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Plan to mark 150th anniversary of York’s first working men’s club
THE long history of York’s working men’s clubs is to be remembered as part of a major anniversary next year.
Anyone with pictures, articles or memories of the city’s working men’s clubs, past or present, is being urged to share them to mark 150 years since the first ever club in York was established in Castlegate.
Next year will also mark the 85th anniversary of the New York Club in Blossom Street.
Frank Healy, 60, branch secretary of the York Working Men’s and Institute Union, said he hoped to put on exhibition if he got hold of enough memorabilia.
He said: “I love the whole business of the clubs. As a national organisation, we raise millions and millions of pounds and we do it 52 weeks a year.
“York has a very good history of clubs and buildings. The building where the New York Club is now went up in 1789 as two houses and a warehouse.
“In 1863 the first working men’s club in York was founded at 15 Castlegate, that’s 150 years ago. “And the New York Club celebrates its 85th anniversary on May 3.”
He said: “I would love to do an exhibition, but this is about a celebration of working men’s clubs. It’s something we would love to keep alive.”
Mr Healy said as well as pictures he wanted people to ask their fathers and grandfathers for their memories.
He said: “I want things that make people laugh or even bring a tear, even of clubs which aren’t here any more, like the Promenade or the INL.”
If you have some memorabilia you would like to offer up, email Mr Healy, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Working men's clubs are a type of private social club which were first created in the 19th century in industrial areas of the United Kingdom, particularly the north of England, the Midlands and many parts of the South Wales Valleys, to provide recreation and education for working-class men and their families.
Despite the educational ambitions, most working men’s clubs are recreational. Typically, clubs have a bar, snooker, pool or bar billiards tables, and many provide food. They often provide entertainment such as bingo, raffles, live music and comedy.
“They are also known for their charitable works.
A working men’s club is a non-profit organisation run by members through a committee, usually elected annually.
Despite the name, women are allowed to be members in many clubs, and virtually all clubs allow entry to women.
Non-members are not allowed entry unless signed in by a member.
• The 108th AGM of the York branch of the Working Men’s Club and Institute Union will take place in Huntington Working Men’s Club, at 8pm on Thursday.
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