bradpole-social-clubThe Bradpole Social Club was established in 1886

Tucked away behind Holy Trinity Church in Bradpole, a popular social club and night spot has just notched up 125 years of uninterrupted service to the community in 2011 and now, in 2012, goes on to celebrate 40 years in its “new” clubhouse, completed in 1972.  Today, this club, Bradpole Social Club (BSC) still wholly owned by its members, is one of the oldest surviving clubs of its kind in England and whilst the membership is justifiably proud of this long history, neither they nor the Club live in the past.

Always run by a Committee of volunteers, BSC has survived through the Boer War, two World Wars and has seen the images of two queens and four kings hung on its walls.

Originally formed as Bradpole Liberal Working Men’s Club following William Gladstone’s (then Prime Minister) formation of the National Liberal Club in London in 1882, BSC was one of many such clubs established around the country in the years that followed.  Many working men identified with the Liberal Party in those days and the ideal that led to the formation of clubs was one of mutual self-help.

Timeline

August 1886

Inaugural  meeting of interested persons held at the home of Mr James O’Hagan, Middle Street, Bradpole.

Mr S C Chard told the meeting he was willing to let a house at St Andrew’s Well.

September 1886

Bradpole Liberal Working Men’s Club officially in existence.  Mr H S Suttil (Pymore) elected President, Mr W G Forsey, Treasurer and Mr James O’Hagan Secretary.

November 1886

Proposed and accepted to allow boys aged 11 to 15 to use the reading room only.

July 1887

The members decided to erect a dedicated clubhouse, still in the St Andrew’s Well area.

December 1888

Members decided to build a new and bigger clubhouse at 276 St Andrew’s Road next to what became White’s Garage.

1943

Club premises given over to American troops then in Dorset in preparation for the D-Day landings.

November 1955

The word “Liberal” dropped and Club known as simply Bradpole Working Men’s Club.

June 1971

Clubhouse demolished to allow road widening.  Part of the land still stands vacant on the north side of White’s Garage.  The Club had already put in hand a “new” clubhouse in Higher Street, Bradpole, fully opened in early 1972.  It was built in six months by Club members so the tradition of “mutual self-help” was alive and well.

November 1981

Extension to clubhouse added, providing extra space for a new bar and seating.

September 1986

Centenary celebrations held.

September 1995

Ladies welcomed to full membership under then President, Alan Nicholls and name shortened to Bradpole Social Club.

2007

Further extension to skittle alley opened.

2010

Clubhouse infrastructure updated with new toilets, rewiring and complete redecoration.

Today’s clubhouse and car park, boasts a convivial bar, serving refreshments and snacks and ample space for entertainment and games.  One of the principles is to keep prices below the norm and always better than “competitive”.

Indoor Sports

The following “indoor sports” are catered for and well supported:

  • Skittles on our new and extended Canadian maple wood alley, enjoyed by club teams and other local teams
  • Table skittles on three tables if required.  Teams from Bridport and Beaminster leagues play regularly
  • Darts on three boards, used extensively in winter and summer
  • A championship size pool table
  • BSC’s large wall mounted flat screen television is the centrepiece for important sports events and these are often held in conjunction with a tasty barbeque.

Friends of BSC

The Friends of BSC (formed by members) runs a “50 Club” lottery, with a monthly draw and cash prizes up to £50.  The surplus goes towards monthly live entertainment, providing members and guests with a chance to get down and boogie.  Groups such as the very popular One Night Stand, tribute bands and solo performers like, Heath Ashton, who was GMTV’s winner of the “Search for Elvis” competition, star on these very popular evenings.  Family discos are often booked for weddings, birthdays, engagements, etc and our Snail Racing event is an absolute riot of fun and excitement (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it).

The Club is also proud that in line with the 19th century benevolence of its founders, it is still very active in supporting local charities.  In 2011 for instance, BSC raised £2,252 for Clic Sargent.

Prize Bingo

Last but not least, “Prize Bingo” once a month on a Saturday evening with full house prizes being fresh joints of meat (beef, lamb, pork, etc) sourced from our local butcher.

So here we are, now 126 years later, with a friendly, fun and forward looking club which continues to keep up with the times.  New members over 18 are always more than welcome.  The low annual subscriptions will be recouped after a few drinks from the bar (your favourite tipple won’t be found cheaper locally) and the facilities, atmosphere, games, etc make a night out in Bradpole something really special for families, groups of friends and individuals alike.  As we say, we offer much more than a pint or three!

  • Tony MATTHEWS
  • Tony FRICKER
  • James GOFF
  • Robert WHEATLEY
  • (with thanks to Ivan ANDREWS of Bradpole)

1886 EVENTS

The mind boggles to think 126 years ahead (i.e. to 2138!) but here’s what happened the year BSC was founded.

  • 49th year of Queen Victoria’s reign (her Jubilee was a year later)
  • Prime Ministers were Lord Salisbury (Robert Cecil) and William Ewart Gladstone
  • Bridport Football Club played its maiden game in Dorchester on 6th February losing 5 – 1 (nothing changes).  The team probably went by train?
  • 10th March – 1st Crufts Dog Show
  • 4th April – Gladstone introduces first Irish Home Rule Bill (thrown out 8th June precipitating the second general election that year)
  • 1st September – Severn Railway Tunnel opens
  • 9th September – Southport Lifeboat capsizes with only two survivors from the crew of 16
  • Arsenal Football Club founded
  • Plymouth Argyle Football Club founded
  • The rules of field hockey are codified
  • Scotch Whiskey distiller William Grant and Sons founded
  • Thomas Hardy publishes the Mayor of Casterbridge
  • Robert Louis Stevenson publishes Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Kidnapped 
  • George Mallory born.  In 1924 he died on Mount Everest and his body was found 75 years later in 1999
  • Working men formed a Liberal Working Men’s Club in the village of Bradpole.  Probably safe to say nothing much else happened in Bradpole that year!  Ruth Cherrington who is a noted authority on Working Men’s clubs (BBC One Show etc) believes that BSC could be the oldest surviving club of its kind in the country and she is researching this further as this is written.

Membership

Applications for Membership (always more than welcome) should be made directly to the Club.  Please just ask for an application form at the bar. Opening times are 7:30 to late Monday to Saturday and !2:00 noon to 3:00pm Sundays

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