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Death of Working Men's Clubs

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Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-10-15, 1:04 pm

Death of Working Men's Clubs could spell the end of the spirit that binds communities together
Working men’s clubs are victims of cheap supermarket booze, multi-channel TV, the smoking ban and changing social attitudes


Paul Routledge


[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Working Men's Clubs are shutting across the country (Image: Mirrorpix)



Garforth Working Men’s Club is buzzing with activity. The concert room rings with live entertainment.
The bar is packed with regulars from this former pit village in the countryside east of Leeds.


It could be a scene out of the much-loved TV show of the 1970s, The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club, presented by Colin Crompton and Bernard Manning.
This is working class culture... made by the people for the people.
But Garforth folk are lucky. In towns and villages across the country, they are calling time on the last bastion of the British working man – his club.


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Peter Kay started out in such a club (Image: Paul Simpson)
The bar shutters are coming down, the bingo cards are going in the bin, the mikes are falling silent.
Aspiring comics and singers must find new stages.
Working men’s clubs are victims of cheap supermarket booze, multi-channel TV, the smoking ban and changing social attitudes among the young.
From around 5,000 in the heyday of the 1970s, the number of clubs has tumbled to around 1,500.
In my home town of Normanton, West Yorkshire, six have closed: the Linnet, Coronation, Town Club, Liberal Club, Garth Avenue and Services. Five remain.


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Les Dawson's career was kicked off in a Working Men's club (Image: Mirrorpix)
In the Leeds area, club numbers have tumbled from 70 to 56 in just a few years.
Pubs are closing too – but the clubs are a special feature of British life, non-profit organisations owned and run by the members.
They don’t just sell drink at low prices, they fund pensioners’ Christmas dinners, children’s cricket and soccer teams, brass bands and trips to the seaside.
They raise money for charities and offer venues for community activities as varied as line-dancing, knitting societies, slimming classes, mums’ and tots’ clubs, and computer training.
During the miners’ strike of 30 years ago, the clubs were where the men met to keep up the struggle.
And where the women served food in soup bathroom – as they had done for generations.


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Anstice Memorial Institute Club in Madeley (Image: SWNS)
Many a singer and comedian has made his name in clubland, where audiences are tough.
“Pay ’im up,” they chorus in clubs in Normanton if the act falls below par.
But many famous names began the road to stardom in these beery concert rooms: Peter Kay, Les Dawson, Roy Chubby Brown, Bobby Knutt and Frank Carson.
Often, they came from the same background as their audiences, and they weren’t afraid to be spicy.
It was raw, working class humour, straight from the factory floor.
Clubs are part of the fabric of life in communities. When the club goes, so does something special in the neighbourhood.


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Saturday night at the Byker & St. Peters Working Men's Social Club (Image: Getty)
Garforth WMC won the Traditional Club of the Year award in 2015. On my visit, the bar was full and the bingo session next door was busy.
Founded in a house in 1907, and now in a purpose-built centre, the club has 1,200 members, who pay £6 a year.
On the wall of the committee room office is Keith’s Happy Chart, an ironic name for Garforth’s financial performance, named after club secretary Keith Varley.
It shows dizzying highs and lows. Some months it is in deficit, others highly profitable.
“Some clubs are struggling – they’d give their right arm to have accounts like ours,” says Keith. “We’re in the black 40 weeks out of 52.”
In the past, most of the members would have been miners in local collieries, all of which are long closed.


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Garforth Working Mens Club (Image: Glen Minikin/Daily Mirror)
Garforth had to appeal to a wider audience and “the committee” opened the club’s doors to a variety of community activities, for which they get a 10% rebate on annual business rates of £6,500.
Club president Melvyn Goodall, an ex-miner, insists : “We are true to our roots. We’re involved in the community. We provide facilities the council can’t, due to cuts.”
I joined Dave “Scoff” Schofield, 59, and his wife Jill, 55, round a table in the bar. “I love the atmosphere,” said Jill.
Sonia Moxon, 46, agreed. “It’s local. You know people here. You don’t sit on your own.
"There’s always somebody you know. And women are full members.”
Garforth clearly has a bright future. But those at Ramsgate, Kent, are not so fortunate.



Garforth Working Mens Club (Image: Glen Minikin/Daily Mirror)
Their club is the most recent closure reported by the Club and Institute Union, the voluntary body to which most belong.
It had been open for 102 years but shut its doors in April after racking up “unsustainable” losses of more than £500 a week.
I should declare an interest. I am a member of two CIU-affiliated clubs – the Brookside Social and Commercial, and the Empire, both in the village of South Elmsall in West Yorkshire.
I go there every month for a few pints and a chin-wag with retired miners and other locals. I also enjoy a pint in the Red Shed, the Labour Club in Wakefield.
You can’t beat t’club for camaraderie. And clubs have a fascinating history.


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Garforth Working Mens Club (Image: Glen Minikin/Daily Mirror)
The movement was started in 1862 by a radical churchman, the Rev Henry Solly, to educate working people and advance their political interests.
In his founding manifesto, the Victorian reformer envisaged clubs as places where men “may meet for conversation, business and mental improvement, with the means of recreation and refreshment, free from intoxicating drinks”.
Maybe the Rev Solly believed the old joke that “work is the curse of the drinking classes”.
But the prohibition was soon lost. For many years, membership was confined to men. The woman’s place was behind the bar, not leaning on it.
That finally began to change in the 1960s. Change came too late for the oldest club in England, Anstice Memorial Institute in Madeley, Shropshire, which closed in 2014 after 146 years rather than abolish its “men only” rule.


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Members of the The Anstice Club enjoy a final drink at The Anstice Club (Image: SWNS)
There is a long-standing tradition of father handing to son a card for the club on becoming an adult.
Ken Green, Barnsley-based general secretary of the CIU, said: “My father was president of Darfield Road WMC in Cudworth.

"When I became 18, he took great pleasure in presenting me with my CIU affiliation card.”
Not all places in Garforth are as lucky as the working men’s club. The Liberal Club is abandoned, with the premises due to become a branch of Wetherspoon’s.
Beer prices may mirror those in the clubs but a chainstore pub won’t match the community contribution of t’club.

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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Silvers on 2017-10-15, 1:09 pm

In this part of the world clubs died several years ago.
Closed were Whickham, Swalwell, Blaydon.
Sunniside survives but sometimes it is like the Marie Celeste.

Younger clientele now go off to the toon which is only three miles away...
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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-10-15, 1:17 pm

Silvers wrote:In this part of the world clubs died several years ago.
Closed were Whickham, Swalwell, Blaydon.
Sunniside survives but sometimes it is like the Marie Celeste.

Younger clientele now go off to the toon which is only three miles away...
Is she affiliated

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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Silvers on 2017-10-15, 1:31 pm

No.. just filletted...
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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Hieronymus on 2017-10-15, 1:46 pm

Like all things you have to keep up with the times. Social attitudes are different. Work is different. Young people are different.

The local club here in Seahouses is more like a community centre, with the local WI, Weightwatchers and other groups duirng the day, available for wedding do's at weekends and they do family discos for the hundreds of visitors to the caravan site and local holiday homesr, during the summer. In winter the local nursery school holds their Nativity play there, and the kids at the primary school have their Christmas concert. But all they do is raise money for the school not the club as they kindly donate the room for free.

They are struggling to survive and I would guess will close in next 5-10 years. Then some developer will build houses on the land with most sold off for yet more holiday homes, adding to the intense pressure on our local services at peak times.
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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Billy D on 2017-10-15, 1:52 pm

My WMC is still ticking over.
The problem is that the old boys are dying out & the young ones have no interest of replacing them.
They'd rather go to Newcastle & spend £4 on a bottle of beer as there's more chance of getting shagged.
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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Vincemac on 2017-10-15, 1:56 pm

Billy D wrote:My WMC is still ticking over.
The problem is that the old boys are dying out & the young ones have no interest of replacing them.
They'd rather go to Newcastle & spend £4 on a bottle of beer as there's more chance of getting shagged.
The cheap supermarket Booze has little to do with club life. It’s been in the decline since the booming years of the 50s and 60s however the introduction of the smoke ban  in 2007 has really attempted t put the big damper on the social life in clubs.
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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-10-15, 2:07 pm


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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Sid MCFC on 2017-10-16, 7:10 pm

Billy D wrote:My WMC is still ticking over.
The problem is that the old boys are dying out & the young ones have no interest of replacing them.
They'd rather go to Newcastle & spend £4 on a bottle of beer as there's more chance of getting shagged.
Well.  When you put it like that.  Wink
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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-10-16, 7:18 pm

Sid MCFC wrote:
Billy D wrote:My WMC is still ticking over.
The problem is that the old boys are dying out & the young ones have no interest of replacing them.
They'd rather go to Newcastle & spend £4 on a bottle of beer as there's more chance of getting shagged.
Well.  When you put it like that.  Wink
Fancy a night out in the Toon, Syd & Sid on the pull

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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Vincemac on 2017-10-16, 7:21 pm

cyprussyd wrote:
Them were the days 
Great cub entertainer seen him many times 
Met him in segga club when I worked behind the bar
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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Sid MCFC on 2017-10-16, 7:37 pm

cyprussyd wrote:
Sid MCFC wrote:
Billy D wrote:My WMC is still ticking over.
The problem is that the old boys are dying out & the young ones have no interest of replacing them.
They'd rather go to Newcastle & spend £4 on a bottle of beer as there's more chance of getting shagged.
Well.  When you put it like that.  Wink
Fancy a night out in the Toon, Syd & Sid on the pull
Yes.
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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Billy D on 2017-10-16, 7:41 pm

Sid MCFC wrote:
cyprussyd wrote:
Sid MCFC wrote:
Billy D wrote:My WMC is still ticking over.
The problem is that the old boys are dying out & the young ones have no interest of replacing them.
They'd rather go to Newcastle & spend £4 on a bottle of beer as there's more chance of getting shagged.
Well.  When you put it like that.  Wink
Fancy a night out in the Toon, Syd & Sid on the pull
Yes.
Get yourselves along the Bigg Market.
Scantily clad slags arl ower the place.
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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Sid MCFC on 2017-10-16, 7:44 pm

Billy D wrote:
Sid MCFC wrote:
cyprussyd wrote:
Sid MCFC wrote:
Billy D wrote:My WMC is still ticking over.
The problem is that the old boys are dying out & the young ones have no interest of replacing them.
They'd rather go to Newcastle & spend £4 on a bottle of beer as there's more chance of getting shagged.
Well.  When you put it like that.  Wink
Fancy a night out in the Toon, Syd & Sid on the pull
Yes.
Get yourselves along the Bigg Market.
Scantily clad slags arl ower the place.
I’m up for that.

Any dress code?
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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Billy D on 2017-10-16, 7:58 pm

Sid MCFC wrote:
Billy D wrote:
Sid MCFC wrote:
cyprussyd wrote:
Sid MCFC wrote:
Billy D wrote:My WMC is still ticking over.
The problem is that the old boys are dying out & the young ones have no interest of replacing them.
They'd rather go to Newcastle & spend £4 on a bottle of beer as there's more chance of getting shagged.
Well.  When you put it like that.  Wink
Fancy a night out in the Toon, Syd & Sid on the pull
Yes.
Get yourselves along the Bigg Market.
Scantily clad slags arl ower the place.
I’m up for that.

Any dress code?
For the women?
Owt that shows your tits or doesn't quite cover your arse, if her thong is on show it's a bonus.
Strappy high heels with painted toenails go down well.
Basically they just have to show as much flesh as possible without being arrested.
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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-10-16, 7:58 pm

Sid MCFC wrote:
Billy D wrote:
Sid MCFC wrote:
cyprussyd wrote:
Sid MCFC wrote:
Billy D wrote:My WMC is still ticking over.
The problem is that the old boys are dying out & the young ones have no interest of replacing them.
They'd rather go to Newcastle & spend £4 on a bottle of beer as there's more chance of getting shagged.
Well.  When you put it like that.  Wink
Fancy a night out in the Toon, Syd & Sid on the pull
Yes.
Get yourselves along the Bigg Market.
Scantily clad slags arl ower the place.
I’m up for that.

Any dress code?
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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Billy D on 2017-10-16, 7:59 pm

cyprussyd wrote:
Sid MCFC wrote:
Billy D wrote:
Sid MCFC wrote:
cyprussyd wrote:
Sid MCFC wrote:
Billy D wrote:My WMC is still ticking over.
The problem is that the old boys are dying out & the young ones have no interest of replacing them.
They'd rather go to Newcastle & spend £4 on a bottle of beer as there's more chance of getting shagged.
Well.  When you put it like that.  Wink
Fancy a night out in the Toon, Syd & Sid on the pull
Yes.
Get yourselves along the Bigg Market.
Scantily clad slags arl ower the place.
I’m up for that.

Any dress code?
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That's tame. Looks like a group of nuns for the Bigg Market.
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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Sid MCFC on 2017-10-16, 8:02 pm

I’m sure they’re nice ladies but I think I’m having second thoughts.  Pity
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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Black Cat Kiwi on 2017-10-17, 6:11 am

Sid MCFC wrote:
Billy D wrote:My WMC is still ticking over.
The problem is that the old boys are dying out & the young ones have no interest of replacing them.
They'd rather go to Newcastle & spend £4 on a bottle of beer as there's more chance of getting shagged.
Well.  When you put it like that.  Wink
Working Girls Clubs Sid, get off the street & get with the times, they've been a goer for centuries so I'm told  Rolling Eyes

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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-10-17, 8:31 am

Black Cat Kiwi wrote:
Sid MCFC wrote:
Billy D wrote:My WMC is still ticking over.
The problem is that the old boys are dying out & the young ones have no interest of replacing them.
They'd rather go to Newcastle & spend £4 on a bottle of beer as there's more chance of getting shagged.
Well.  When you put it like that.  Wink
Working Girls Clubs Sid, get off the street & get with the times, they've been a goer for centuries so I'm told  Rolling Eyes
Its that sort of modern thinking that is spoiling the world. I have been told that in the cities and towns there are men who allow their wives out on a Friday night, alone.
In my day and still in our little village the ladies know their place and would not dream of asking if they could go out on a Friday. Friday is of course darts and dominoes at the club, mens night.
The ladies appreciate their Saturday night when they get all dressed up in their catalogue clothes before we take them to the club. Then its lounge or maybe concert hall to chat with other wives, enjoy a few drinks, maybe a dance and of course a game of bingo. We men chat in the bar and it gives us a real buzz to see them happy.
Kippers off the fish man then back home for their Friday night treat, providing we can manage it after all that beer.

Sadly I can remember those days and gladly they are, in the main, well behind us.

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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Billy D on 2017-10-17, 8:40 am

cyprussyd wrote:
Black Cat Kiwi wrote:
Sid MCFC wrote:
Billy D wrote:My WMC is still ticking over.
The problem is that the old boys are dying out & the young ones have no interest of replacing them.
They'd rather go to Newcastle & spend £4 on a bottle of beer as there's more chance of getting shagged.
Well.  When you put it like that.  Wink
Working Girls Clubs Sid, get off the street & get with the times, they've been a goer for centuries so I'm told  Rolling Eyes
Its that sort of modern thinking that is spoiling the world. I have been told that in the cities and towns there are men who allow their wives out on a Friday night, alone.
In my day and still in our little village the ladies know their place and would not dream of asking if they could go out on a Friday. Friday is of course darts and dominoes at the club, mens night.
The ladies appreciate their Saturday night when they get all dressed up in their catalogue clothes before we take them to the club. Then its lounge or maybe concert hall to chat with other wives, enjoy a few drinks, maybe a dance and of course a game of bingo. We men chat in the bar and it gives us a real buzz to see them happy.
Kippers off the fish man then back home for their Friday night treat, providing we can manage it after all that beer.

Sadly I can remember those days and gladly they are, in the main, well behind us.
I think he meant a different thing Syd when he mentioned 'working girls'.
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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-10-17, 8:42 am

Billy D wrote:
cyprussyd wrote:
Black Cat Kiwi wrote:
Sid MCFC wrote:
Billy D wrote:My WMC is still ticking over.
The problem is that the old boys are dying out & the young ones have no interest of replacing them.
They'd rather go to Newcastle & spend £4 on a bottle of beer as there's more chance of getting shagged.
Well.  When you put it like that.  Wink
Working Girls Clubs Sid, get off the street & get with the times, they've been a goer for centuries so I'm told  Rolling Eyes
Its that sort of modern thinking that is spoiling the world. I have been told that in the cities and towns there are men who allow their wives out on a Friday night, alone.
In my day and still in our little village the ladies know their place and would not dream of asking if they could go out on a Friday. Friday is of course darts and dominoes at the club, mens night.
The ladies appreciate their Saturday night when they get all dressed up in their catalogue clothes before we take them to the club. Then its lounge or maybe concert hall to chat with other wives, enjoy a few drinks, maybe a dance and of course a game of bingo. We men chat in the bar and it gives us a real buzz to see them happy.
Kippers off the fish man then back home for their Friday night treat, providing we can manage it after all that beer.

Sadly I can remember those days and gladly they are, in the main, well behind us.
I think he meant a different thing Syd when he mentioned 'working girls'.
tatty pickers, is that it

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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Billy D on 2017-10-17, 8:52 am

cyprussyd wrote:
Billy D wrote:
cyprussyd wrote:
Black Cat Kiwi wrote:
Sid MCFC wrote:
Billy D wrote:My WMC is still ticking over.
The problem is that the old boys are dying out & the young ones have no interest of replacing them.
They'd rather go to Newcastle & spend £4 on a bottle of beer as there's more chance of getting shagged.
Well.  When you put it like that.  Wink
Working Girls Clubs Sid, get off the street & get with the times, they've been a goer for centuries so I'm told  Rolling Eyes
Its that sort of modern thinking that is spoiling the world. I have been told that in the cities and towns there are men who allow their wives out on a Friday night, alone.
In my day and still in our little village the ladies know their place and would not dream of asking if they could go out on a Friday. Friday is of course darts and dominoes at the club, mens night.
The ladies appreciate their Saturday night when they get all dressed up in their catalogue clothes before we take them to the club. Then its lounge or maybe concert hall to chat with other wives, enjoy a few drinks, maybe a dance and of course a game of bingo. We men chat in the bar and it gives us a real buzz to see them happy.
Kippers off the fish man then back home for their Friday night treat, providing we can manage it after all that beer.

Sadly I can remember those days and gladly they are, in the main, well behind us.
I think he meant a different thing Syd when he mentioned 'working girls'.
tatty pickers, is that it
Not exactly but they can drain your tatty watter.  Smile
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Billy D
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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Sid MCFC on 2017-10-17, 9:07 am

Black Cat Kiwi wrote:
Sid MCFC wrote:
Billy D wrote:My WMC is still ticking over.
The problem is that the old boys are dying out & the young ones have no interest of replacing them.
They'd rather go to Newcastle & spend £4 on a bottle of beer as there's more chance of getting shagged.
Well.  When you put it like that.  Wink
Working Girls Clubs Sid, get off the street & get with the times, they've been a goer for centuries so I'm told  Rolling Eyes
Well I’m off to Amsterdam on Friday. I suppose I could cancel it and pop up your way.


I’ll give it some thought. affraid
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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

Post  Black Cat Kiwi on 2017-10-19, 12:29 am

Sid MCFC wrote:
Black Cat Kiwi wrote:
Sid MCFC wrote:
Billy D wrote:My WMC is still ticking over.
The problem is that the old boys are dying out & the young ones have no interest of replacing them.
They'd rather go to Newcastle & spend £4 on a bottle of beer as there's more chance of getting shagged.
Well.  When you put it like that.  Wink
Working Girls Clubs Sid, get off the street & get with the times, they've been a goer for centuries so I'm told  Rolling Eyes
Well I’m off to Amsterdam on Friday. I suppose I could cancel it and pop up your way.
I’ll give it some thought. affraid

A spot of window shopping for Christmas or just looking for the a misses  pirat

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Re: Death of Working Men's Clubs

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