Sheffield books: author Neil Anderson remembers success of city’s working men’s clubs in new book
Author Neil Anderson reflects on the success of the Working Men’s Club movement in the 1970s in his latest book.
One of the highlights for members in Sheffield were club trips, and it was often the only outing to the seaside experienced by hundreds of local children in decades gone by.
The ‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to Working Men’s Clubs’ writer explains the trips as being run like a military operation, involving scores of coaches heading for the coast depending on the size of the club and the number of children involved.
Mr Anderson said: “They were well organised and gave a sense of amazing freedom to the kids that got to roam about a sea resort for the day on their own.
“Cleethorpes, Bridlington, Blackpool and Skegness were always popular destinations for many.”
The writer added: “It’s no surprise the kids ended up as staunch clubgoers in later years. Their own experience of life with the ‘club family’ started at an early age and happy memories of the ‘club trip’ were etched into their DNA.”
Former club trip-goer Haydn Anderson recalled that all members received spending money, free tickets for rides, and a lunch ticket.
He said: “You can imagine the scene, with hundreds of kids queuing outside the café.”
“Most of the day would be spent in ‘Wonderland’, a vast corrugated iron structure, full of amusements and where, if you still had any money left, you could quickly lose it in the slot machines,” he added.
Despite there being hundreds of children in the town from other clubs, he said he could not remember there ever being any trouble.
He said: “There were always some adults on each of the coaches but imagine what it would be like today.”
Dorothy Grey, went on the trips as a child and said: “A label was attached to our clothing indicating our names, and who we were with.”
Sheffield-based author and former journalist Neil Anderson has published a number of books under the ‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide’ brand, which look back on the city’s nightlife.
His new book, The ‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to Working Men’s Clubs’ is available for £14.95 from www.dirtystopouts.com.