Club Historians is the website run by Dr Ruth Cherrington, a very good friend of mine, who I met one fine day in Coventry. We were both in the mix for amending this atrocious smoking ban law which has slaughtered 12,000+ businesses as it rumbles along its deadly path which will only have one ending for this country: BANKRUPTCY.
Ruth was very much into writing a book about the clubs and asked me for my views on certain things – and she got them; both barrels! I feel honoured that I was even mentioned in the book never mind on several occasions!
The book, “Not Just Beer and Bingo” is, like the website, a work of art, a true labour of love and it is very sad to note that Ruth’s very own club (Canley Social Club), where she ‘grew up’ was forced to close down this very week (July 2013), another 60 years of history gone!. Her parents lived over the road so it is no wonder that Ruth considered the Canley Social Club as ‘her club’. I feel her grief and applaud her tears.
It is so sad to see part of your life suddenly shut down, finished, gone forever but sadly, since the smoking ban came into being there are thousands of people who now feel estranged, depleted even orphaned as ‘their club’ has closed due to circumstances beyond their control.
Not Just Beer and Bingo (A Social History of Working Men’s Clubs, [Authorhouse, 2012] ) charts the course of the working mens clubs from the day Henry Solly decided that workers needed somewhere to chill out after a hard days toil and before they went home, right up to the present day. Sad to say that since the smoking ban the two oldest WMCs have both gone to the wall as members failed to renew their once prized memberships thanks to a law that sent them outside for a cigarette or pipe. Indeed, one of the largest clubs inb Leicester saw its membership plummet from well over 2,000 to less than 900 in double quick time, post ban-and this was a club that hosted ‘unknowns’ such as Englebert Humperdink, Bernard Manning, The Baron Knights and many, many more top acts!
The author, Dr Ruth Cherrington rips into the club scene and lays the bones bare as she charts the rise and fall of clubland and is always mindful of the social importance of our clubs. It is obvious to me, after talking to many MPs, that they are not so mindful of the social importance of our clubs, in fact it seems that they (MPs) care not whether clubs survive or not as the present day healthisms seem to sweep all before them. Ruth is passionate about her clubs, indeed, she visits many of the clubs talking about the social disharmony that closure after closure causes, but yet again the same old question arises, “When are the people of this country going to stand united and say ‘ enough is enough’ ?”
Trust me, once you have encountered either or both of these fantastic ‘labours of love’ you will realise why Ruth Cherrington is a dedicated, lifetime member of Justice4Smokers-and at only £1 per month, you should be too! This is no longer simply a fight against the lies & fabrications of smoker haters, this is a fight against foriegn beaurocrats who want to control everything within our country!
Fight for the rights of our club members & fight for your clubs – or one fine day they will be gone!