Monday, November 25, 2013

The Coach Driver's Tip: Working Men's Clubs and Trips to the Seaside

New Parks Social Club, Leicester 2013

Sheffield and Leicester had a tradition of reciprocal visits between the large number of well used working men's clubs that both cities housed.

These days there are relatively few such clubs left.

In Sheffield, my granddad Conneally was a member of The Bellhouse Road Working Men's Club. I'm pleased to see that, just like The New Parks Social Club here in Leicester, it's still going.

Every summer, along with my friends, I'd eagerly look forward to getting tickets for the annual club trip to the seaside.

Skegness, Mabelthorpe, Cleethorpes, Great Yarmouth.

I visited all of them one year or another on the club hired coaches or charabancs, as my nan called them,

A convoy of twenty or so vehicles making their way to what seem like very distant beaches.

Dinner, meaning lunch, vouchers and a few free fun fair tickets are handed out to us as we bump through the flatness of Lincolnshire towards the coast.

How long can the last remaining working men's clubs hang on? Times are tough but with a free juke box every Friday and disco karaoke the last Friday of every month along with live entertainment the likes of New Parks Social and Bellhouse WMC are determined to carry on.

the coach driver's tip
candy floss, dodgems
and vomit both ways

Paul Conneally
Leicester 2013

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