Hen Lane Social Club, Beacon Road, Coventry CV6 4DS
CIU Affiliated, shire Branch
Hen Lane Social first opened its doors to the local community in 1936. It was affectionately known for a long time as ‘little Rhonda’ because many founder members of the clubs were Welsh miners. They were part of one of many waves of migrant workers to come to Coventry, a city that was constantly attracting workers from across the British Isles as well as from abroad to its many industries. The Welsh men brought not only their mining skills to the local mines on the outskirts of the city but also their enthusiasm for club life.
An interesting anecdote from the Club Journal (September 1986, p.16) is told about a local lad, Jimmy Cooke, who went on to become a very prominent clubman in the shire region and served for decades on the CIU National Executive. When a small lad, he asked his mother what was being built over the way and she replied, ‘a Club for the taffies from the Dales.’ This was to become Hen Lane which gained a reputation for serving the community across the decades.
In 1981, for example, when industrial decline was hitting hard in Coventry, Hen Lane held an exhibition of children’s work in the club and ran a course on rights for senior citizens. In 1983, they held a series of ‘education shops’, including activities involving the local schools around the club. It was a well-documented fact among sociologists and educationalists than many working class parents were less than keen to visit schools to discuss their children’s progress. Parent’s Evenings just didn’t attract them, some even expressing fear of meeting teachers, this fear stretching back to their own experience of school. Hen Lane’s committee decided that it could be a good idea to bring the teachers to the club where it was the parents who were on ‘home territory’. They seemed to find it much easier to talk at the club about their children’s education.
Hen Lane was also very keen on providing a wide range of services for their members such as ladies keep fit class, typing lessons and sewing classes. These activities were frequently documented in the local press as well as in the Club Journal.
Today, it has a membership of around 1,700 and attracts local people for games, bingo, friendly conversation and other activities.
©2008/14 - Club Historians