End of an era as club closes after 62 years
12:00pm Fri Apr 22, 2016
 
Secretary George Lambert outside Staythorpe Electricity Sports and Social Club.
Secretary George Lambert outside Staythorpe Electricity Sports and Social Club.
The fixtures and fittings of a social club that in its heyday boasted more than 750 members will go under the auctioneer’s hammer on Saturday following its closure.
Peter Reeves, pictured inside the club, will be going to the auction.
Peter Reeves, pictured inside the club, will be going to the auction.
The Staythorpe Electricity Sports and Social Club on Kings Road, Newark, called time officially on Saturday of last week and will surrender its lease on the building from the East Midlands Unitarian Church.

Long-time secretary Mr George Lambert said many of the 240 members did not go into the club anymore.

“It’s a sad day for clubs in the area. Balderton Working Men’s Club also went recently,” he said.

“The function room is probably still one of the best, if not the best, in the area.

“It’s a sad loss. A lot of people have used the club for birthday parties, engagements, weddings and the occasional wake.”

The club opened in May 1954 on a 25-year lease, shortly after Staythorpe A Power Station began generating electricity for the National Grid in 1950.

Staythorpe B Power Station was then built and began production in 1960.

At that time the club had 750 to 800 members, who were able to watch some of the country’s big name acts — such as Paper Lace, when they were number one in the charts, and Brian Poole and the Tremeloes — or use sports facilities on the power station site.

Mr Lambert, who worked for ten years in the electricity supply industry, said: “Most people who worked there were members as they paid a subscription in their pay.

“It was one of those arrangements where the employee contributes and the employer contributes more.”

The power station took out a further 20-year lease on the club’s premises in 1979, but in 1994 the power station shut down.

Mr Lambert, who said the move followed the closure of many pits, climate-change initiatives and a drive away from reliance on fossil fuels, added: “From that point the membership began to dwindle.

“A lot of members lived in Southwell, Farnsfield and Nottingham, and without their jobs they had no cause to come and use the club. The sports facilities were also gone.”

Another 20-year lease was taken out on the premises in 1999, but the club was hit by the smoking ban in licensed premises and lower prices of alcohol in supermarkets.

A new £660m gas-fired power station was built on the Staythorpe site and started production in December 2010.

However, Mr Lambert said little interest was shown in the club and the takings failed to meet costs once met wholly by the power station.

“The heating alone was quite a lot of money,” said Mr Lambert.

“It has been quite an achievement to keep going for so long since the power station closed.

“We still had the occasional function on a Saturday night but you can’t run a club on just one night a week.

“I always said that if the government had put 5p or 10p on the price of a can (of beer) in the supermarkets and knocked the same amount off the price at the pumps, that would have made a difference.

“Now everything is up for auction and the money will go into club funds. I don’t know what we will do in the future.”

  • p Saturday’s sale will be conducted by Northgate Auction Rooms at the Staythorpe club, from 11am.

    The lots include tables, chairs, bar fittings, disco and games equipment, a full-size snooker table, fridges, an ice-maker, hi-fi, TV, glasses and crockery, and an oil painting of Staythorpe B Power Station by S. Hollingworth.

    The club will open tomorrow night for its members to get together for a final time to mark the closure.




    "A sad day"



    Sports and social club chairman Mr Peter Reeves was 18 when he first walked through its doors in 1962.

    He worked as a coal sampler at the power station and was one of the last employees to leave.

    “I will be going to the auction and it will be a sad day,” he said.

    “In the past, if ever we wanted something done we would ring the power station and they would send someone down.

    “We even had subsidised electricity bills.

    “Electricity was a nationalised industry, but when Maggie Thatcher closed the pits it was always going to be next.

    “Once the industry was privatised we just became a working men’s club and had to foot every bill ourselves.”

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