Thursday, 10 October 2013
Hyde Lads Club
On display for the Heritage Open Day at St Thomas the Apostle were some memorabilia collected by Harold Greenhalgh, Honorary Secretary (1972-92) of Hyde Lads Club.
The club was founded in 1928 by the then Chief Constable of Hyde, J W Danby. The club first started in Hyde Town Hall in a room over the adjoining Police Station yard but quickly moved into Water Street Sunday School. A public appeal for funds allowed Mr Danby to purchase the premises on Beeley Street which had previously been the local Police Station and Courthouse. A plaque outside the club commemorated the fact that Judge Thomas Hughes, author of Tom Brown's Schooldays used to preside there as a Circuit Judge.
The club was officially opened in 1930 by the HRH The Duke of Gloucester. Catering for boys from the ages of 13 to 21, it contained a large gymnasium used for gymnastics, boxing, five-a-side football and basketball, a snooker room with three tables and a canteen area on the ground floor. On the first floor was an assembly room used for table tennis, a smaller table tennis room, a library where chess and board games were played, a darts room and two small rooms used for hobby activities such as photography and leather work. Located at the rear of the club over a garage which had once been used as the town's mortuary was a woodwork room.
At its peak the club, a voluntary organisation, ran four football teams, a gymnastic team which gave displays throughout the area, a boxing section, a champion winning table tennis team and a "Black & White Minstrel Troop" who travelled around local towns giving shows. In later year girls were allowed to join a judo section with some members taking part in international competitions.
In 1992 the building was declared electrically unsafe and with no funds available for the necessary repair it was forced to close and was demolished.
Only the signage and plaque to Thomas Hughes were saved and are on display in Beeley Street car park as can be seen on Hyde Daily Photo.