South Yorkshire Times Saturday, February 6, 1960
Conisbrough Club Premises Are 200 Years Old.
The oldest working men’s club in Conisbrough, the Castle Club, was opened in 1902, but it will surprise many of the younger members to learn that the grey weathered stone building is over 200 years old.
The rambling structure, situated In Chapel Lane, was built in the early eighteenth century as a private house. Immediately before the workmen’s take-over, it was owned by an official of Sheffield Waterways.
Although the club is not ideally situated as far as transport is concerned, it retains a charm of its own The building nestles on one of the steeper slopes surrounding the valley, and the view to the south-east is excellent.
Recreational facilities include a billiards room and bowling green, flat level of the bowling green is five yards below that of the club foundations, so members can enjoy a “bird’s eye” view of the game.
Membership Of 600
Membership was around the 60 mark at the opening. Today it exceeds 600—about 450 men and 200 women. Annual subscriptions (4s.), have remained unadjusted for 57 years.
The price of beer, however, has soared. At the turn of the century the men could en joy a two-penny pint. Now best beer costs 1s 4d, (6.7p) although “brews” at 1s 1d and 11d are available.
One of the club’s oldest members, Mr. Albert Brain (81), who worked at Cadebv Colliery for 50 years, recalled that in the early days, skittles and quoits were the chief games. ” The opening of the Castle W.M.C. was a big event in this district,” he told a “South Yorkshire Times” reporter.
Mr. Clarence Marshall (69), of 1 Hameline Road, Conisbrough, was secretary for over 14 years until his retirement six years ago. Mr. Marshall, who, like Mr Brain worked for 50 years at Cadeby, did a tremendous amount of good work for the club in his time.
In 1948, he said the club was mortared £1,800. The debt has now been cleared, but the management committee decided that until the club was in a really sound financial position no further developments will he attempted.
Castle Club must be one of the few establishments in this area where “Tombola” is not played. The current club “craze” will never reach the Castle, either, club president for 11 years, Mr. E. Henderson told our reporter. ” Only a minority of members want ‘ housey’,” he said “and we consider that it has no place in club life.”
Each year club teams take part in panel games and league competitions. Several funds are in existence, including the Children’s Fund, the Fishing Club, and the Old Men’s trip. Fifty per cent of monies raised by various competitions is given to the children, and then proportionately divided among the other organisations. In 1959 some 250 children enjoyed an outing to Cleethorpes and each child was given ten shillings spending money
Practically the only alteration made to the club since its opening, was when a large upstairs room, formerly used for dancing, was converted into living quarters for the steward.
The present steward, Mr. John Lewis, has been at the club for three years. Secretary is Mr. S. Wilson and trustees Messrs. J. Chaddick, Sam Peck and Albert Peck.
Although the club have not the largest membership in the district, the premises are usually packed at the weekend.