Between the years 1909 and 1924 a flourishing social club existed in Winthorpe, during the winter months.
The minutes recording their activities reveal an absorbing account, which is in many ways also a social history of the period.
Central to the success of the club was the use of the Village Hall as a games and reading room on four or five nights a week (not weekends). Whilst it seems clear that club nights was a male preserve for the men of Winthorpe, Langford and Holme, the ladies support and effort was carefully courted particularly when it came to special fund-raising events. These took the form of whist drives, concerts and dances and were in themselves important in the life of the community before the days of wireless let alone television.
It is evident that almost all parishioners were keenly interested, and involved each in his or her own particular way, to ensure the well being of what was obviously regarded as an institution. Much of the reading matter - periodicals, magazines and newspapers - were supplied free of cost by those who could afford to do so on a regular basis, although the club bought some. The same residents inevitably were called on to provide prizes for whist drives and other help when specifically needed.
Duties for a particular evening seemed to be allocated on a rota basis.
Rule II reads "That the caretaker have the fire lighted at 5.30 pm each evening and that the gentleman in charge see that the lamps are all alight at 6.25, and that when closing down for the night the lamps be lifted down, and placed on the sideboard ready for trimming etc."
If the use of the Village Hall was central to operation, it follows that the private owner of the building at that time exercised an all important influence. Capt. W. J. Need who incidentally also owned Winthorpe Hall allowed a generous arrangement to benefit all members. As owner and President he permitted all use of the premises for whatever reason to be at the discretion of the committee. In effect they constituted a committee of management for the building as well as the club, and monies for lettings outside of club activities made a useful contribution to the income in the accounts. In return the club paid to Capt. Need only a very small nominal rent.
Only two instances are recorded of measures against practices deemed to be objectionable. At the 1910 annual general meeting, the Rector proposed that a "censure committee" should be established to deal with light literature, which may be on the tables. The mind boggles what this was all about.
The annual general meeting of 1922, however, was perhaps the most eventful. Apparently everything proceeded normally until the election of officers was reached. As usual Capt. Need was quickly proposed as President again. The record then goes on to say that Capt. Need in accepting election drew attention to the fact that last winter a certain amount of gambling had taken place (there was in fact a rule against it) and said that in the event of this happening again his permission to use the room as a club would be withdrawn. The reaction to this threat appears to have been immediate none of those present being willing to take on the duties of the officials still to be elected. The President, who of course was also Chairman, faced with what amounted to a mass protest promptly closed the meeting.
Exactly one week later a further general meeting was held. Faithfully the minutes of the previous meeting one-week earlier were read and passed as a true record, and all officers were then elected. The cooling off period of one week seemed to have worked wonders.
Perhaps the heyday of the club was the period between 1909 -1916. At that point activities seemed to have ceased due to the Great War, and one gets the impression that in 1919 the Winthorpe Social Club was not to fill the same niche in the village as previously.
The winding up general meeting on 14 October 1924 states simply that the minutes of the last general meeting were read and accepted, balance sheet adopted, and "Capt. Need announced that the club would be closed owing to lack of attendance."
A proposition that Capt. Need take over what coal was left, and balance of money be put in the bank, seems to be all that was decided relative to disposal of assets.
Extract from Focal Point.
Further readings can be found in
The Village Hall in Volume 2.
The Story of the Church that moved in Volume 3.