In the mid-Sixties, he was one of the showbiz giants, and our collection of rarely-seen pictures recalls a time when his club in Batley was at the centre of the showbusiness universe – an improbable oasis of glitter and excess in a dour little town that had seen better days.
The Batley Variety Club was the last place in the world you’d expect to see Louis Armstrong, Roy Orbison, Tina Turner or Gracie Fields – but there they were, picking their way through the scampi-in-a-basket on a hundred Formica tables.
Corrigan created the club in his own mould; he wore it like a medallion around his neck. But though it glittered briefly, it was to be no gold mine.
Born in a caravan on the east coast into a family of fairground workers, he knew how working-class northerners liked to spend their leisure time. In 1961, he bought the lease to a closed-down cinema for £100 and turned it into one of the first bingo halls.
But it was the burgeoning supper club scene that gave Corrigan his big idea. There had been cabaret clubs before – the Kon-Tiki, Wakefield, and the Ace of Clubs in Leeds – but Batley trumped them all. You had to pay 5s 6d a year to join, but beer came at pub prices. It was a posh night out for the masses.
But as rivals like the Wakefield Theatre Club started competing for the big stars, up went their fees, and down came the profit margins.
Corrigan went bankrupt with debts of nearly £500,000, and ended his days in York, making the best of it on social security.
His final bow came in 1998, when they laid on a show in his honour at Batley Town Hall.