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Revitalised workingmen's club reaches landmark

A popular workingmen's club that plays a huge part in a community in Stoke-on-Trent is celebrating a milestone this weekend.

Baddeley Green club is 100 years old.

The club, which was on the verge of closing some 11 years ago, is now a thriving community hub.

A host of events are taking place to celebrate the club's centenary.

Baddeley Green WMC became CIU (Club & Institute Union) affiliated on 5th July 1919 after a small group of men worked tirelessly to open the doors.

Like many others all around the country, the club then thrived for many years as the favourite social recreation centre and watering hole for the working classes.

Bingo and games like snooker, darts, table skittles, dominoes and crib drew in the crowds, while as many as 30 coach loads, amounting to 75% of the village population, made the annual day trip to Blackpool or Rhyl.

Sadly, workingmen’s clubs nationwide struggled from the 1980s onwards as industrial towns and cities lost jobs, with Stoke-on-Trent hit particularly by the closure of the coal mines and loss of many pottery factories.

The smoking ban, cheap booze available in supermarkets, multi-channel TV and changing social attitudes were also factors in the demise.

In their heyday in the 70s, there were more than 5,000 workingmen’s clubs in the UK – now there are around 1,500.

Baddeley Green Club were struggling themselves a decade ago, with unpaid bills amounting to £20,000 and more than £50,000 remaining to pay off on a brewery loan.

But new leadership and an influx of fresh committee members led to a resurgence of the club, which now hosts a wide range of activities for all ages.

The club’s renaissance has been so successful that they are now debt free and have built up a healthy bank balance.

FACTS ABOUT BADDELEY GREEN CLUB:   

Baddeley Green Club has more than 700 members, while many hundreds of non-members also use our facilities on an occasional basis for entertainment nights and private or charity functions.

The club also serves very much as a community centre and the many activities include the following:

Stoke FIT Running Club – almost 300 members who run from the club on Wednesday and Thursday nights and also use the function rooms for fund-raising events.

Crown Green Bowls – a total of five teams playing on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays during the spring, summer and early autumn months.

Indoor Bowls – two teams playing on Monday nights throughout the winter months. The club also hosts the home games for the Staffordshire Indoor Bowls team.

Homing pigeon racing club – More than 40 members use the club as their base for racing homing pigeons every Saturday during the season from April to October.

The club hosts a football team, Stoke Town, who play in the Coors League on a Sunday morning.

Over 55s Club – an average of 60 members meet for social activities on every other Thursday afternoon.

Walking Group – an average of 25 people (plus several dogs) take part in a walk (average 6 miles) in the Staffordshire countryside on the third Sunday morning of every month.

Line dancing – more than 80 line dancers engage in classes and social activity every Monday evening.

Zumba and other exercise classes attract an average of 50 participants.

Yoga classes on Thursday nights are increasing in popularity with numbers restricted to 30 at a time.

Slimming World helps people to lose weight on Thursday evenings.

Our Quiz Team are in a league and compete every Sunday night.

The Baddeley Green & Stockton Brook Community Association hold their monthly meetings at the club.

Stoke-on-Trent Foster Carers hold parties three times each year – Easter, Halloween and Christmas – for more than 120 foster children.

The club committee also organises events for local children at Halloween and Christmas with an average attendance of more than 100 youngsters.

The club hosts several functions for various charities every year. In 2017, a total of more than £20,000 was raised for charities including the Donna Louise Trust, North Staffs Breast Care Unit, the North Staffs Heart Committee, the Macari Centre for the Homeless and the Royal British Legion. We also host two sportsmen’s dinners each year to support local football teams with an average of £2,000 raised during the last 20 years.

Rooms at the club host many private functions for the residents of Baddeley Green, surrounding villages and beyond, including weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties and funeral wakes. Our large concert room can sit 250 people and our front room is ideal for smaller groups of 50 people.

 

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