Builder to bring new lease of life to historic Delph Club after auction bid

A BUILDER has bought a 150-year-old piece of history in the village where he was born… in just three minutes.

Despite brisk bidding, John and Sharon Sykes’s offer of £260,000 saw them claim the iconic Delph Club in an auction at the club’s Gartside Street headquarters.

John Sykes with one of his daughters Lucy and his wife Sharon outside The Woolpack in Delph

Revealing his plans for the building, Mr Sykes, a father of five, declared: “I plan to create affordable living accommodation in the village.”

The auction ended months of speculation surrounding the future of the imposing three-storey building.

Last year a letter to members and villagers from the club committee warned unless new and additional uses could be found, the premises would have to be sold.

The club was a respected venue for community activities, sports and events but the industrious committee and trustees had struggled to find a sustainable formula.

They took the reluctant decision to put the premises under the auctioneers hammer earlier this year.

Alan Shackleton, committee spokesman, said: “We were pleased to see so many people at the auction, either interested in bidding or supporting us.

“It was a sad occasion for many local people and the end of an era involving many happy memories.

“We are very grateful to the auctioneer, Henry Burbidge, for his hard work handling marketing and viewings prior to the auction and management of the event.

“The club will continue to trade as usual until about October 21 and will host one or two not to be missed events and give members and friends a chance to gather and chat as usual.

“We are sure the building has passed into a safe pair of hands and will continue to be a familiar feature in the centre of the village,” he added.

The building was built as a Reform Club about 1860 with a community hall, snooker and reading room and was alcohol free.

The Reform movement merged with the Liberal Party early in last century and by about 1970 the building had fallen into disrepair.

A committee and trustees took over and changed the old covenants so it could be licensed and renamed Delph Club.

Mr Sykes and his wife Sharon converted a former landmark pub, The Woolpack at Dobcross, into a stylish holiday let business five years ago.

He said: “I have not finally settled exactly what I would like to do with the Delph Club but I shall be seeking planning permission.

“It will certainly be to provide substantial apartments at affordable prices for people who want to live in the lovely village of Delph.

“Meantime, if anyone want to use the building for a special event or for short-term storage, I would be happy to try and accommodate their wishes.”

l Mr Sykes can be contacted on: 07748 907777 or email:

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