Holbeck WMC

Holbeck WMC

Holbeck Working Men's Club, Leeds

There is a well-established WMC in Leeds, probably its oldest, that needs our support. The Holbeck WMC was established in 1877, so counts also as one of the country’s oldest. 

It is situated in an area that now experiences relatively high levels of social deprivation, and with crime also a concern, it might appear as a difficult place to live. But it’s home to many people and the club is a central part of Holbeck life for them.  Sadly, as with hundreds of other clubs, it is struggling. 

Holbeck WMC

But the committee and members are not letting their club slip into closure without putting up a good fight!

They have impressed Club Historians with their Save the Holbeck campaign and we support them in their efforts.  The club has featured in the local press over the past few months, also on BBC radio in May 2013 when committee members explained what a loss closure would meanto the community.  It would be solitary confinement at home for many older people who socialize at the Holbeck. 

They know they need to bring in younger people to ensure a future.  On Saturday June 1st, they ran a family fun day from noon till 11pm.  It was intended to attract local people and to help recruit new members but also as a day for existing members to enjoy themselves.  There were activities for all ages both in the car park area and inside the club: inflatables, a BBQ, face-painting etc.  Later in the evening there was a concert, disco and bingo and all were attended- they are now working hard to keep this momentum going. 

June 28th saw a BBQ being held there with an open invite to come along and enjoy the activities as well as the food!

Holbeck WMC

Committee members and bar staff are offering their time for free and this do-it-yourself attitude dates back to the early days of clubs when the founder members set up clubs with their own time and money.  During these times of austerity, many social institutions have to survive through voluntary work, such as local libraries.  It would be good if the Holbeck, and other struggling clubs, could return to making a profit in order to a gain a more secure financial future. 

We wish them good luck and hope they survive and thrive.  It would a tragedy to lose another old club not just because of its history but also because of the future.  Clearly this club has much to offer with their community focus.  Holbeck WMC is on Facebook and Twitter and are using social media to good effect, which is something Club Historians always advises clubs to do. 

They have a nice concert room available for private hire for weddings, functions, parties etc., and are keen to promote that as it will bring in more revenue.  It seats 300 people. 

Holbeck WMC - Concert Room

They are also trying to promote the use of concert room for live bands.  They can’t afford to pay them but it would be a great opportunity for up and coming bands who want to get some promotion and exposure! The committee will promote any such events for them on Twitter and Facebook. 

Pop in the club if you are in the Leeds area or visit their website to find out what is going on there!
Twitter- @holbeckwmc

A big thank you to Amanda Griffin at the Holbeck for information, photos and her hard work along with the rest of the committee. 

Ruth Cherrington


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