Obituary: John Reynolds, CIU Warwickshire Branch and National Executive Member
Club Historians were very saddened to hear about the death of a great club man, John Reynolds. He was the long term President of the CIU Warwickshire Branch, founder member of Tile Hill Social in Coventry and CIU National Executive member. Plus he was simply a ‘lovely man’, as a lady from his own club put it.
Ruth at Club Historians would agree.
‘I had the pleasure to meet him only once but he was a warm character, full of stories about clubs and club life going back to way back when. And a mine of information. Its ironic that his own club, Tile Hill Social, is also no longer with us. John will be missed by many people whose lives he touched.
I liked him immediately and promised to have a pint with him someday. Sadly, I won’t be able to do that now. It feels it is only right and proper that he is remembered here on this website which is, after all, dedicated to such people, those strong club people who had their hearts in the right place. Without the likes of John, we would never have known such wonderful clubs and times not only in Coventry but elsewhere. He was a campaigner with dedication but also that all-important sense of humour. I only met him that once, for a very interesting interview, but I shall never forget him.’
His colleague at the Warwickshire Branch of the CIU, Regan Blount, had asked John to come along that day in November 2007 saying he had been involved with Coventry club for the best part of his life. John responded saying that he had been working with clubs for:
‘48 years near enough. The first club I ever joined was the Charterhouse. (Coventry). My father was a founder member of that. I used to go up there when I was 5, back in the 1930s, that was when I used to go for the parties.’
Like many club goers, he started off because his dad was a club member and he began with the children’s Christmas parties. That is a very familiar story for many of us.
He joined when he was old enough to saying that club membership was his 21st birthday present from his father. John went on to become a very important clubman, making a reputation not only for himself but also for Coventry’s clubs.
He will be remembered for his efforts at founding Tile Hill Social in Jardine Crescent, Coventry which opened in 1962. He and other founder members had to collect money from local people to help buy the land and build the club. Once opened, it was the pride of joy of the local estate. Ask anyone from the Tile Hill area and they will respond with positive, happy memories.
As President of the Warwickshire Branch of the CIU, John travelled frequently and attended many meetings and events. He got to know and work with some very important people such as the head of the local police force who used to have a lot of respect for the clubs because they kept their own law and order in the main. John helped to retain this respectable image for Coventry clubs which was known about all over the country.
He told me that after the War, ‘clubs formed part and parcel of the social life of the city.’ They were the mainstay of the social life of many Coventry families.
John met the Queen when she visited Cox Street Club (Coventry Working Men’s Club) when she visited as part of her Jubilee Year tour. She was the first reigning monarch ever to step foot inside a working man’s club. He also met Princess Margaret, who once visited the Willenhall Club.
‘She drank Famous Grouse Whisky and had a gold cigarette case. She would rummage around in her handbag, bring out the cigarette case and then ask “does anyone have a light?” She had the official duty of inaugurating a nearby church.’
When I met John, I promised to buy him a pint sometime. Sadly, I never got the chance to that and now it’s too late. I owe you one, John! His information and sense of humour helped encourage Ruth at Club Historians to set up the website.
John passed away on February 10th 2010 in Coventry, aged 81. His passing is a loss to the club world and we promise here to keep his memory and his work alive.
Our deepest sympathy and condolences are sent to his family and many friends in the club world.
Link to Coventry Telegraph
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