Something I’ve had in the file for a while has piqued my interest, and I thought I’d share it with blog readers today, as I hit upon an incidental link between this share certificate supplied by Reg ‘Aer Reg’ Fullelove and an older story here on the blog.
This certificate, shared with the young David Evans a while back relates to Brownhills Working Men’s Club, the one affectionately known as the ‘Top club’ that later became the Sportsman, and was in the environs of the railway station at Brownhills, about where Smithy’s Forge is now.
This is a fascinating document all of it’s own – in 1957 the club was clearly on a drive to raise money, as David speculates in his covering note below.
One of the important social establishemtns of its day was the Working Men’s Club, and in your blog we have seen varous posts and comments which bring to light the role and variety of social activities these institutions offered.
But they required onging financial support and funding….
This remarkable document was showed to me by Mr Reg Fullelove, BEM and its importance and significance may be realised when one considers the date, sum involved, and conditions attached.
My sincere thanks go to Reg Fullelove for offering this to the blog for readers to appreciate
There is actually a major reason money was needed, as this article I posted in 2012 shows – it seems the Brownhills rumour mill was in overdrive in July, 1958.
I have no proof, obviously, and it’s just speculation, but I suspect club members were invited to buy shares in order to pay for the new club, which seemed to encounter problems during construction, prompting speculation about the project’s viability.
I wonder how many of these shares were issued, and if any are still in circulation – I assume the club was long ago wound up, as for as long as I can remember the building was a pub – first The Huntsman, then the Sportsman, and it’s a place of warm memories for many a Brownhills drinker – although aesthetically not the most appealing building, it seems many a good night was had there.
I’m also interested in the territorial nature of such clubs – there were, of course three other clubs in close proximity – Middleton House, Sankeys and Ogley Hay. What made families choose one over another? Facilities? Price? Community ties? I think this is worth exploring. Like chapels and churches, such a choice locally.
The Working Men’s Club (and political/religious club thing generally) is very much on the wane now – the benefits they offered in often basic surroundings, namely cheap ale, being able to take children in – have been eclipsed by changing licensing laws and increasing affluence, but it was a huge social phenomena and I don’t think it’s been recorded enough.
I’m still on the lookout for more club related ephemera, photos or memories from any local clubs. There must be a huge amount of stuff around, and I’d hate to see such a huge social force pass relatively unrecorded.
If you can help, or have anything to add, please feel free: comment on this post or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Gopoglemail dot com.
Cheers as ever to Reg and David, who continue to expand on our historic record with their generosity of time and spirit.