New Brunel Rooms owner reveals plans for superclub in Swindon

ONE of Swindon’s most famous nightspots is set to be given a new lease of life.

The new owner of the Brunel Rooms has confirmed plans to turn the much-loved but long-abandoned Havelock Square venue into a superclub.

Chris Godwin runs the Hive club franchise. He opened one in Newbury earlier this year and he has his sights set on Swindon for his second. 

The London-based entrepreneur said talks to take over the Brunel Rooms had been taking place for several months. 

He said: “It’s been about two years in the making, we’ve still a long way to go but the fit-out begins quite soon. I can’t wait to get the ball rolling on that.”

At 25, Chris is also one of the youngest promoters in the UK and after tasting success with Hive in Newbury is hoping to achieve the same thing here.

“Hive is trying to change the way nightclubs are,” he said. “I feel they’ve become complacent, or flat, particularly over the last few years. There’s no energy, no excitement and people aren’t being drawn out on a Friday or Saturday night.

“In Newbury we had to change the way people think and get them looking forward to what Hive is doing. We have events we tell people about, but we don’t advertise every bit of content we do, so we’re always doing something different and exciting to keep people interested and get them to think ‘what will Hive be doing next week?’”

The club first opened in 1972 as the Brunel Rooms and, with its revolving bar, became one of the best-known in the UK.

It was taken over by club operator Luminar in 2008 and reopened as Liquid & Envy. In 2010 the club had its opening hours cut because of numerous incidents of disorder. 

Luminar went into administration in 2011, shutting the club, and it has remained empty ever since.

Chris said: “I was looking at it about two years ago, just before Covid, and I was shocked to see the state it was in. It’s been left a shell, there’s nothing in it, no bars, no toilets.

“I’m going to refit it completely with new toilets, new bars, new lighting, new dance floor, new sound system, new laser systems, special effects and pyrotechnics.”

Chris says the old Liquid room will be divided into two separate club rooms to form a superclub with a £500,000 investment, creating roughly around 20 to 30 jobs for the town in the process. 

“The area that would’ve been Envy is going to be blocked off for now, as it’s far beyond repair at the moment,” he added. 

Chris is also aware of the stigma the Brunel Rooms and Liquid and Envy had when they were open, and is looking to correct that. 

“Most importantly, it’s got to be safe,” he added. I’ve said to the police and the council that if I can’t run it safely I won’t do it at all, and so far discussions with them have gone well and they have faith I can do it.”

Chris already has a lot of experience in promoting and running clubs and pubs and says he was born to do it.

He said: “I grew up in pubs, I am obsessed with nightcubs and music. I loved it all. I grew up not being able to live without it.

“It all spiralled from there, it’s in my blood and I can’t see myself doing anything other than this.”

There was some confusion over addresses, with the Hive Swindon Facebook page saying that Fleet Street was the location of the business, but Chris said there might be some exciting news about that coming soon. 

Chris said: “I hope that Swindon embrace Hive. The town needs something like this and I believe they’re ready for it.”

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