My name is Michael Brady. I have been a member of the Great Barr Conservative Club for sixty four years, joining in 1957. The Club was opened officially in September 1958 by Lady Goldsmid and opened as a businessmen's club, evenings only.
The membership fee was Seven Shillings and Sixpence a year and you were asked what you were prepared to do to support the Conservative party, like deliver leaflets, go door knocking for votes, or to drive pensioners to vote .
The President of the club was Mr. C.D.Pawson who financed the club, the chairman was Jack Lloyd.
I joined the club with a few of my mates from the Malt Shovel, the reason being a late drink. At that time the Pubs finished serving at ten o'clock but the club was open till twelve o'clock and we thought for 7/6 a year it was well worth that for a late drink and a game of snooker.
When applying for membership your name would go on the notice board. After one month, providing there was no objection from any member and the committee believed you to be of good character you would be able to join.
Not many members attended at weekends, so it was decided to allow the Ladies as guests on Saturdays and Sunday evenings, you could bring your wife your girlfriend or someone else's wife at no charge.
A high standard of dress code was expected, no jeans no trainers no sport shirts. A tie had to be worn at all times and at a later date neck ties were kept at the main entrance for the men that came without one.
In the summer months you would have to wait for the chairman to say Gentlemen you may remove your jackets.
We had a member named Billy Woodward who played the drums and a lady named Francis who played piano. Saturday nights became very popular with a dance and a free and easy. Mr. Pawson played the violin and went around the tables playing romantic songs.
We started to sell Mitchells & Butlers beer as well as Ansells and this really gave the club a lift. The ladies were now allowed in every night and the club became quite busy.
We started a young Conservative club and I became chairman, we had about fifty to sixty members and helped the Conservative party by delivering leaflets and encouraging people to vote Tory.
I invited interesting people to give talks at our Tuesday night meetings. We invited the Police, Surgeons from Sandwell Hospital, the Fire Service and other interesting people. We finished our night Rocking and rolling to our record player.
The older members of the club were not very impressed with the boys with long hair and the girls with short skirts and I was told by the Committee to tell the girl's to stop wearing them, I requested they came in trousers .
When I resigned as chairman for personal reasons and no one else wanted to take the job on our young Tory's joined other youth clubs so in my opinion we lost a generation of potential Members.
We adopted a home that was for homeless children at Wigmore School and raised money for them. Any food we had left over from our social events we would take to the school for the children.
We also arranged a game of football with the lads and our chairman Frank Bird was the referee, some of our players struggled to walk for a week after.
Wednesday night was our charity night, I played the organ with a blast from the past and Ken Hickman sang the hits from the blitz.
The members brought in there unwanted items, we had three piece suites televisions and lots more interesting things which I auctioned off. The money raised went to all different causes examples of which were Hospitals, Guide dogs and people down on their luck.
The ladies enjoyed our ladies fashion night on Thursdays and on Saturday night several of the ladies came in the same outfit so we know where they came from.
We had Sunday morning Breakfast runs and if we had any seats left on the coach we invited Members from the Great Barr club and they joined us. We all had a great time returning home at 9 O'clock at night; some breakfast run! We were all in the dog house.
The club was then extended, the snooker tables were moved to make way for a larger lounge area, and the ballroom was extended with a proper dance floor installed. That was really a big lift for the club.
The Monday night dance club was started many years ago by John Stait & Colin Garret. The ladies Keep fit class was also very popular run by Joyce Scott.
Thanks for sharing my memories.
The Committee would like to take this opportunity to thank Mick for his light hearted tour through the History of the club.
Thanks so much Mick.
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