Re-creating a great tradition of Northern radicalism
This page highlights the amazing heritage of radical/socialist clubs still thriving in the North. If I’ve missed any out, please tell me – and let me have updates on yours!
Red and Green Club Milnsbridge (Huddersfield)
The Red and Green Club is an exciting project being developed by the Milnsbridge Co-operative Society (MSC). We are renting the Milnsbridge Socialist Club at 42 Bankwell Road, Milnsbridge HD3 4LU on a short-term basis, with the intention of buying the building IF we can raise funds to do it.
We have a monthly programme of film nights, poetry evenings and political discussions. If you want to donate, or join (£10 per year full rate, £5 unwaged), please make cheques payable to:
‘Milnsbridge Society’ and send to: Secretary, Red and Green Club, 42 Bankwell Road, Milnsbridge, Huddersfield HD3 4LU
Please sign up to our facebook page ‘Red and Green Club, Milnsbridge’ for regular updates. Or https://en-gb.facebook.com/redandgreenmilnsbridge/
Bolton Socialist Club
The Club is the oldest remaining independent socialist club in the country. Located in the Centre of Bolton on Wood Street it is sometimes known simply as Wood Street, or Wood Street Socialist Club.
During its time it has played host to many organisations including the Clarion Cyclists’ club, a Socialist Sunday School, and has been and continues to be involved in a range of social and political activity. It seeks to provide a town centre hub for socialist and left wing activists. The club is run by volunteers for the benefit of the club and its members.
As well as the regular events (see column on the left) we also hold special events at the club and are involved in a variety of political campaigns and often organise travel to/from political meetings, demonstrations etc.
To keep up-to-date with everything going on at the club subscribe to the newsletter – send a message saying you want to subscribe via the Contact page.
The Club has a facebook presense in the form of a group page. To join the group click on this linkhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/134163806754385/?ref=ts&fref=ts
Hebden Bridge Trades Club
The Trades Club was built in 1923 as a joint enterprise by half a dozen local trades unions. This was back in the days when Hebden was a thriving centre for the cotton industry. The unions levied a one penny contribution from each member per week, and when finally built, the building was equipped with a fully sprung dance floor for the purposes of ballroom dancing. It’s still there, though probably used for more energetic dancing than its designers originally envisaged.
As the cotton industry declined and the factories closed down, the building fell into disuse. It was taken over by the combined Hebden Bridge and Luddendenfoot district Labour parties, who appointed a Building Management Committee to administer the building. The Trades Club Social Club has leased the first floor since 1982 from where we operate as an independent socialist members club. In May 2016 the Club was formally constituted as a members’ co-operative.
The Trades Club is a celebrated venue for live music and has for several years running been voted into the finals of the NME Small Venue of the Year Awards. The last few years have seen the club updating its facilities with a new stage, PA system, mixing desk & LED lighting rig. Alongside the live music the venue is a community hub that is committed to hosting political events and fundraisers for local and international campaigns.
If you would like to read a full history of Glossop Labour Club and the activities of its members down the years you can order a copy of the Publication “Beer and the Battle for a Better World” price 50p from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glossop Labour Club
Glossop Labour Club is one of the oldest Socialist/Labour Clubs in the country. It was founded in 1906 by the ILP two years before the existence of the national Labour Party in Glossop.
The founders of Glossop Labour Club were also Glossopdale’s leading trade unionists, co-operators and suffragettes. They were young and enthusiastic socialists and were extremely active politically in the valley. As well as ILP members there were also involved in the Club, members of other socialist groups such as the SDF and the British Socialist Party. Links with the Labour Party became stronger after 1918 but the Club always retained its independence and never affiliated to the Labour Party. Throughout its history it has been home to people from all the various traditions on the left and to people with no party political affiliation.
Bradford 1 in 12 Club
Located in the centre of Bradford, the club has been going since 1981 and has a range of events at the centre as well as its own allotment group – The Peasants’ Collective!
ILP Clarion House
Located in a lovely part of Lancashire below Pendle Hill, the ILP Clarion Hosue is a national treasure. Generally it only opens on Sundays and people are encouraged to come by foot or bike. There was a bus service running in summer but whther it will sirvivbe the cuts is anyone’s guess. Here’s how it describes itself:
The Clarion House was built to be a non-profit making co-operative with any excess money to be used in spreading the word of socialism. This was no accident, no coincidence. It was planned in the hope that others would take it as a model of how society as a whole ought to be organised.
Visitors could come and witness how people – lots of people – were prepared to devote their lives to the Clarion movement for no personal gain, other than the knowledge that they would leave the world a better place than when they entered it.
The Clarion is a vision of the future, a vision of a socialist society, a commonwealth, based on co-operation and fellowship, not conflict and material greed. Those early socialist pioneers who built the Clarion chose a place of recognised natural beauty in the fervent hope that the rest of the world (for socialism knows no boundaries) would come to resemble it and become a place of beauty, not only physical beauty – but also a moral and social beauty.
The Clarion (meaning – to proclaim loudly) was to be the instrument by which their message would be spread, uniting the world under one banner of socialism, peace and harmony.
The present and last Clarion House is one of several ‘Clarion Houses’ that were used by the Nelson Independent Labour Party.It was built in 1912 under the direction of the trustees of the Nelson ILP Land Society.
The building project was funded by a loan of £350 from the Nelson Weavers Association. The size of the loan at that time, says as much about the size and success of the Nelson Weavers Association as it does about the inescapable relationship that existed between the developing trade union movement and the emerging political parties which were forming to represent “labour” independently.
The history of the Clarion House is encapsulated in a book written by Roger Brown and the late Stan Iveson, titled: “Clarion House – A Monument to a Movement”.
This book is currently out of print, however it has been reproduced in electronic form and along with a photographic history of the ILP and other items is available on a CD-ROM (please for details).
There is a transcript of an engaging interview with Stan Iveson on the‘OneGuyFromBarlick’ web site (posted by local historian Stanley Challenger Graham) The interview was carried out by Daniel Meadows, you can learn more about his work at the Free Photographic Omnibus.