Greenfield Conservative Club to shut after 123 years

GREENFIELD CONSERVATIVE Club, a permanent fixture on Chew Valley Road since 1894, will close its doors for the final time on Sunday, April 30.

Greenfield Cons Club
Greenfield Conservative Club

Falling trade and rising debts has forced the decision which will be confirmed to members at an Extraordinary Meeting on Wednesday, April 26.

Ironically, nearby Uppermill Conservative Club is enjoying a renaissance with substantial renovation work currently taking place.

A joint 18th and 60th birthday celebration for for Samedi Stephinson-Kirkbride and his dad John will be the final function at Greenfield on Saturday, April 29 before last orders are called the following day.

“It is very sad but there is nothing more we can do to keep it open,” said chairman, Martin Brown, who was also chairman of Greenfield Brass Band for over 30 years. “We couldn’t carry on losing money.

“People’s lifestyles have changed. It is easier to buy beer from supermarkets and have a drink at home.

“We have quite a few groups who hire our rooms but that doesn’t pay the bills. Overheads were going up and people spending money over the bar has been going down.

Steve Preece-acting secretary-and Martin Brown, chairman
Steve Preece, acting secretary, and Martin Brown, chairman

Acting Secretary Steve Preece added: “At one stage we probably had more than 600 members. Now it’s about 200 and quite a few of those are life members.”

In 2015, the club obtained a public bar licence and had a makeover as part of a recruitment drive – now all to no avail.

The rambling Victorian building and adjoining car park will be taken over by the Association of Conservative Clubs before a decision on its future is made.

There are more than 900 Conservative Clubs in the UK and a spokesman for the Association said: “We are aware of the situation at Greenfield. No decision has been made yet but it’s possible it could go to auction.”

Fixtures and fittings, including snooker and pool tables, will be sold. Two commemorative boards, remembering villagers who served in the Great War and World War Two, will be retained and offered to Saddleworth Museum.

(Above) The commemorative Rolls of Honour from the Great War and World War Two

So too will a number of ledgers chronicling the early years of the Club and shown above in our photographs.

News of the closure has just started to reach a number of groups that have been regular contributors including Greenfield Brass Band, Saddleworth Historical Society, Backstep Boogie dance group, the RNLI, White Friday Brass Band Committee, Saddleworth Anglers and Border Anglers and Naturalists.

But it has taken many villagers by surprise including several local councillors.

Greenfield Conservative Club was in good company when it opened for custom as Blackpool Tower, Manchester Ship Canal and Tower Bridge (to traffic) also opened in 1894.

William Ewart Gladstone was Prime Minister at the start of 1894 before he was succeeded by fellow Liberal, Archibald Primrose, the fifth Earl of Roseberry, on March 5.

The first Conservative Prime Minister celebrated at the Chew Valley Road club was Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, third Marquess of Salisbury in June 1895.

But the lights will be out if Tory leader Theresa May is confirmed as Prime Minister after the General Election on June 8.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. This is very sad and its demise will be a great loss to Greenfield. Political affiliation apart – it’s part of the character of the village. I just hope that the building is preserved – unlike the primary school that OMBC want to demolish.

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