Our Bonding Warehouse: music venue, 1990s

Flyer for gig, hand drawn

Hunt saboteurs benefit gig, early 1990s, Bonding Warehouse

The Bonding Warehouse is being remodelled and gentrified. It was ours. It isn’t any more.

This place meant a lot to me, it did to many of us.

When I knew it best it was a place I associated with music. Thought I’d share a few documents rediscovered recently in boxes in the York Stories understairs cupboard ‘archive’, dating from the early 90s to just before it closed in 2000.

Though most of the images on this site are my own work, these aren’t. I’ve added photographer names where I know them.

Flyer for gig, hand drawn

Bonding Warehouse, early 90s gig

Gig poster

Poster for This Happy Breed and Muleskinners gig, 1992ish

Gig poster

Poster for This Happy Breed gig at Bonding Warehouse, 1993ish


Slider, at the Bonding Warehouse, 1995ish. Photo: ? (unknown)

A reminder of the interior, being at gigs there back then.

Interior of Bonding Warehouse: gig

Slider, at the Bonding Warehouse, 1995ish. Photo: ? (unknown)

On the Bonding Warehouse balconies, not long before it closed. Photo: Mark Haigh

On the Bonding Warehouse balconies, probably 2000, its last summer before closure. Photo: Mark Haigh

The Surf Sluts, who used the upstairs of the Bonding for band practice, on its riverside balconies. These photos probably date from summer 2000, the Bonding’s last summer before closure. Or it could be 1999. Let’s pretend they’re definitely from the Bonding’s ‘Last Summer’, because that makes them more poignant.

In the background, Queen’s Staith, Ouse Bridge, and that massive hotel just past Ouse Bridge.

On the Bonding Warehouse balconies, not long before it closed. Photo: Mark Haigh

On the Bonding Warehouse balconies, not long before it closed. Photo: Mark Haigh

On the Bonding balconies: York's own the Surf Sluts, 2000 or thereabouts

On the Bonding balconies: York’s own the Surf Sluts, 2000 or thereabouts

Just making sure we have a record of those balconies from all angles, as most of us will never set foot on them again. Here with the lamps of Skeldergate Bridge in the background.

Warehouse interior

Bonding Warehouse interior, June 2011. Photo: Graham Stewart

And finally, in 2011, all quiet and empty. Photo emailed to me a few years ago by Graham, who went to view the Bonding Warehouse when it was up for sale (again).

I’m not sure which part of the building this is, exactly. But when I put this photo and a few others online I had one memory surface above all the others – me and my friend Alison dancing rather drunkenly to this, holding glasses of wine, at the end of a long and noisy evening.

It’s now going to be expensive residential accommodation, possibly office space and possibly a restaurant. All rather dull really, compared to its former life. Just glad I knew this building back then. It really was ours, held so many memorable times for so many of us.

About Lisa @YorkStories

Lisa @YorkStories is the creator, administrator, and writer of content on www.yorkstories.co.uk. She can be contacted on this link or via Twitter, @YorkStories
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  1. amazing such ephemera must have survived many culls

  2. The understairs cupboard archive is an ephemera sanctuary, and has a ‘no-cull’ policy. I’ve got loads more to bore everyone with :)

  3. Christopher Styles

    That last photograph: “Bonding Warehouse interior, June 2011. Photo: Graham Stewart” is the “big room” and was the venue for “Smash It Up” and other seminal Saturday night clubnights. The “Afterlife” gothic event took place in there a couple of times before moving to the De Grey Rooms in 1998 (ish). The photo is taken from the doorway that led into the room from the main bar and looking towards the windows overlooking the river. At the far end there was the small stage where bands played. It surely was “ours” once upon a time. . . !

  4. I think I saw one of the my first gigs there, either that or The Spotted Cow, in 1990. I lived in Newton Terrace so it was quite literally around the corner. I walked past it every morning crossing Skeldergate Bridge to get the Park & Ride bus (50p!) out to York Sixth Form College. That stop was a much nicer walk than Blossom Street.

    I very seldom got to that larger back room; most of the evenings I had there were in the front bar (the bridge end). I was thrown out at least once because some of us were underage (I wasn’t…)

    It was also colloquially referred to as The Bondage Whorehouse, at least among college mates…

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