Party time at Workies
Club is 150 years old
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