Kids in clubs

Kids in Clubs- Remembering childhood experiences

Some of our readers remember being taken to clubs as children, with many happy memories although some times the club experience was a bit overwhelming! 

Marie B.  from Coventry wrote in and told us:

I have vivid memories of going to social clubs in the 1970's.  Mum and dad would take us to the Whitley Social Club (Coventry) occasionally, where my Granddad would be playing drums (free and easy) on a regular basis.  I remember watching mum and dad play bingo (we were not allowed to!) and particularly mum's partiality for Barley Wine!  It used to get really smoky in there (everyone smoked as I recall) and me and my sister would plead to go home as there were tears streaming down our faces - needlessly to say, we always stayed until the end.  My uncle was also the treasurer for many years but with hindsight I think this just gave him an excuse to go out every evening.
We sometimes went to the Royal Warwicks Club (Tower Street) as well, as my uncle had served with them during WW2 and I definitely remember singing  'She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes' at about the age of 5 or 6.  Really embarrassed my parents too as I knew the verse 'She'll be drinking gin and tonic when she comes'!
Sadly, the Whitley Social club is no longer there as it was demolished about 5 years ago to make way for more housing.  It's a shame really as it definitely gave the area a community feel and everyone seemed to know everyone. 

Thanks for these memories Marie!  I also remember the smoke as a major downside of the Club experience.  Some nights were worse than others.  It did seem like every adult smoked, almost continually.  Of course now there is the smoking ban this wouldn’t happen but many clubs would have liked a say in that, and to have provided one room in the clubs just for smokers,  where children wouldn’t be allowed. 

Another reader from Coventry, my own estate (Canley) wrote in and shared happy memories.  Morag remembers all the activities provided by the Canley Social Club for children which kept us all busy during school holidays. 

During the Summer holidays the main hall was allocated to Doreen Godson (who used to run Playtime during the school holidays at Prior Deram Community Centre) for her to hold talent shows.  There was no ‘Britain’s got Talent’  then.  Many a time I entered and never won, but it was the taking part that counted.  (I still can’t sing to this day)!!  All the Canley kids would congregate in the main hall to take part in anticipation! 

I remember going to the Canley Club and in those days Children would be seen and you definitely were not heard when the bingo was on.  Woe betide anyone who even coughed while those numbers were being called. 

I remember the Christmas parties the club used to hold for all member’s children......  All the Mums would be there with their pinnies on to serve jelly and ice cream and a magic show was always on the agenda. 

Canley Club were very supportive in the sporting side of things.  They had football teams, netball teams (which both me and my sister played for, for many years) bowling teams, darts team and any other team you can think of.

There was always great belonging and everybody knew everybody, nothing was too much trouble and everyone helped each other out.   It’s unfortunate that the Youth of today are growing up without the heart of their Community, which the Canley kids of yesteryear had. 

I clearly remember all these events and activities as well, and I loved those Talent Competitions.  I once got up on stage and starting singing a song, then stopped half way through because I was singing the wrong song!  I started singing the other one instead… I don’t think I won either but I might have got a special consolation prize for making everyone laugh.
I am still trying to sing Morag!  Thank you for reminding me and our readers of those great times.  It is very sad that this great community centre has been lost and many kids these days simply haven’t got anywhere to go where they can take part in entertaining but structured and supervised activities, as we could. 

Ruth Cherrington
June 09




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