2 July 2013

A Right Royal P**s Up!

Visit to Park Royal Brewery by Club Stewards
Fellow blogger and local history nutcase Brownhills Bob has written about the history of Clubs in this area and now it's my turn to hand something over to anyone with a long memory in the local area.

Many of us have fond memories of clubs in the area from Labour Clubs to Working Men's Clubs to British Legion Clubs and even Conservative Clubs. My club memories are confined to the Aldridge Labour Club now consigned to history, it's former premises now occupied by a Tesco store. My main memories surround Christmas parties and the Monday night disco, which ended every week with the same smoochie, 'Lonely Girl' by Eddie Holman.

My Dad was secretary at the club in Paddock Lane for more years than he cares to remember. One of my abiding memories of him when I was a young child was of him lying on the mat in front of the open coal fire in the living room with all the account books spread out in front of him, one pencil in hand and another red pencil tucked behind his ear, adding machine to his right and the constant sshhh's from him as he added up figures, made entries and then checked and re-checked with the machine. On occasion it became a 3 person event when figures just wouldn't tally, with me and Mom reading out the numbers whilst he input them on the machine.

It was a place of significant events for Dad as he met my Mom there on 23 April 1957 when she was singing on stage during an open mic event. They married just three months later.

I was attempting to locate Dad's passport a few weeks ago when I came across this photograph. pasted on a presentation card it says 'Visit to Park Royal Brewery - Club Stewards - Brownhills, Pelsall, Rushall and Aldridge September 8th 1955'. Dad remembers the day well although he doesn't remember the names of the people in the photograph! He was walking to work at 6 am on September 8th 1955 when he was called over to the Labour Club in Paddock Lane and asked if he fancied a trip to Park Royal Brewery in London. Never one to miss a free drink, Dad abandoned plans for work that day and he and all these other smiling faces boarded a 'chara' for London.

They enjoyed a tour of the brewery and then a slap up lunch, followed by sampling of the breweries wares. He said he didn't remember the trip home because he was very drunk, along with everyone else.

I presume that the trip was at the invitation of the brewery in order to create some goodwill for future orders from the clubs of Brownhills, Pelsall, Rushall and Aldridge. I'm not sure what clubs were represented but apart from Aldridge Labour Club, Dad thinks there were representatives from Rushall and Walsall Wood  Labour Clubs.

My Dad is on the back row, right hand side, young, handsome and with a large quiff! Apart from one or two exceptions, the smartly dressed men look very happy! Is anyone able to add anything to the memories of this day trip and also some names of the men who went and the clubs they represented?

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