Doncaster Trades, South Mall, Frenchgate Shopping Centre
If someone told you they were just popping down the shopping centre for a pint, you might start to wonder if Marks and Spencer had started to sell draft beer in between the lingerie and ladies separates. And if they added that they would be enjoying a bit of country and western and a hot lunch to go with it, you are definitely going to want to know where they are talking about.
If you live in Doncaster, most people would know as the new, relocated Trades Club can be found right next to the food court in Frenchgate Shopping Centre. When Ruth from Club Historians visited in early March 2011, under recommendation from locals, she couldn't help thinking how handy it was to have a club slap bang in the middle of a modern, indoor shopping area. The Trades has been in this location for just over 2 years, covering four floors which are connected by lift and stairs, all tastefully decorated and furnished. The club has much older roots but the land it was occupying was needed by the development company building and it was asked to move to make way for Frenchgate part of Doncaster's regeneration. Part of the deal was it being placed in a similar location which puts it right at the heart of the shopping mall.
It is at the heart of the local CIU branch as well as operations are managed from here. There are good office facilities as well as rooms available to hire.
It's open from 11 -11 everyday, only closing on Christmas day. There is a stream of customers coming through the doors throughout the week. On Friday lunchtimes, you have to get there early to get a seat for the country and western concert. There are concerts several weekday lunchtimes, as well as meals on offer which attracts the weary and thirsty shoppers. They have a games room, lounge, concert room, offices plus conference room for hire and other offices for local MP and the local CIU branch office. Evening concert tickets can be bought for £6 but for only £2 extra you get a hot and cold buffet meal thrown in.
Door official Douglas Crich kindly showed Ruth around and explained what goes on in the club which has over 2500 members.
There are TV screens in each room. The pictures of the walls range from modern art to framed photos of old Doncaster street scenes. The club offers the lounge area as a function room and being on the top floor, there are good views across the city. The room is a smart venue and given the club's location, is a popular local leisure space.
The club's address is 19 South Mall, Frenchgate Shopping Mall, Doncaster (right next to the bus and train stations). Or, take a look online - www.doncastertrades.co.uk
It might not appear to be 'your typical working men's club' on the outside but the way it is in tune with the local community and its popularity show that inside, a good old fashioned club welcome is on hand.
So, those of you living in Doncaster or visiting the city, if you feel you have shopped till it's time to drop, pop into the Trades!