Saffron Lane Working Men's Club and Institute, Leicester
If you don't have access to a computer then grab someone who does and see for yourself!
Even before the old year was out, Club Historians were very saddened to hear that yet another club had come to the end of the road.
Leicester’s Saffron Lane Working Men's Club and Institute, first opened in the 1920s, has been struggling for some time as have too many others. I don't have to repeat the situation, which has been discussed on this website and in my weekly Mercury column many times. The club committee tried many ways to bring in more custom and to deal with decreasing revenue and increasing overheads. Their previous membership of 3,000 has halved in recent years. They made many efforts to keep the club going, which has been part of the local community for decades but are now in talks with the supermarket chain Lidl.
The plan, not yet approved, is to demolish the club and build a smaller one, making way for another branch of Lidl.
The memories and history of this longstanding club will remain of course but the old building lost. But this is the best hope for the club to keep going in some form or another.
Ray Wright, now 83, has been on the committee for almost 50 years. He joined after leaving the army in 1950 and has many fond memories of the club that has been, and remains, a huge part of his life. He has done much to keep it going along with other committee members but their best efforts can’t keep Saffron Lane going in its current form.
To mark this ending but also to celebrate its past, Ray’s grandson Dean has made a short video of the club. He was born in Leicester but now lives in Devon. He wanted to record what his grandfather had done for the club and some of his memories, as well as what the club has meant to generations of local families. We at club historians strongly urge you to view and share.
Ray’s stories of the once packed concert rooms and club outings will be very familiar to us all. But I really hope we don't have to see many more of these ‘end of an era’ videos because however much we need to shop, at Lidl or anywhere else, we still need our clubs. Many people probably just take their local club for granted thinking it will always be there. But if we don't use them enough- they won’t be.
We send all our best to the folk at Saffron Lane and hope that they can have a new club out of the ashes of the old one.