Image : Lancaster 50th Anniversary

Remember When

Here are some of the people and events that have made the University what it is today.

Send your memories and anecdotes (max 300 words plus a high resolution photograph) to alumni@lancaster.ac.uk.

We’ll include as many as we can.

Opening of The Sugarhouse

In 1982, Lancaster University Students’ Union (LUSU) obtained what would become The Sugarhouse, the official Union nightclub. On December 3rd that year, the nightclub was officially opened by University Chancellor, Princess Alexandra and Lord Taylor of Blackburn.

Originally leased to the Students’ Union by Mitchell’s Brewery for twenty five years, the Students’ Union bought it in 1994. Upon its opening, there were fears from the student body that it would destroy and take business from the college bars; however thirty two years later, the nightclub continues to be a popular choice for students and the bars continue to thrive. 

At the time, The Sugarhouse was viewed as a much needed social space for Lancaster students and it was hoped that the club would increase the harmony and community spirit between the University and the City of Lancaster. The original Sugarhouse venue was divided into three areas: the Cocktail Lounge, the Games Room and the Main Hall. The Main Hall served as the nightclub venue and boasted one of the largest dance floors in the city, with a large bar lounge that opened onto the hall which served four different beers and lagers, as well as bar snacks. The Games Room contained pool tables, videos and darts. The Cocktail Lounge could hold up to seventy people and was designed for small functions, with separate exits and entrances to the Main Hall in order to be used for different events. 

In the first two years of its opening, the venue was used for a broad range of events, such as discos, concerts, lectures, birthday parties, film screenings, sport nights, cabarets, trade exhibitions, dinner dances, meetings, Christmas dinners, award nights, theatre productions and comedy shows. The Sugarhouse was also originally open during the day, which led to significant losses in the first eighteen months of opening. 

Since then, The Sugarhouse has changed and evolved in both its design and function. The three rooms are now primarily used as a nightclub, though it does occasionally host other events. It must not be forgotten though that The Sugarhouse has been host to big names such as Travis, Toploader, The Bluetones, The Coral, The Stone Roses and many more. It also continues to be held by LUSU, with the President of the Students’ Union managing the direction of the club and the money students spend there being fed back into the Union for other purposes.