Club Historians - Working Men's Clubs
Welcome to Club Historians - dedicated to the working men's club movement

Ruth Cherrington Hello!  Thanks for popping into our unique and popular Club Historians website.  My name is Ruth Cherrington, author of Not Just Beer and Bingo!  A Social History of Working Men’s Clubs, (Authorhouse, 2012)

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of enjoying visits with my family to our local working men’s club, the Canley Social, in Coventry.  It was just across the street and was almost like an extension of our living room. 

The club was at the centre of our social life and as I grew up, I came to understand what a huge role such clubs played in the life of local communities: they were always about very much more than beer and bingo!

I was saddened when our club started to go into decline along with many others up and down the country, from the late 1970s onwards.  Their demise set me off on a journey to find out more about the history of working men’s clubs and their valuable social and community roles.  I strongly believed that looking at their history could provide a key to ensuring that they have a future. I wanted to document as many club stories and experiences as possible before too many more clubs shut their doors for the final time. 

There is a great wealth of fascinating and important information out there from those who know clubs best- their members!  But sadly, many of the older generation of club goers, such as my own parents, are no longer with us.  They had stories to tell.  Many clubs have also been lost but it’s not too late to document what they provided for young and old alike in their post-war heyday. 

This website is a result of my journey of discovery and desire to write as much as possible about clubs, past and present, and to let people tell their own stories.  This is still very much a work in progress!  My book is also a result of this desire to tell the world about what clubs do for their members, what they provide for them on a daily basis, what they mean to them. 

By detailing the complete story of clubs, from the mid- 19th century till the present day, more people might take notice and feel like joining their local club, mucking in with activities and events and keeping the club community spirit alive and well.  More people might learn about the Club and institute Union (CIU) and their efforts to keep clubs together as a movement.  All of this increased attention just might help to keep the doors of local clubs open.  

Clubs have a vibrant past- let’s ensure they have a lively and promising future!


If you have any interesting memories about your club then we’d be very happy for you to contact us.


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What is the Ideal gift for Club Goers?

What one reader says: I went out and bought the book. My opinion? .... it is fantastic! The factual history combined with the nostalgia makes superb reading. This book is well overdue and is a worthwhile trip down memory lane for people like us who were brought up in a club environment.

A signed copy of  ‘Not Just Beer and Bingo! A Social History of Working Men’s Clubs’, of course!

This is now available to purchase through this website. Only 12.50 per copy plus 1.50 p&p.

Use the contact form to request a copy and Ruth will get back to you.

Also available through Amazon.

New York Times

A mention in The New York Times - Britain’s Working Men’s Clubs Succumb to Modern Life 

Click here to read the article printed in April 2014.

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  Extract from the CIU Club Journal of October 2012

The launch of 'Not Just Beer & Bingo'
and make money for their club

Anyone who enjoyed Dr Ruth Cherrington's short history of the CIU in Club Journal's 150th anniversary issue in June will enjoy the fuller version that she has turned into this book.

Ruth, a former lecturer at the University of Warwick, runs the Club Historians website and has become the country's leading expert on clubs; you don't need to read many pages to realise the enormous knowledge and research that has gone into this book — or to see the passion for the clubs held by the author as she progresses through the ages..   

Her book charts the course of the CIU and its clubs from Henry Solly‘s initial visions through 150 years of the clubs’ world as they battled to establish themselves.  It relives the magnificence of the 1960s, and 1970s when many of our TV talents learned their trade and the clubs hit boom time and then the sad decline as closures became commonplace.

I would seriously suggest that all club secretaries purchase a copy and perhaps "rent it out|" to club members at 1 per time to read and  and enjoy and support your club!  After all, who knows what you might find out about your club?   Phil Johnson, Saffron Lane WMC, Leicester

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