Trade (nightclub)

Location Turnmills, London
and other venues worldwide.
Type Nightclub
Genre(s) Hard House / Techno
Capacity 1200-1600 approx at Turnmills
(is more when additional rooms are opened).
Opened 1990[1]

Trade was a highly successful, pioneering and influential [2][3][4] gay nightclub started in 1990 by Laurence Malice. Trade was unlike any other club at the time as it opened from 3am until 1pm on Sundays at Turnmills, Clerkenwell Road, London. The club was touted as "the original all night bender". The door policy was firm but fair: "You don't have to be gay or a member to get in, but your attitude and look will count".[5]

Early Years 1990 - 1995

Trade quickly grew in popularity as other clubs at the time such as Heaven, G-A-Y and The Fridge closed at around 02:00-03:00 Sunday mornings, an hour or so before Trade opened at 03:00. Therefore, clubbers were able to go straight on to the club.[5][6] At the time many guys went cruising in the parks after leaving other clubs. The name 'Trade' and the opening hours was to encourage guys to go to the club as a safer alternative.[7]

Turnmills was the first club in the UK to be given a 24-hour "Music & Dance" licence.[8] This was gained after Laurence Malice had for a long period of time tried to convince Mr Newman that there was a need for people to be able to party in a safe environment after 3am in the morning.[9] Due to this licensing advantage, the venue's role was crucial to the success of Trade.

Soon after Trade launched the small original sound system had to be rapidly improved to cope with the tough demands being made of it. Each improvement made resulted in more people enjoying the music, that was the ethic. The sound system played an important part in the club's success, there were multiple sound systems, each to cover an area and it was equalised (tone controls) in real time for each record to maximise sound quality and enjoyment. This was a unique approach at the time and paid great dividends.

An air cooled, single colour laser was installed to complement the dance floor. John Newman (AKA Big John), the owner of Turnmills, was often seen in the DJ booth operating the light show & laser with a wide smile on his face.

Turnmill's dance floor was originally constructed of metal and the walls where covered in Athena and film poster. Laurence would spend all week washing and fire-retarding heavy black wool fabric, which was used to cover the tacky décor of the venue. Mr Newman would turn up at his venue prior to the Trade party, produce a lighter from his pocket and try and burn the fabric. This was a tedious weekly ceremony. After many many months, Mr Newman ditched the ceremony, dumped his kitsch decoration and painted the walls with black paint to create a "theatrical" (infinite) background. Using this blank canvas, Trade produced fluorescent banners and wall hangings illuminated by ultra violet lighting. These were created by Tim, Martin Brown and TradeMark (the artist who became closely associated with the club, later becoming Trade's manager). The banner and decoration themes changed regularly, usually on the special events parties held at Easter and on the Trade birthday party each October with spectacular fluorescent mobiles and effects projections.

Small video clips of the Trade dance floor appeared in the 1993 video 'Trance Vision Dance Volume 1' to accompany the 11th track on the video 'Let's Rock' by E. Trax.

Turnmills - Trade's London home.

Around 1993/4 a water-cooled white-light laser was installed. This was a substantial investment. With a 3-phase 415-volt electricity supply and a constant supply of cold water running through it from the water mains. The term "white light" can be confusing. It actually means that the light generated can be filtered to provide the full colour (rainbow)spectrum. The result was awe-inspiring; as the dance floor was catapulted into a different dimension.

1995 - 2002

From about 1995 onwards Trade started to export their brand of music and clubbing experience and over the next few years, held events throughout the UK and worldwide, in addition to releasing a number of CDs.

Trade were unable to hold their (by now legendary) New Year's Eve party at Turnmills in 1995. This was because New Year's Eve 1995 fell on a Sunday and the usual Turnmills Sunday night club - FF - held their NYE night at Turnmills. Trade held a successful New Years Day party at the Leisure Lounge in Holborn, London instead.

Around 1995 Turnmills commissioned Peter Lynes again to design a totally new bespoke sound system for the main dance floor and balcony. This was designed from scratch, every last loudspeaker cabinet was hand built to deliver surreal sound quality at unsurpassed volume levels without distortion. The system design was based on the very best recording studio loudspeaker technology, but ramped up in scale 1000 fold & modified to cope. Ground breaking Digital processing equipment was used to enable consistent quality. There was a huge sub-bass cabinet that used four 21-inch loudspeakers in front of the DJ booth that really pumped the air. The result was that the club grew further in popularity as the club took sound quality so seriously.

Trade suffered a setback on 2 July 1998 when popular DJ Tony De Vit died.

Due to the global success of Trade, UK Channel 4 television commissioned an hour-long documentary Trade the all-night bender which was broadcast on 9 August 1998 as part of the Queer Street series of programmes.[10] It featured in the BBC2 programme "Gaytime TV" and also had a regular weekly radio show on Atlantic252.

On 27 May 1999 Turnmills ended Trade's residency due to security problems at the previous weeks event. Trade negotiated a 4-week run at LA2 in the London Astoria. During this time the management of Trade and Turnmills resolved the issues. Trade returned to Turnmills on 3 July 1999 for the post Mardi Gras (the renamed London Gay Pride) party. The following month on 7 August 1999 Trade had a dance tent at Summer Rites in Brockwell Park, the first time they had a tent at the festival.

Towards the end of the 1990s, as Turnmills opened up and fit out more space in the venue, Trade was able to open up a second room named the 'Trade lite lounge' playing a lighter funkier style of house music which quickly gained a big following.

In 2000 Trade hosted one of the two main stages (the other BBC Radio 1) for the first UK Love Parade festival held at Roundhay Park, Leeds the event was attended by 500,000 people.[11]


The original Trade DJs were, Martin Confusion,[12] Daz Saund,[13] Trevor Rockliffe,[14] Smokin Jo and Malcolm Duffy,[13] These were followed most notably by the late Tony De Vit,[15] but also Tall Paul, Alan Thompson, Steve Thomas, Pete Wardman, Ian M and Fergie [15] Other DJs who have graced the decks include Sister Bliss, EJ Doubell BK (Ben Keen)Lisa German, Rosco, Gonzalo Rivas,[16] The Sharp Boys,[15] Steve Haswell, Fat Tony, Andy Farley, Mark Kavanagh, Strawberry K, DJ Big Al, Guy Williams, Ziad, Jon Dennis, Pagano, Andy M, Gabriele Cutrano and Tom McMillan.

Celebrity patrons

Trade has attracted some well known celebrities over the years including Kate Moss, Marc Almond, Madonna, Rupert Everett, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano.[17]

2002 onwards

Trade ended its weekly London Sunday slot on 27 October 2002 on the 12th Birthday party but still tours the world and regularly returns to Turnmills in London, for occasional one off events. (Trade celebrated its 17th birthday in October 2007).

Last event at Turnmills

On 18 January 2008 a Trade press release announced that the final Trade event at Turnmills would be held on 22/23 March 2008.[18] This is due to the expected closure of Turnmills as a clubbing venue.[19]

This was subsequently confirmed on 24 January 2008 when Turnmills officially announced the closure.[20]

A further press release on 30 January 2008 announced that the final date was being brought forward by one week to Sunday morning 16 March 2008. This was due to "so many 'sell out' events at Turnmills over Easter it would not be practical to run Trade After-Hours over this weekend".[21]

Within a few weeks of the tickets going on sale, the event sold out. Many of the original Trade DJs returned for the final event, including Steve Thomas, Ian M, Daz Saund, Malcolm Duffy and Pete Wardman. The club opened its doors at 05:00 and during the night Lawrence Malice made a speech to the main room dancefloor, thanking the clubbers and his associates, and asking everyone 'to really go for it!'. The party continued until the final record, Schoneberg by Marmion, was played by Pete Wardman, finishing at 17:45.

After Turnmills

Lawrence Malice opened a new club called Egg in Kings Cross, London in May 2003 it won the prestigious BEDA Award for Best Club in London the same year.[22][23] Since 2008 Malice and the promotion team behind the Trade brand have continued to do one-off specials around the UK and the world

The Final

On 25 October 2015, Trade's 25th Birthday, Trade held its final party at Egg club in London billed as 'the last dance'.

See also


  1. Hicklon, Aaron. "Trade 23rd birthday". 23 October 2013. Out Magazine Online. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  2. (Former Deputy Editor DJ Magazine) Kihl, Tom. "Top 5 Lost London Night Clubs of the 90's". 1 March 2013. The Kentish Towner Newspaper. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  3. "TRADE: AN ORAL HISTORY part of The Trade: Often Copied, Never Equalled Exhibition, Islington Museum, London". The Ransom Noteonline music, arts and culture magazine, January 16th 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  4. "Fergie:Biography". Billboard Inc. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  5. 1 2 "Trade History". Original Trade website. 1996. Archived from the original on 23 November 2008. Retrieved 2013-04-27.
  6. "IgoUgo Heaven review". IgoUgo. 2001-09-01. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
  7. "An Interview with Laurence Malice". Circuit Chat. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
  8. Barnes, Marcus. "Laurence Malice on after-hours partying". 21 October 2011. London Independent Newspaper. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  9. Barnes, Marcus. "Laurence Malice in conversation". October 24th 2011. Independent Newspaper. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  10. "Queer Street". British Film Institute. 1998-08-01. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
  11. Lowe, Adam. "Laurence Malice: 12 Trade stories". 8 October 2014. Vada Magazine UK. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  12. "Smokin Jo Talks". 2014. The Ransom Note. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  13. 1 2 Burston, Paul. "Trade Twenty First Birthday Party". 20 October 2011. Time Out Magazine London. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  14. "Daz Saund, Trevor Rockcliffe, Special Guest Hifi Sean PRESS RELEASE". 27 November 2009. Resident Advisor OnLine Music Magazine. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  15. 1 2 3 Who, Stewart. "SPECIAL FEATURE: THE GAY DNA OF HOUSE MUSIC". DJ Magazine, London, 30 July 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  16. "Gonzalo Rivas News". 2014. Boyz Magazine. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  17. "Laurence Malice interview: 25 years of Trade History". The Irish Daily Star, 2015. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  18. "press release on Trade Myspace page". Trade. 2008-01-18. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
  19. "Turnmills to become an office block". Evening Standard. 2007-12-28. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
  20. "London Club Turnmills To Close Down". Gigwise. 2008-01-24. Retrieved 2008-01-25.
  21. "press release on Trade Myspace page". Trade. 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
  22. Davies, Becky. "Hungry: Laurence Malice". 18 October 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  23. "Egg Night Club". 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2015.

Coordinates: 51°31′20″N 0°06′21″W / 51.5221°N 0.1058°W / 51.5221; -0.1058

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