It’s the smallest working men’s club in Huddersfield ... but its membership is getting bigger and bigger.
Gawthorpe Working Men’s Club is in the tiny hamlet of Gawthorpe near Lascelles Hall and its members believe this year will be its centenary but are not absolutely sure.
Now they have appealed for anyone who can confirm the date to let them know so they can get to work on a weekend of celebrations.
Committee member and social secretary Jamie Dutton said it was thought the original Gawthorpe Club was 200 yards away from where it stands now. Then it was in a lean-to building and was primarily for farmworkers and miners who worked at pits in the area such as Shuttle Eye Colliery at Grange Moor.
Jamie, a builder from Lepton, said: “It was called the shirt neck club because no-one who went there ever wore a collar.”
It’s thought that around 1909 the club members managed to buy land from the Whitley Beaumont estate to build a new club nearby.
Jamie has found minutes which reveals bricks were bought for £11 from Lepton brickmaker Brian Elliot to build the new club but work didn’t actually start until around 1912.
“The club became known as ‘the pile of bricks’ because it’s thought that’s all it was during those years,” said Jamie.
Minutes also show that the club was buying spitoons, imported cigars and “ordinary ale.”
The annual cost of membership was thought to have been five shillings.
It’s thought the club was built in 1915 and the minute book mentions work still needed on the heating and plumbing which leads members to think the club wasn’t fully finished until 1916. There was also a fundraising appeal to pay for painting and decorating in late 1915.
The club now has 180 members and has quite a social life along with arranging fundraising events for charity.
“The club is doing really well at the moment and membership is growing,” said Jamie. “It’s an active little club. Lepton historian George Redmonds has told us that in the 1920s and 30s there were five other working men’s club within a one mile radius of Gawthorpe but this is the only one left now.
“We’ve also seen a map from 1915 which shows there was even a chemical works just 200 yards away.”
Anyone with information can contact Jamie on 07885 722659.