Social Club

Sunniside Social Club, Newcastle upon Tyne

Sunniside Social Club
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE16 5NA 

Sunniside Working Mens Club c1918-20

Pringle Appleby (1831-91), came from Meldon c1859 to start a Market Garden, on one and a quarter Sunniside - The Old Clubacres of land, near where Sunniside Social Club now stands.  Known as Appleby Gardens, he built a two roomed stone cottage, known for a time as Rose Cottage, close to the road.  The cottage eventually became vacant and almost derelict.  A group of local men decided to turn it into a little meeting place and arranged the delivery of a barrel of beer with the equipment to dispense the product.  It proved to be spectacularly popular and became known as ‘The Club’. 

The Working Men’s Club movement was beginning to take off throughout Northumberland and Durham, so much so that in 1919 the decision was taken by a group of men (predominantly Coal Miners), meeting at a Prudhoe Club, to buy their own Brewery and supply the ever increasing number of Clubs.  The reason for that far reaching decision, was because the private Brewers had become alarmed at the small Clubs springing up and taking away the customers from their own ‘tied pubs’, so they stopped supplying the Clubs.  As a result The Northern Clubs Federation Brewery was born and in partnership with the Working Men’s Clubs, would reign supreme for the remainder of the 20th century

The tiny Sunniside Club based in Rose Cottage was a major success story, soon their membership grew out of proportion to the premises so a decision was taken to build a new Club adjacent to Rose Cottage.  In 1918 the new Club was built (pictured above with Steward Jack Creitch) and Rose Cottage was vacated, to be occupied later by the Club Steward Ernie Robinson.  Throughout the years of WW1 the Club struggled financially, most of the young men were in the Armed Forces.  Indeed the Club was so hard up, that on 20th August 1919 Mr Robert Brabban a local business man, loaned it £30 to help it survive.  The Club then had to struggle on through the depression of the 1920’s and began to fall into a state of disrepair.  By the end of WW2 after a further period of financial struggle, the Club was in a completely dilapidated state.  Undaunted, the local men came back from the Armed Forces and set to work to repair the damage. 

Its trading position began to improve and once more membership began to increase.  Rose Cottage was demolished in 1960 to allow the Club to expand.  Ernie Robinson the Club Steward, moved with his wife Mary from Rose Cottage, into a new house ‘Rose Villa’, in Holywell Lane, built purposely, as the Steward's house.

Sunniside Social Club was originally named Sunniside Working Mens Club, but the name was changed to reflect the fact that women were also members.  The Club has been at the centre of Sunniside - Foundersvillage life for decades, not just Sunniside but the surrounding villages.  From its humble beginning it has evolved into arguably the best Club in the Region.  It is comfortable, beautifully furnished and very well managed by a group of dedicated local men, known collectively as ‘The Club Committee’.  That title tends to trivialise their role, Sunniside Club is a business, with employees and overheads and has to be managed by a Management Board, no different to the Board of Directors managing any business.
Pictured in 1965 were the surviving Founder Members of the Club: Left to Right: Joe Best, Tommy Heron, Stan Hall CIU.  Syd Lavers Chairman Federation Brewery, Bill Liddle Club Secretary (not a founder member), Bob Simpson, Roger Henderson, Sam Treglown, Sammy Prinn, Joe Lumsdon and Victor Dillon Club Chairman (not a founder member).

Other Founder members of Sunniside Social Club were Tom Coulson a Teacher at Marley Hill Board School, Bill Graham of Old Sunniside, a Cartman at Andrews House Pit, Tom Anderson of Moss Cottage Streetgate and Hamilton Harm of Hole Lane. 

The successful Club must have a good Steward and Stewardess, Sunniside Club has always had the best : Bill Creitch, Ernie and Mary Robinson, Alan and Jean Gleghorn, Alan and Carol Gowland and currently the Clubs first female Steward, Pauline Orwin.  Mention must also be made of the dedicated members of staff, many of whom have served the Club and members for many years, not just women but men too.


Pictured above the concert room bar and facilities

The Sunniside and District Local History Society is also a major success story since its conception in March 1992.  From that date we have been allowed to use the wonderful facilities of Sunniside Club as our meeting venue and enjoy the support of the Management Board.  We also hold there our annual Christmas Party, Pie & Pea Supper and have held three very successful Book Launches.  There is no doubt whatsoever, that the luxurious venue has played a major part in our success and as an organisation we are most grateful.
Sunniside New Club

The Current Club Management Committee are:

Chairman Mr Douglas Skeen, Secretary Mr A.T.  Forster, Treasurer Mr T Priestley,
Messrs.  A Andrew, J Eager, L Goodheart, D Jewers, R Kane, J Tench

Over the years members of the Committee have gained CIU Long Service Awards:

40 years: Thomas Croft Bell 1959 - 2000
40 years: Harold Atkinson 1960 - 2000
40 years: William H Liddle 1960 - 2000
25 years: F G Newman Snr.  1952 - 1977
25 years: V Dillon 1952 - 1977
25 years: T C Bell 1959 - 1984
25 years: T Heron 1959 - 1984
25 years: H Atkinson 1960 - 1985
25 years: W Liddle 1960 - 1985
25 years: A Crossling 1972 - 1997

27 members have received 10 years service awards.

Following the refurbishment of the Bar the Sunniside Local History Society presented the Club with a framed 50 years old Club price list.  Pictured above receiving it on behalf of the Club is Committee Member Jim Eager on the left and Club Secretary Tony Forster on the right.

Sunniside Federation Brewery

Sadly in two stages during May and July 2004, the Federation Brewery (pictured above) was taken over by Scottish Courage (Newcastle Breweries).  Contributing factors were the closure of the coal mining and other industries which broke up our communities and the apparent lack of interest by many of today’s young people in the Club movement.  Some Clubs have not survived, others did not stay loyal to the Clubs Brewery.  The dreadful loss of trade meant that the Federation could not survive, it appeared that the only way to save many of the employee’s jobs was to sell out, a sad time indeed.

The demise of the Federation Brewery does not mean the demise of the Club Movement.  Many continue to thrive and serve their community, to the forefront of those is our own Sunniside Social Club.
Sunniside Club Team

Sunniside Social Club AFC 1936, pictured outside Sunniside Club.

Top Row: G Hands, H Pyle, B Lacey.

Middle Row: Unknown, J Wilkinson, Unknown, T Casson, H Harm, J Morton, H Wilkinson, P Mitchell, G Wallace, P King, Wm.  Prinn, A Wallace, Club Steward.

Front Row: ? Morton, ? Harm, H Purvis, B English, S Hands, Unknown, H Potter,, G Blackmore, A Bainbridge.
The above has been reproduced by the kind permission of Francis Newman courtesy of Sunniside Local History Society.
The club also has it’s own website - Sunniside Social
The missing banner - click here


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