Copper Beech Club Souvenir Handbook 1967

From BaildonWiki

This page contains the text of The Copper Beech Club Souvenir Handbook for the official opening 20 Sept 1937.[1]

A PDF scanned copy of the Handbook can be seen by clicking on this link or the the cover image.

Copper Beech Club Souvenir Handbook. 1967.

THE COPPER BEECH CLUB, NORTHGATE, BAILDON

1/- SOUVENIR HANDBOOK 1/-

Official Opening: Wednesday September 20th, 8-0 p.m. 1967

(Thos Pickles Advert)

(BRADFORD FLOORING Co. Advert)

(FOX BROS. LIMITED Advert)

THE COPPER BEECH CLUB

Affiliated to C.I.U.
(Formerly known as Baildon W.M. CLuB)

OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE, 1967
President : Mr. J. ROBERTS Vice-President : Mr. P. COOLEY
Trustees : Mr. E. A. HOLROYD, Mr. S. HYDE, Mr. J. ELLIS

Committee: Messrs. D. ALDRIDGE, F. COOPER, N. HOLMES, M. JOHNSON, S. FALCONER, D. MORRELL, B. PEMBERTON, G. SHORROCKS

Secretary : Mr. E. EXLEY. Treasurer : Mr. R. WILKINS

CHANGE OF NAME FOR NEW CLUB

For several years many members have felt that the title Baildon Working Men's Club was outdated and should be changed when a suitable opportunity presented itself.

The building of a New Club seemed to be the right time. A members' meeting in the temporary headquarters decided "to have built a new club and to re-name it 'The Copper Beech Club'."

It was unanimously voted that the legal procedure for changing the name be put into operation at once.

The change of name and the name has been approved and registered by the Registrar of Friendly Societies.

To mark the opening of the New Club the Committee issue the following history of the Old Club.

The History of Baildon Working Men's Club Founded November 12th, 1892

FOREWORD

This History is written up from the Minutes, club records, etc. and from the recollections of members I knew who lived through these times and my own observations during forty years membership. It is fitting to be grateful and pay tribute to the efforts which founded a little village club, fostered over the years by men who have sought to encourage those things which are best and with great foresight raised it to the status of an up to date progressive organisation with a roll of six hundred members, many of whom are descendants of those pioneers. Geo. E. Bird, C.M.D.

THE BEGINNING

It was during the winter of 1891 that the idea of starting a club, distinct from the political club started in the village a few years before, was talked about. A group of Baildoners wanted a non-political club not under the patronage of the employers as was the case with political clubs which about that time were springing up in towns and villages all over the industrial north. In Baildon it was not until 1892 that positive action was taken when, on November 12th a meeting was held at 24, Northgate, and the following written statement was given to the local press :— “Nov. 12th, 1892. No. 24, Northgate, Baildon. To whom it may concern. This is to give notice that the following gentlemen meet here to-night to form a club to be known as the Baildon Working Men's Club. Signed—A. Wallbank, J. Cockshot, W. Halliday, J. Moss, J. Hy. Mann, J. J. Topham, J. Deardon, J. Mashew, T. Harrison, C. Booth, E. Halliday, M. Green, S. Waite.” The following formed the Committee :— W. Halliday, J. Moss, I. Hutton, J. Cockshot (President), J. J. Topham (Treasurer), M. Green (Secretary). Subscriptions were fixed at one penny a week or 1/1 a quarter. Alcoholic liquor was to be supplied to members. The objects of the club were to afford to its members the means of social intercourse, mutual helpfulness, mental improvement and rational recreation. Committee meetings were to be held at least once a month. Premises at the bottom of the Straites, 24, Northgate, were rented from a Mrs. Ambler for 4/4 a week.

CLUB AND INSTITUTE UNION

In 1893 the club became a member of the Working Men's Club and Institute Union, a non-political, non-sectarian organisation which had been formed in London in 1862 by a Unitarian minister, the Rev. Henry Solly. The C. & I. Union looked after the interests of its clubs, gave legal advice free and provided Convalescent Homes and certain educational facilities for members. On June 26th, 1894, the club was registered under the Friendly Society Act. Under this Act it was necessary for a set of new Rules to be approved and registered, Trustees were compulsory and a return had to be made each year to the

Registrar giving the names and addresses of the Officials and the number of members of the club. An audited Statement of Accounts had to be furnished each year.

EARLY CASH ACCOUNTS

The earliest cash accounts now existing are dated 1897, when the Bar stock was £17 18s. 0d. Wages and honorariums :— Curator 5/- a week, Charwoman 3/4 a week, Secretary and Treasurer £2 each a year. Two members of the club did the auditing for a fee of 5/- each. The total income for the year was £274 7s. 11d. During the year £123 16s. 8d. was spent with Joshua Tetley for ale and £4 with Miles Barraclough for minerals (business is still done with these firms), Gas for lighting cost £4 15s. 8d. and Coal £4 7s. 0d. for the whole year. Furnishings and fittings were valued at £19 10s. 0d. Mr. W. Claridge, Public Auditor, was appointed the club's auditor for 1899 at a fee of £1 1s. 0d. (he was founder of the firm who have conducted the club audit ever since).

CLAY PIPES, ETC.

An item frequently appearing in the accounts indicates that from the early days of the club a good trade was done in clay pipes, these originally came from Dublin, in wooden boxes and packed in sawdust. Church Wardens cost 4 1/2d. a dozen and ordinary Clays 3d. a dozen. Records show that during that period Bagatelle, Quoits and Darts were popular, a Dart Board cost 7/6, a set of Darts 7 1/2d. and a set Quiots 2/~.

BRADFORD COVETS BAILDON

The turn of the century saw much activity in the village, although Baildon had only been constituted an Urban District

(Drawing - Top of Browgate 1896)

Council in 1895, Bradford, in 1901, sought to incorporate Baildon. The club had representatives on the committee set up by the Council to oppose this. Mr. G. C. Waud of Ferniehurst, the co-opted Chairman of the Council that year, was strongly in favour of going into Bradford but Baildon would have none of it. Mr. Waud who was a wealthy wool textile magnate and patron of many organisations connected with members of the club, resigned from everything in Baildon, and although the town lost a benefactor, Baildon kept its independence.

PREMISES FOR CLUB

At the Annual General Meeting of 1901 the members decided to buy 32, Northgate, for Club Rooms (opposite the present club), from a Mrs. Padgett for £292. They had £169 in the Bank and a mortgage for £175 was obtained from Baildon Friendly Aid. Early in 1902 a further £100 was borrowed for alterations and furnishings which cost £200 (the whole of this had been repaid by 1913).

THE CORONATION 1902

The club was represented on the town's committee for the Coronation of Edward VII. It is mentioned in the Minutes “ Everything was planned for June 26th but had to be postponed in consequence of the King's sudden illness.” It eventually took place on August 9th, 1902. The members sent a telegram of loyal greetings to Buckingham Palace. Members and friends had a “right royal do” for an expenditure of £6 10s. 0d. on food and drink.

HOURS AND PRICES FOR DRINK

Drastic alterations took place in the licensing laws in 1902 but they did not affect clubs as far as the hours of supplying drink. Committees still had the authority to fix these, the W.M. Club officially served up to midnight. It is interesting to compare prices at that time. Spirits were 14d. a measure of 20 to the bottle 20 u.p. (now 26 to the bottle 30 u.p.).

FLOWER AND VEGETABLE SHOW

For the next few years the club settled down to a period of hard work and careful management. Several members of the club were gardeners employed at the big houses in Baildon and there was a general interest in gardening, so it is not surprising that these members ran an Annual Flower and Vegetable Show. It had commenced in 1901 and was held regularly up to 1916 when most of the organisers were serving in the War. In 1919 the club took over full responsibility for the show and the trophies. The show continued under club management for several years when for lack of interest it was discontinued and a button-hole flower show took its place. The show was held on Sunday mornings during the summer months, and for many years was very popular, having as many as one hundred entries.

HARVEST FESTIVALS

From early in the club's history Harvest Festivals had been held on a Sunday in October of each year and by 1920 “T'Harvest ” had become a red letter day for the members. A short service was conducted by the Rev. J. R. Hebor Glover, who was Curate of Baildon and also a member of the club. The day finished off with a concert and the sale of the produce in aid of Salts Hospital.

Probably the influence of the gardeners is again seen in the preparing of Pancakes in the club for members on Shrove Tuesday. This took place for over twenty years when it unaccountably dropped out of the club's calendar. Attempts in after years to revive the custom met with little success.

ANNUAL RETURN TO REGISTRAR

A copy of the Annual Return prescribed by the Registrar for Clubs under the Friendly Society Act, 1896, relating to the year 1902 gives the following interesting information. The Trustees were Joseph Fawcett, Tentercroft, Thomas Halliday, Fountain Buildings (where Barclays Bank now is) and

(Drawing - Baildon Lane End 1896)

Benjamin Batley, Beck House, Station Road, all of Baildon. The Secretary was Fred Goodall, 24, Lane End, and the Treasurer, William Cox, 2, West Lane. Membership of the club was 96, the total income was £400 13s. 8 1/2d., profit for the year £42 7s. 2d., and there was a mortgage on the premises of £275.

STRONG DRINK

From the opening of the club in 1892 proof spirits were bought in bulk and broken down by the Bar Committee. Two pints of distilled water were added to each gallon of proof whisky which reduced it to about 20 underproof. Water for breaking down Gin and Rum was obtained from Job's Well, over the Moor. This spring water was considered far superior in quality than any other natural waters found in the area . .. that is by Baildoners . . . "and gives a crystal clear dilution and imparts to the spirit a flavour and character unsurpassed by any other sold in the district.”

Perhaps the secret of its excellence lay in the fact that a little less than a quart of water was added to a gallon of proof spirit thus giving a spirit of about 18 or 19 underproof against 20 underproof, which was customary in the trade. Breaking down continued until early 1916 when owing to War shortages, supplies almost dried up and in 1919 the kegs used in breaking down the spirits were disposed of.

NEW LICENSING BILL

The supervision of clubs supplying intoxicants again came to the fore in 1909 with the introduction of a Licensing Bill to Parliament. Meetings were held by local clubs opposing it and the C. & I. Union went into the attack on behalf of its members. Despite the efforts of the Union and other powerful organisations the Consolidated Licensing Act 1910 came on to the Statute Book.

This Act required all clubs supplying intoxicants to register annually with the clerk to the Justices and to supply to him data regarding rules and officials.

THE CORONATION 1911

Representatives of the club, along with other organisations, collaborated with the Council in arranging the festivities for the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary on June 22nd, 1911. The club was decorated inside and outside and there was fifty pounds of beef and a thirty pound ham to feed the members. It was described as a day of great jollification.

Some interesting figures appear in the accounts for that year; membership stood at one hundred, Bar takings £400, Curator's wage 15/- a week, Charwoman 6/- a week and the Secretary received £2 for the year. Two dozen pint pots cost 7/-, two dozen spirit glasses cost 9/9, one dozen tumblers 1/9, one dozen water jugs 4/- and a corkscrew 4d. For Baildon Feast 27 lbs. of beef at 9d. a pound from J. B. Jennings, £1 0s. 3d. Twenty-eight loaves of home made bread at 3d. each and four sweet loaves at 1/- each from Mrs. Carr.

The prices charged for spirits in 1911, were Whisky, Rum and Gin, own breaking down, 20 underproof, 9d. per noggin (quarter pint) ; White Label Whisky 1/- per noggin, Black and White 1/2 per noggin, Martell Brandy 1/6 per noggin. White Label Whisky was 3/6 a bottle and Black and White “as supplied to the House of Lords" 4/- a bottle. All spirits were at that time one third stronger than those sold today.

WAR AND SHORTAGES

With the outbreak of the War, August 4th, 1914, the preparation of food for social functions soon ceased; as far back as 1894 snacks had been supplied to members at a very small profit, sausage and mash, pie and peas, and broth, were regular items on the menu, particularly at weekends, up to the end of 1914, after which refreshments were only supplied on very special occasions.

In 1915 the committee decided that members serving with the armed forces should be excused their subscriptions for the duration of the War.

It was not until 1915 that shortages really began to be felt and when the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) came into force that year supplies of intoxicants and the hours for consuming them were curtailed.

By 1916 nearly half of the members were away at the War and the club was having a very difficult time, so uncertain were supplies of intoxicants that the committee ruled that ladies must only be served with mineral waters. However, members did not go short of some Christmas fare for they had 25 lbs. of beef, 7 lbs. of cheese, home made bread and various trimmings, but it was decided that the club be closed to affiliated and non-members.

Prices had been gradually increasing during the year and by the middle of 1917 spirits had advanced to 3 1/2d. a small measure, mild beer 3 1/2d. a pint and pints of bottled ale to 4 1/2d.

In 1918 owing to fuel and lighting restrictions the club was not opened until 4 p.m. on weekdays and closed at 10-30 p.m., and at 11-30 p.m. on Saturdays.

Supplies of liquor became so difficult that it had to be rationed in an attempt to give fair shares to members. The committee arranged that some of each month's supply of wines and spirits be hoarded for Christmas. Although hostilities had ceased in November 1918, a period of shortages of many commodities set in and the committee had to apply more severe restrictions. Members could only introduce visitors who lived more than three miles away from the club.

MEMBERS DEMOBBED

The population of the town had almost doubled during the previous twenty years and with the demobilisation from the forces of most of the Baildon men by 1920 membership increased from 140 in 1914 to 275. The club was having remarkable success, Bar takings jumped from £400 in 1918 to £3,060 in 1920.

For the early part of 1920 the club was without a Steward and the committee had to share the work ; the Bar was opened at 7 p.m. weekdays, 1 p.m. Saturdays and 12 noon on Sundays.

At the Annual Meeting the members refused to accept a 1/2d. a pint increase on beer and also refused the committee permission to "provide or build a convenience for ladies as the club was not intended for ladies.”

The large increase in income and membership caused the committee to think about more accommodation, and, in 1921 four houses in Northgate and eight cottages in the Straites with a rent roll of £122 were bought from the Baildon Picture House and Cafe Co. for £2,100. The idea was to eventually develop the property and have a larger club near to the Picture House.

That year the members deposited with the Building Fund £1,229 at 6%. A full-time Steward was appointed at £4 a week and the Charwoman's wage was increased to £1 a week.

CLUBMEN'S LIBERTIES CURTAILED

A shattering blow to clubmen was delivered in 1921 when the Coalition Government, without proper discussion or amendment, put through the Licensing Act 1921. This Act restricted the supply of intoxicants in Clubs to the same number of hours as Public Houses and made the final hour the same. An annual return had to be made to the Justices' Clerk containing the hours for opening and closing the club and the hours the Bar was open. A copy of the Rules had to be provided, together with the names of officials and committee and a declaration that the Secretary kept on the club premises a register of names and addresses of members and a record of subscription payments.

The first application for an extension of hours under the new Act was made for Baildon Feast Monday when the Otley Magistrates granted permission to supply intoxicants from 12 noon to 10 p.m. on that day.

RED WINE

Red Wine was introduced to the members during 1921, it was described as a British Grape Wine of great potency and sold at 2/6 a pint. A pint of it would knock out the 'strongest drinker. It was known in the Bradford area as ‘' Navvies' Blood” or “ Red Biddy.” When it was at the height of its popularity the club used to buy it in Half-Hogsheads (263 gallons). It had a very good sale for several years and then fell out of favour,

CLUBS' BREWERY

An item in the club's Balance Sheet for 1923 regarding United Clubs' Brewery shares recalls that this was the Sowerby Bridge and District at Ripponden. The Baildon Club had dealt with them for some years and in 1919 had taken £20 worth of shares in it, eventually the Company failed and the shares were written off as a loss. The Balance Sheet for 1923 reveals that members loans amounted to £1,313, the property was valued at £2,058, Bar stock £74 and the profit for the year was £118.

NEW SITE FOR NEW CLUB

The members were having second thoughts regarding the suitability of the Northgate property for adaptation to club premises and the General Meeting of 1924 gave authority to the Trustees to put up for public auction most of the Northgate property. The property did not reach the reserve and was withdrawn.

The committee had, however, been pressed by the members to seek another site for an entirely new club, and were fortunate in obtaining the option on nearly 10,000 square yards of land known as High Croft and Low Croft and also two gardens facing into Northgate. Back in 1900 it was planned to make a new street on this land, to be known as Jackson Avenue. It was to be 12 yards wide and no shops or business premises were to be allowed there. Had it been proceeded with it would have run from Northgate through where the club now is and into the Council estate at the back of the club. The land was finally bought by the club from the late Alfred Fox for a total of £1,022.

BUILDING THE NEW CLUB

In May 1925 the committee inspected the newly built Worth Village Club and were so impressed with it that instructions were given to the Architects to prepare plans for a club on similar lines at Baildon. In July the plans were submitted to the Council and approved the same month.

Contracts for the erection of the new club, all let to local tradesmen, were as follows :— Buildings, £1,651; Joiner, £793; Slater, £211; Plasterer, £549; Heat and Light, £215; Boundary Walls, £159. Total cost, £3,578.

A NON-POLITICAL CLUB

While the new club was being built many members were disturbed by people calling it the Labour Club; in order to draw attention to the non-political set-up of the club, members insisted that the non-political rule be strictly enforced and notices be posted stating "All politics are strictly prohibited in the club.” At the same meeting after a lengthy discussion the old rule No. 21 that no amusements whatever shall be allowed on Sundays, was rescinded.

OPENING OF NEW CLUB

Although the new club was being used in April of 1926 it was not officially opened until June 26th. The opening ceremony was performed by Mr. B. T. Hall, General Secretary of the Club and Institute Union, in the presence of the Chairman of Baildon Council and the officials of many clubs in the Airedale, Bradford and Wharfedale areas. Afternoon tea was provided for the guests and in the evening there was a concert and refreshments for members and friends.

HOT BATHS

One of the amenities at the new club was a bathroom; the reason for this in a non-resident club was because quite a number of members lived in the old cottages clustered around the top of the village. These had no bathroom accommodation so the club provided this for members who required it. It was well patronised for several years, though the twopenny charge for its use never covered expenses; it was not dismantled until the clearance of the old cottages and the re-housing of the people in modern homes made the club's bathroom unnecessary.

BOWLING GREEN AND TENNIS COURTS

The Yorkshire Electric Power Co., who had brought Electricity into Baildon early in 1926, approached the committee to sell them some of the field at the back of the club. The committee would not sell, stating that it was intended to use it for a Bowling Green and Tennis Courts at some future date. There was in fact a Bowling Green Fund but investigations some time later showed that the scheme would be very costly and the committee could see little hope of financing it for many years so it had to be shelved.

The field was bringing in £30 a year; it was let for grazing and at Baildon Tide for the Fair.

SUNDAY CONCERTS

Sunday night concerts, which had commenced when the old rule concerning amusements on Sundays had been rescinded, had become very popular by 1928. Many of the old members did not care for them, they still had that deep rooted streak of Victorian puritanism concerning lady visitors; indeed, in 1928 a serious complaint came before the committee objecting to women smoking in the club. It is recorded in the Minutes of February 28th. ‘Ladies smoking cigs. in the club be not interfered with at present.”

REVIVAL OF BAILDON GIPSY PARTY

The year 1929 saw the revival of Baildon Gipsy Party and the club took a prominent part in it. More than twenty members had taken part in the previous Gipsy Party held in 1895, and, for the revival they organised a " Tribe" from the club and provided the performers for the Bleather E-ad Band. The Star instrument of which was a huge fiddle made out of a bladder fitted to a clothes post with a wheel at its foot for the instrument was too big to carry. The festivities lasted a week and on the Saturday thousands of people visited Baildon and the club had its share of them. On that Saturday nearly £140 was taken over the Bar, equal in today's money to about £550, because then beer was 5 1/2d. a pint, Bass and Guinness 5 1/2d., Spirits 8 1/2d. and cigarettes 11 1/2d. for twenty,

WIDENING JENNY LANE

For Baildon Council to go forward with its scheme to widen Jenny Lane, land was required from the frontagers. Only the club co-operated, the other frontagers would not sell and the widening was only partially carried out. In 1930 the club sold 807 square yards of frontage in Jenny Lane to the Council for £97 7s. 8d. and the Council agreed to build a stone wall along the new frontage. This was an excellent bit of business by the committee as the new wall solved any future fencing troubles and enhanced the property with a handsome wall which had cost several hundred pounds.

A PERIOD OF ADVERSITY

The old club had been sold for £400 and a new stone house for the Steward built on the club's own land and completed towards the end of 1930 at a cost of £757. The club's annual income had passed £5,000 but the committee had no easy task financially; repayments to the Building Society that year were £414 and interest on members' loans amounted to £115. The following year was to prove the commencement of a series of adverse Balance Sheets. The club ran at a loss for several years, unemployment was rife throughout the land and the members had little money to spend, This was reflected in the Bar takings which by the end of 1932 had decreased by more than £760; worse was to come for turnover fell from £5,111 in 1929 to £3,852 in 1935, a decrease of £1,959.

So heavy was the call on the Sick and Distress Fund during this time that it had to be subsidised from club funds and its scope considerably restricted. This fund had been supported for a number of years, apart from occasional raffles, by an 8d. levy on the 4/4 subscription, making it 5/- a year.

The club was up against it, members' loans were £2,000, carrying an interest of £130 a year, Building Society mortgage £2,654, requiring repayment and interest of £276. Conditions began to improve in 1937 and profits appeared in Balance Sheets for the next two years.

WAR DECLARED

On September 3rd, 1939, War was declared on Germany, normal club life was disorganised, the entertainments side of the club's activities were badly hit, all artistes' contracts had to be cancelled and public transport diverted to war work. To a large extent the club had depended for the profitable success of its weekend concerts on affiliated members and visitors from over a wide area, in fact the Bus Company ran special buses for them on Sunday nights. Shortly after the War broke out this service was withdrawn and weekend concerts with professional artistes were discontinued. In the first twelve months of the war revenue dropped £600, overheads increased nearly £125 and the club showed a loss of £150. |

A number of members were called up under the Militia Scheme early in 1939 and it was resolved to remit the subscriptions of these members for the duration of their service.

During June 1940, the Channel Islands were evacuated, Baildon received 400 evacuees, mostly women and children. The men were offered the hospitality of the club, several became members and some served on the committee before the war ended.

WARTIME CONDITIONS

It took almost two years for the club to adapt itself to wartime conditions, the Finance Committee, in 1941, recommended that expenditure should be reduced. As a small profit was being made the committee was reluctant to make any cuts but the General Meeting of 1942 did agree to reduce the interest on members' loans from 6%, to 5%. During 1943 the accent was on Baildon Comforts' Fund for men in H.M. Forces. Concerts were run by the club, all artistes were local talent who gave their services free.

The committee was assisted by the club's own Ladies' War Charities Committee in organising concerts and other money raising affairs; they were so successful that they handed over to the Comforts' Fund £60 in the first six months.

Supplies of all kinds of goods had gradually become very short over the previous two or three years and by 1943 the scarcity of most things had become acute. Beer was rationed by the Brewers, this caused the committee to cut down the hours for supplying it to members and limiting individual consumption.

THE NORTHGATE PROPERTY

The Northgate property had been causing financial anxiety to some members of the committee for a long time, the fallacy of having property with a rent roll was always a good investment had governed the members for years and it was not until it was proved that interest on mortgage, taxes and repairs required more money than the whole of the rents produced, that the members agreed to get rid of the Northgate holdings. This property on the West side of Northgate was eventually sold for £1,500 to the Company it had been bought from some 23 years earlier.

DESERT RATS

In the December of 1943 the Headquarters Staff of the 46th Infantry Brigade, recently returned from the North African Campaign, were stationed at Baildon. They were invited to become Hon. Members of the club; this resulted in them holding their New Year's Dinner in the club on January 1st, 1944, and finishing off the evening with a concert given by the Divisional Concert Party, several of whom were professionals. During the winter months of 1944 it was the practice to run concerts in the club in aid of some war charity or other good cause. The outstanding concert of the year was for the Red Cross when £88 was raised. In January 1945, the H.Q. Staff of the 151st Infantry Brigade, then stationed in Baildon, gave a concert in the club in return for the hospitality shown on by the members. At this concert Baildon was introduced to the German Afrika Korps' marching song “ Lily Marlene,” which was given in German, Italian and English. Headquarters Staff had quite a number of good artistes who during their sojourn at Baildon assisted the club in many concerts.

DRINKS AND CIGARETTES RATIONED

As in the Great War history repeated itself, for Bar shortages seemed to reach the peak towards the end of hostilities. The committee had again to ration commodities ; draught beer was rationed to 18 gallons on a weekday and 72 gallons for the weekend. Bottled Ales and Guinness to two dozen of each at weekends. Spirits were put on in odd bottles, the club's ration was only 12 bottles a month, if available. Cigarettes were rationed to ten a day for each member and were supplied only against the club's own ration card and could not be obtained until after 9 p.m. in order to give late workers their share.

V.E. AND VJ. DAYS

V.E. Day, May 8th, was a day of great rejoicing, for Germany capitulated, the club celebrated but owing to rationing not with the traditional huge joint of beef. More than 300 members thronged the club and packed it to capacity. The club was again the scene of similar celebrations on V.J. Day, August 15th, when Japan surrendered.

Cigarettes and intoxicants were still in short supply and by June the position was so serious that the hours of supply were cut down. The Bar was opened on Saturdays from 12-30 to 1-30 p.m., Sundays 12 noon to 2 p.m. and every evening from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Draught was again rationed and a supply of commodities was allocated for each day.

Membership was closed to all except Baildon men returning from the Forces and the admission of affiliated members and visitors was not permitted.

LOANS AND MORTGAGES REPAID

A new financial policy which the committee had put into operation in 1945 when the club was faced with debts of £1,655 in members' loans and a mortgage of £750, had by 1947, to a large extent, recouped the overstrained resources of the club.

The scheme for converting members' loan interest from 5%, to 2 1/2% had met with immediate success, much of the new money being loaned free of interest by members.

In those years profits of £2,500 had been made and at the end of 1947 the mortgage had been reduced to less than £100 and the whole of the members' loans provided for, £1,255 had been repaid and a trust fund created to cover the remaining £400.

Thus in three years the Club had been relieved of liabilities which had crippled it for two decades.

Great credit is due to the committees of those years, they have set an all time example to future committeemen, of all-out effort and unstinted voluntary service for the benefit of the club.

WELCOME HOME

A Welcome Home dinner was given to some fifty members who had returned home from the Forces. The Dinner was held in the Picture House Cafe and a concert in the club concluded the evening. The function was acclaimed the most successful ever organised by the club.

The Ladies' committee had greatly assisted in building up the Welcome Home Fund from which gifts of £2 had been given to members who had been prisoners of war as they were repatriated.

(Drawing - Browgate from Nurses' Home 1930)

DAMP AND CHILLY

A dampness in the East wall of the club, which had been causing trouble for some time, became so apparent that the advice of the Council's surveyor was sought. He suggested that an underground streamlet which had fed a well at the top of one of the gardens on which the club had been built, might be the cause. With his help this stream was traced running under the beer cellar. It was diverted to a side drain and the dampness cured.

For many years difficulty in keeping up the temperature of the club in severe weather had been a worry. Heating engineers had advised that the heating apparatus was adequate and on top of the job. Various remedies were tried without success. Towards the end of January 1947 Baildon experienced the worst blizzard for many a year and in February everything was ice bound. There was a general shortage of coal and coke which by the end of the year had developed into a National fuel crisis; the members knew about it, they couldn't keep warm at home and they couldn't get warm in the club. In desperation the committee had a set of swing doors fitted in the entrance at a cost of £125; they certainly enhanced the appearance but did little to obviate the trouble.

CRICKET MATCH

Shortages of bar supplies continued throughout 1948 and additional supplies were obtained from any source, retail prices often being paid to keep members supplied with “ Baccy and Beer."

During the year the Sports' committee, which had functioned since 1945, arranged a Cricket Match with Bradford Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Club ; their team consisted of seven players each with a leg off, two with an arm off and two with an eye short. Despite these handicaps it was a serious match and Baildon WM. Club had all on to win.

It was mainly due to the success of this match that a match was arranged between the club and the Soldiers' and Sailors' Club in aid of the Baildon Veterans when £30 was raised for them.

This was to become an annual fixture between the two clubs even though the W.M. Sports' committee, which had organised sports activities very successfully since its inception, was disbanded a few years later.

NOT A BAD YEAR

All things considered, 1948 was not a bad year for the club although Bar takings showed a slight decrease and overheads a considerable increase, a profit of £445 was made.

In June the club organised the first Railway Excursion out of the area since the War finished. Four hundred members and friends were taken to Scarborough by special train and the sun shone all day.

SILVER LINING

With the end of clothes rationing in February and sweet rationing in April 1949, other commodities became more plentiful. After years of stringent rationing the committee decided to put cigarettes on show for normal sale even though the wholesale allocation was no larger. There was no stampede for them and before long members were able to buy without restriction. All intoxicants, except Whisky which was going to America for Dollars, were in better supply and the club ran a very successful Wine and Spirit Club for that Christmas.

During the year several concerts were organised for charitable causes, one of particular interest was given in aid of Baildon Parish Church Memorial Bells, to which the club also made a donation.

CONCERTS AND TELEVISION

A falling off in attendances at the weekend concerts, which had played so great a part in the financial success of the club for a quarter of a century, became alarming in the early 1950s. The cause was undoubtedly due to the compulsive appeal and popularity of television which had brought into the home entertainment which could be received, at the fireside, at the flick of a switch.

In an attempt to lure absentees back to the club, television was installed and more money was spent on "Club Turns.” These were becoming increasingly difficult to find, television having taken many of the best artistes.

The club was far from being in the red, but the committee realised that they would have to find a greater stimulus if they expected to retain the large profits the club had enjoyed for the previous ten years.

THE TIDE FIELD

It had been known for some time that the Council had been casting covetous eyes on the land at the back of the club and towards the end of 1953 the committee officially notified the Council that it was the intention to make a Bowling Green there.

Finances would not permit the scheme to be put in hand straight away and before anything could be done the Council had scheduled the land for housing. In 1955 the Council gave the committee notice that the land was required by them. Ultimately the Council's demands had to be acceded to and the land was sold to them at the District Valuer's price of £1,200. This dispelled the dream of Bowling Greens which had held the fancy of the older members for more than thirty years. The sale of the land also severed a long association between the club and the Tide folk who had made so many friends in the club and looked upon their Baildon Feast visit as much a holiday for them as a business venture. With no central site available the Fair no longer comes to Baildon and Baildon Tide is gradually passing out of the Calendar.

MODERNISATION IN PHASES

After the War the committee tried to bring the club up to date and replacements were carried out as resources permitted. For some years alterations to the men's room and a new positioning of the lavatories had occupied the minds of the committee, however it was not until the autumn of 1955 that anything positive was done, when architects were instructed to prepare a scheme for the modernisation of the men's room and the erection of a new Gent.'s lavatory on the North side of the club. When plans were submitted it was found that the finances were not equal to the high cost involved and the committee threw out the scheme. The following year another firm was asked to prepare plans “ for the easiest and cheapest way of altering the men's room and urinal.” The new plans were put in hand in 1957 and completed at a cost of £1,200.

BINGO, THE RISE AND FALL

It was mainly due to the gradual fading out of concerts and the subsequent loss of income that the committee was compelled to seek other sources of revenue. It had been noticed that some organisations were encouraging Bingo. The committee explored its possibilities and decided to operate it in the club. To do this it was necessary to amend club rules regarding Lady members and when the new rules were registered there was a large influx of women social members anxious to take part. Bingo was introduced in August 1957 to take place on Sunday nights and goods were to be given as prizes. It started steadily and looked as if it might have a short life, but before many months had elapsed it was found that the game held such a fascinating interest for a large section of people that it was becoming as much a part of the social life as the Cinema was a generation before. An additional night had to be set aside for the game each week.

The club was doing well out of it, so were the members, the prizes were the best value in the district and every ninth week the players were given a free night. Each of these free sessions cost the fund at least £40 for prizes and refreshments. Everyone was happy with what proved to be a pleasant method of extracting money. Finances were in the ascendent and the fitting of a new Bar was put in hand. This was completed for the Christmas of 1957 at an overall cost of £1,500.

The club's Bingo sessions reached the height of their popularity at the end of 1960, but there was marked falling off the following year when the new Betting and Gaming Act came into force.

It had been hoped that this new Act would benefit small organisations, instead it played into the hands of the big operators who started Bingo clubs and were able to give large money prizes. So great was the impact on small organisations owing to the defection of members who were chasing the big money offered by these concerns, that many associations had to abandon Bingo because of lack of support. Fortunately the club had other successful money raising efforts operating and not being entirely dependent on Bingo profits was able to continue the game as an entertainment for those members who still wanted it.

MODERNISATION, PHASE III

Ever since 1947 when the club had cleared its big debt of £2,500, there had been a hard core within the committee who had pursued a policy of gathering financial strength before embarking on any large scheme of capital expenditure.

Modernisation of the club was planned in phases to be paid for out of monies accumulated for that purpose.

During 1961 new ladies' lavatories were built and the old committee room opened up as a lounge. Decorations and furnishings were conceived in terms of usefulness, comfort and good taste and a good carpet gave a pleasing finish to the lounge. The concensus of opinion was that the £2,000 the alterations had cost was money well spent.

THE LICENSING ACT, 1961

The Licensing Act, 1961, brought in an entirely new system for the control of clubs; a Registration Certificate had to be obtained before intoxicants could be served and many new conditions observed in order to fulfil the requirements of the Act. Some of the club rules had to be amended and tightened up and several modifications made to exits, etc., to comply with the Fire precautions embodied in the Act.

The club was able to fulfil all the requirements and on November 12th, 1962, the Bingley Licensing Bench granted the club a Registration Certificate for ten years to expire in November 1972, the maximum period allowed by the Act.

It would be well for members to realise that with all new Acts affecting clubs a committee is set no easy task in operating new controls, a new set of problems generally emerge which can create a good deal of friction and misunderstanding between committee and members unless good sense and patience are exercised.

MODERNISATION, FINAL PHASE

During 1963 the final phase of the modernisation was achieved with the completion of alterations to the concert room. This was carried out with furnishings and decorations in keeping with the times, presenting a clean freshness, cheerful and colourful, tremendously improving the appearance of the whole interior.

The concert room had cost over £3,000 and the whole scheme, carried out over a period of eight years, as funds would permit, more than £8,000. It is gratifying to know that no money had to be borrowed, the whole of the improvements having been paid for out of funds. The concert room was officially put into use again on June 26th, 1963, the day and month coinciding with the opening of the original premises in 1926.

FINISHING THE JOB

Following the policy of making improvements as money became available, the dispensing of draught beer was changed from hand pumps to electrically pumped and metered in 1964. This proved to be a great success, the beer was thus hygienically handled and members received the exact measure. The following year the heating apparatus was converted from coke fuel to oil fuel.

All that now remained to be done to bring the Club up to modern standards and a first class property was the pointing and cement rendering of the outside walls. This had almost been completed when fire struck. During the early morning of October 26th, 1966, the club caught fire, the building and its contents were completely destroyed, only the walls and part of the roof were left standing. At 12-30 a.m. there was no sign of fire, but by 1-30 a.m. the club was a raging inferno.

Fire appliances from Shipley, Bradford and Bingley were quickly on the scene but too late to save the club from becoming a total write-off. So ended the life of a building which had graced Northgate for forty years.

The club was insured to meet all eventualities and the Committee was fortunate in obtaining the use of the unoccupied Picture House Cafe as temporary premises until a new club could be built.

(Advert for Tetley) (Advert for Keighley Lifts) (Advert for Rycrofts) (Advert for M Barraclough)

References

  1. Handbook courtesy of Arthur Edwick