Welcome to Club Historians!
This is probably the only website dedicated to the history and development of the working men’s club movement and related issues. Set up in May 2008, it’s still relatively new but it is attracting increasing amounts of attention not only in the UK but around the globe. This site is aimed at anyone interested in the club movement, whether you are a club user, past or present, or just want to find out more about clubs and the important role they played in working class communities over many decades. Clubs are still a huge part of many people’s leisure time though many are now struggling to survive in difficult economic times. The struggles need to be documented but also possible ways ahead for clubs to continue to survive further into the 21st century. You will read here tales of loss but also accounts of good practice.
One basic assumption of this site is that we can all be club historians! We all have stories to tell about our own experiences and those of others. If you have ever used a club, as a child or adult, if your parents were keen club members in the past or their own parents, you have a story to tell and you too can be a club historian. So why not join us here and send us some of your own personal memories about clubs. We are interested in ordinary people and their experiences of clubs throughout the century and a half they have been around. Set up in 1862, the Working Men’s Club and Institute Movement worked hard to establish clubs up and down the country and assisted their development. But the success or failure of clubs depended, and still does, on the endeavours of ordinary members, who get things going in the first place and organise for themselves what their clubs are going to do, in the spirit of mutual self-help. In collecting information and histories, we are helping to keep the club movement alive, which is one of our main aims.
Please don’t let the ‘men’s’ part of the club movement deter any women out there who have stories or interest in clubs! Given the club movement’s origins in the nineteenth century, this label was bound to be chosen but increasingly many clubs are taking that out of their names as they modernise and get to grips with equality. Women have always been part of club life, increasingly so in more recent decades, and much of the information and stories gathered here will be about how women have used clubs and what they contributed to the movement as a whole. There were struggles of course about equality, some of them quite intense it has to be said, but these are all part of the unfolding story which we wish to document here. I used to wonder myself why women weren’t allowed to be committee ‘men’ at my local club or allowed to play on the snooker and bagatelle tables. There is a lot to be told about women in the club movement so please read on and join in.
To send us your stories or your comments just click on this image to open your email program. We look forward to hearing from you and hope that you find this site worth visiting again and again as it grows and develops.
©2008/13 - Club Historians