We bought the Millennium building on Union Street in partnership with Eat Work Art in September 2020. This building has been standing empty for 15 years. It holds really special memories for lots of people. Built in 1931 as The Gaumont Palace it’s been a dance hall, roller disco and much loved nightclub. Read the Manifesto here.
‘We bought the building because it is too important to our community to be standing empty. Taking on a major building on the street was always part of our plan, it’s taken a long time with lots of twists and turns. We are nervous and excited about giving this building a nudge!’ Hannah, Nudge Co-Director
‘As local residents we now really understand what it takes to get some of these tricky buildings into use. Our community are at the heart of everything we do and their support and skills have got us to where we are now. We can’t do it on our own, collaboration and creativity is key to getting this building contributing back to our economy and community.’ Wendy, Nudge Co-Director
We were able to buy the building with the support of The Rank Foundation and Power to Change. Both funders have been supporting social enterprises and community businesses to thrive in the city thanks to the ongoing work of Plymouth Social Enterprise Network.
Nudge and Eat Work Art take a similar approach to breathing life back into buildings. We will be making it safe to open up for a mix of temporary and commercial uses as soon as we can. We will then test out what could work, and build up to investing in what is needed to get the building back into long term sustainable use. Look out for events and opportunities to support the project over the coming months.
Buying a building that is a potential venue might seem strange right now, but we have been working towards this for several years. We will experiment within current guidelines to see if there is still a gap in the market in the city for a medium sized venue and if this could be it.
The building is opposite the Council led development on Bath Street and we look forward to this building connecting our local community to that investment and contributing to the city vision for the area.
Nudge will be running a community share offer in 2021 to give local people the opportunity to invest in the project and play a part in making Union Street a street the whole world loves. Look out for events, activity and more as we start our journey with this building.
Thank you to all the people and organisations that have supported us to learn, make things happen, have fun and keep being brave.
Phil Davies, the Rank Foundation’s Associate Director for Plymouth: Rank has close historical ties to the Millennium building, dating back to the early 1940s when Rank acquired Gaumont cinemas – of which Plymouth’s Gaumont Palace was one, before it became the Top Rank Entertainment Centre in the 1960s. Indeed, it was the wealth from Rank’s film companies which has enabled the Foundation to make charitable grants for over sixty years.
But Rank’s financial support for Nudge Community Builders isn’t about the past; it is firmly rooted in an optimistic view of the future – one in which the continued regeneration of buildings in Union Street supports community cohesion, helps to deliver better community activities and services, and in so doing helps to reverse both social and economic decline. Nudge’s successful redevelopment of ‘The Clipper’ and ‘The Plot’ should give us all confidence that the Millennium building can be brought back to life as a wonderful asset for the community.’
Natasha Ley, Media Manager at Power to Change: “The transfer of The Millennium into community hands is a pivotal moment for Plymouth’s Union Street. In the hands of the community, there’s significant opportunity to turn the tide on the years of neglect and decline. Local people can now repurpose this landmark building to deliver the services they need, whilst retaining the wealth it generates in the local economy. This localism will bring greater stability to Union Street and help deliver wider regeneration.”
Lots of people have researched this gorgeous building. As part of our plans we look forward finding ways to hear local peoples stories – every local person has one! Here are some links about it’s history:
Fab photos of the building through the years – https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife/gallery/millennium-nightclub-union-street-plymouth-2163539
Old Plymouth info by Brian Moseley: http://www.oldplymouth.uk/Gaumont%20Palace%20Cinema.htm
Interview as the building closes in 1961 for redevelopment: https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-plymouths-gaumont-cinema-closure-1961-online
We have set up a web cam at the top of the Millennium, looking over the street below! Click the link to have a look at what the pigeons see!