Party time at Workies

Club is 150 years old

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - Heartless - Ju­dith Ton­ner

Mem­bers at Air­drie work­ing men’s club are get­ting set for an ex­tra-spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion – as the popular lo­cal in­sti­tu­tion marks its 150th an­niver­sary.

The club was of­fi­cially founded in Jan­uary 1869, and the oc­ca­sion will be marked over the com­ing months, cul­mi­nat­ing in a week of cel­e­bra­tions af­ter the new year.

Its mem­bers will en­joy a show by Glas­gow band Mar­malade on Jan­uary 11, as well as par­ties, com­pe­ti­tions and spe­cial pro­mo­tions and events.

As well as the land­mark 150th an­niver­sary, the cel­e­bra­tions will also mark half a cen­tury since an ex­ten­sive re­fur­bish­ment at its Broom­knoll Street home and for it to be­come the cur­rent so­cial and li­censed premises.

Work­ing men’s club ste­ward Gor­don Hunter told the Ad­ver­tiser: “We’ll be hav­ing a week of cel­e­bra­tions, shows, par­ties and com­pe­ti­tions for mem­bers to cel­e­brate.

“Mar­malade’s ap­pear­ance is the big show to kick it all off, and then the next day there will be party nights to start the week of events.

“This ex­act time 150 years ago was when the club was get­ting the funds to­gether to open – it then opened its doors in the sec­ond week of Jan­uary 1869.

“The cel­e­bra­tions will be a nice way to start the new year, at the end of the fes­tive pe­riod.”

Air­drie work­ing men’s club has 1200 mem­bers and many of its ded­i­cated com­mit­tee mem­bers have given decades of ser­vice to run­ning the club – such as Alex Hawthorne, who has served as pres­i­dent for two decades, and Wil­lie McGuigan, who has been its sec­re­tary for 25 years.

Its long and proud his­tory is set out on a com­mem­o­ra­tive plaque at the Broom­knoll Street venue, setting out that “the club owes its ori­gin to lead­ing men in the area and in par­tic­u­lar to honorary pres­i­dent Henry Charles Deedes”.

He rented and fur­nished its first premises at High Street in 1869; the club then moved three years later to Stir­ling Street and then to “a more prom­i­nent po­si­tion” in Broom­knoll Street in 1884.

The plaque adds: “The foun­da­tion stone was laid and a short time later the changeover took place.

“The club cost ap­prox­i­mately £1000 and was pre­dom­i­nantly used for bil­liards and snooker; there were 10 ta­bles to serve the mem­bers and this sit­u­a­tion lasted from 1902 un­til 1967.”

Club mem­bers then saw their premises ex­ten­sively ren­o­vated half a cen­tury ago, open­ing un­of­fi­cially at this time for the fes­tive pe­riod and “to al­low mem­bers to see the results” ahead of the of­fi­cial re-open­ing in Jan­uary 1969.

It was then de­stroyed by fire just three years later – but af­ter a two-year de­cant to tem­po­rary premises at Hogg Street, the fa­mil­iar Broom­knoll Street venue was re­opened in 1974 and the club has gone from strength-to­sev­eral Club ste­ward and trea­surer Gor­don Hunter is help­ing to or­gan­ise the Jan­uary fes­tiv­i­ties for the 150th an­niver­sary of Air­drie work­ing men’s club strength since then.

Mem­bers even had a mem­o­rable oc­ca­sion as they wel­comed celebrity guest Robert Du­vall, whose visit is cel­e­brated in pho­tos at the club.

Gor­don added:“It was Mr Deedes who came up with the idea to have a place for the com­mu­nity to gather, and to play cards and snooker – and the club was a great suc­cess from open­ing in 1869.

“Nowa­days it’s open seven days a week and hosts ev­ery­thing from bingo and karaoke to danc­ing and var­i­ous com­mu­nity groups.

“We’ve been look­ing for­ward to the 150th cel­e­bra­tions for a few years now and it’s go­ing to be great when it comes around in Jan­uary.”

Rais­ing a glass

Win­ning feel­ing Club mem­ber Ian Wil­son with one of the many awards handed out to the well-known lo­cal darts venue

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.