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The Carleton, which has run a student night every Wednesday for over 15 years, will shut its doors for the last time this coming Wednesday (Week 10).
In an official statement to SCAN, the club’s Manager Stewart Aimson stated “due to a lack of students supporting The Carleton, we have had to make the sad decision to close the Wednesday Student Night as of Week 10 of Term 2.”
The nightclub is renowned for its cheesy music, fancy dress and the infamous ‘stiff un’ drinks, and has seen thousands of students attend during its long history.
For several years, The Carleton has been the official Wednesday night, endorsed by Lancaster University Students’ Union (LUSU). The club was particularly popular with sports teams, as the majority of sporting fixtures take place on a Wednesday afternoon.
LUSU’s city-based nightclub, The Sugarhouse, used to host a Wednesday night aimed at students from Cumbria University (UCUM). However, at the beginning of this academic year, LUSU unveiled a new night, Jinxed, aimed at students from both UCUM and Lancaster University.
Aimson has expressed his disappointment at the Students’ Union decision regarding Wednesday nights. He said “As the Manager of The Carleton, I feel that we were misled at the begining of the year by what was happening with Sugar on a Wednesday.”
He went on to reference “a gentleman’s handshake with… LUSU about being the official [Wednesday] night.”
LUSU’s Business Development Manager, Jo Hardman, explained The Sugarhouse’s decision to open up their Wednesday night to all students. Hardman stated “LUSU has been working with University of Cumbria SU for a number of years and it was decided to relaunch Wednesday might at the start of the academic year.”
Discussing the night’s music policy, he pointed out “no one was doing an Indie Night in Lancaster, and so it was decided that this should be the basis of the new night, especially as if differed from what the Carleton did.”
Hardman added “LUSU continued to offer the same support to the Carleton as it did in the past, but its seen its attendances decline over the last few years and it’s sad to see that it has not been able to continue.”
The Carleton’s Wednesday night closure is another blow to the night life on offer to students within the Lancaster area. In the past two years, Cuba nightclub has closed, as well as the more recent closure of Toast nightclub.
Commenting on the recent closures in Lancaster, LUSU Vice President (Events and Democracy) Olly Trumble explained that this is not only a problem within the Lancaster area. He said “like many city centres around the country, Lancaster’s night time trade has been affected by the current economic climate. It is a shame to see clubs and bars having to close due to financial difficulty and in many cases this has been unavoidable.”
He added “LUSU have been working to try and support the city centre this term through events such as The Big Night Out and will also be working with the city centre to provide a range of offers during The Roses Tournament. This is in a bid to support the city centre and the hope is that events like these will continue growing to ensure that there is a variety of on offer for students in Lancaster.”
SCAN ran a Facebook poll on Monday, asking if students will miss The Carleton or not. As this story was published, 243 votes had been cast of which 162 stated they would miss the nightclub. This equates to exactly two thirds of the votes in favour of The Carleton.
Third year County student, Tania Nadarajah said she’d miss The Carleton because it “summarises my uni life – cheap drinks, cheesy music, and a whole lot of memory blanks.” She added “it was the place to go on a Wednesday, as no student wants to go to Sugar three times a week.”
Charli Stevenson, a second year Cartmel student, has never been to The Carleton and said “not going hasn’t caused me any upset in the past two years so I won’t miss the lack of it in the future.” Callum Billings, a Lonsdale second year student, said he would rather opt for a night out in Lancaster instead as he was “not much of a sticky floor fan.”
For their final Wednesday opening, The Carleton will be offering all students free entry. There will also be commemorative t-shirts on sale, and students will be able to purchase stiff un glasses to take home as a souvenir.
Aimson concluded that he “felt saddened that I have to make this unpleasant decision.” He did, however, point out The Carleton will still be open for other events. “Students are still more than welcome to come to some of our many varied events. We host boxing shows, wrestling, dance nights, and scooter festivals. We will still host the Freshers’ dinners and disco afterwards and we are still available for private hire,” he added.