects, said at the time: "Gatecrasher was a way of life, it gave me the best times of my life."
Then aged 30, and a regular in the club’s heyday, Angela, from Manchester, said: "I can’t believe it’s gone.
"I am devastated. I started crying when I saw it. I really feel like a friend has died."
DJ Paul Pearson, from Rotherham, who was also among the 20 or so mourners who turned up, said the club had inspired him to get behind the decks.
"Gatecrasher is the only reason why I started DJ-ing," said Paul, then 25.
"I am still in shock at the news. It was the best night out ever and nothing could match it.
"I have been coming for about eight years and it was a total inspiration."
After the silence, a memorial party was held at the Howard pub on Howard Street, known as the unofficial pre-Gatecrasher bar where clubbers would start their night out.
Gatecrasher One, formerly Republic, was destroyed by the fire which ripped through the club on the late afternoon of June 18, 2007.
Luckily only a handful of staff were inside at the time and all got out safely.
Around 25 firefighters tackled the blaze - and said afterwards revellers would have struggled to flee had the superclub been open.
Flames engulfed the entire 1,426-capacity building so quickly police said the consequences 'did not bear thinking about'.
From the time club staff spotted the blaze and dialled 999 it took just minutes for 25ft flames to rip through the venue, sending flames shooting through the roof and causing parts of the building to collapse.
Within two hours, three quarters of the building had caved in.
Streets around the area, including Arundel Street, Matilda Street, Sydney Street, Cumberland Street and Furnival Road, were closed by police as fire crews tackled the blaze at the nearly 100-year-old building.
The shock blaze robbed Sheffield of one of the best clubs in the country and left a gaping hole in the city’s scene, according to nightlife experts.
Neil Anderson, editor of Sheffield's Dirty Stop Outs Guide, said at the time: "It has been an icon and an international brand that has been a real tourism force for the region.
"Reverberations are going to be felt far and wide - among hotels, promoters, DJs and bars that used to rely on its punters."
At the height of its success in the mid to late 90s Gatecrasher would attract thousands of devoted clubbers every weekend who would flock to see the country’s best DJs including Judge Jules, Paul Oakenfold and DJ Sasha.
The club - in the old Roper and Wreakes factory - started off life as Style when Anwar Akhtar opened it in 1995, before becoming Republic and hosting popular Gatecrasher nights. Gatecrasher eventually bought the venue in 1997 and it became renowned as one of the best clubs in the country.
It underwent a £1.5 million refurbishment in 2003 and was one of the last surviving iconic superclubs, outliving the likes of Cream.
Matt Hardwick, Gatecrasher’s resident DJ since 1995, said at the time of the fire: "Gatecrasher, and in particular the Republic, or GC1 as it became known, shaped the world clubbing scene.
"I always got the impression the people of Sheffield never really understood how important that place was, but having travelled the globe as a DJ, I can tell you it was considered to be the best club in the world."
Det Chf Insp Steve Williams, who led the police investigation, agreed he had been astonished at the outpouring of emotion.
"There have been people coming at all times to take photographs, leave flowers and even put up a banner," he said.
"The club obviously meant a lot to many people.
"Living in Sheffield and with the club on our doorstep a lot of us perhaps didn’t realise just how well known the club was nationally and how big it was on the club scene. The fire has obviously affected a lot of people."
A definitive cause for the fire - thought to have started in the DJ box in the main room - was never ascertained.
The official fire report concluded the cause of the blaze was 'not known'.
The site has since been redeveloped into student accommodation, which opened in 2016.
The garden courtyard contains a feature in the shape of a record turntable, and the four wings of the buildings each have musical names: Accent, Mezzo, Opus and Vivo.