Trimdon Labour Club, County Durham

Last Orders at Trimdon

Not even a close association with former Labour Party leader and PM, Tony Blair, could save Trimdon Labour Club in County Durham.  Last orders have been called, in July this year, for the final time.  

Trimdon had appeared on the television numerous times, especially during election counts, but custom has been dwindling for some time as with many other clubs up and down the country.  They could not compete with cheap supermarket beer and recent budget increases, which negatively affect all clubs.  The final blow was the death of a much loved volunteer, Rita Welsh, who for 14 years had done the books for the club as unpaid treasurer.  There was no-one to replace her and her skills and the club were all deeply saddened by her death. 

Rita’s great contribution to the club is typical of many others who offer their services for free and we can remember that clubs were built on the voluntary spirit.  Very few jobs were paid.  We would like to honour Rita Welsh here as well as say goodbye to this great club with a long history. 

It dates back to 1919 when Trimdon was a thriving mining village, a key industry in the North East.  Just a single barrel of beer in a farm cottage was all the club founders had to keep the thirsty miners happy but they developed from there, going on to fame with the rise of Tony Blair as head of New Labour. 

He took visiting heads of state for a pint in there and famously once took a call from Bill Clinton in the club. 

I’m sure even Bill would be upset to hear of its loss. 

Club secretary Paul Trippet said that at least the club had managed to pay off all its debt before closing, which is something others find hard to do.  He signalled the pride felt by the club members that, even though closing, they are going with dignity. 

As we say goodbye to yet another club, we have to wonder, when will the closures end?  Is no club secure anymore?

Ruth Cherrington
Aug.  5th 2010



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