Wednesday, 30 November 2016

A different world

The photograph below was taken in the Reddish Working Men’s Club in Stockport in 1977. I have copied it from a Stockport-related Facebook group and I apologise if anyone’s copyright has been infringed.

In many ways it’s a fascinating historical document that seems a world away from the present-day drinking experience. The beaten copper tables, the all-male company, the preponderance of handle glasses (and oversize ones at that), the girlie calendar and, last but certainly not least, the ashtrays.

Indeed it would be rare today to come across any social gathering where everyone was drinking beer, and the sight of pub or club tables groaning with pint glasses is increasingly rare.

24 comments:

  1. A quick look on google maps shows you there are 3 working mens clubs in Reddish. There's Reddish, Houldsworth & North Reddish. Which one?

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  2. I agree that it's interesting how much it is of a different era. The beer was probably all keg as well.

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  3. Serious question. Why would some enlightened individuals be drinking out of straight glasses; is that by choice or different beer (doesn't look like lager)

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    1. Would mild have been served in the nonics perhaps?

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    2. Unlikely - probably just customer preference.

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  4. @Cookie - it's the Reddish one on Greg Street.

    @Nev - I'd guess the beer was more likely real than not. And, if not, probably tank, not keg.

    @Martin - my recollection is that many pubs and clubs had handle glasses as standard, but would provide a straight one if asked. I never heard the term "sleeve" or "sleever" until a friend moved to Gloucestershire and I visited him there.

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  5. I don't see what's 'more enlightened' about straight glasses. The clubs around my way were (and the few that are left still are) 100% keg,

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  6. It won't be the current club then. That's been there Since '78
    http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/local-news/club-celebrates-its-150-year-history-1003022

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  7. When I were a lad handle glasses were seen as being just for old men. Now of course hipsters drink from them. Agree about the word "sleever", never heard it until I moved to the West of England. They were always "straight glasses" where I came from.

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  8. The world of 1977 is one I am glad to have left behind. Not because anything bad happened, or because I’ve unpleasant memories of that particular time; it’s just I’m happy with where I am now. Back in 1977, I would have regarded the group in the photo as a bunch of “old fogeys”; even to me now, at the age of 61, those drinkers still look old.

    I’m no fan of clubs; working man’s or otherwise, but I have to set foot in one this coming weekend for my local CAMRA Branch AGM. I shall have one eye on the clock and the other on the door, and believe me I shall be amongst the first to leave as soon as the meeting is over. Give me a proper pub, any day, and some decent mixed company.

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    1. When I look at the greatly diminished role of pubs today, the vast number of closures, and the killjoy censoriousness over alcohol that pervades all of society, I feel myself lucky that I actually experienced pubs in their heyday in the late 70s.

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    2. So do I, Mudgie. And look at the blokes' faces. Everyone is smiling and laughing and generally having a good time.

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    3. In 1977 our neighbourhood had a street party for the Queens Jubilee. I remember it was great and I enjoyed it.

      Anyone that didn't is a Britain and Queen hating Corbynista, who needs to go live in Cuba, in my view.

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    4. I would say pre-WW1 was pubs' heyday

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    5. You might, but nobody alive remembers then.

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    6. Syd Differential1 December 2016 at 16:18

      I'm lucky to have a missus who thinks pubs should be primarily although not exclusively for men.
      She would never dream of joining me for an early evening session when it's generally fellers winding down after a hard day's graft." Off you go " she says " and don't drink so much you can't eat your tea. "
      Likewise she knows Saturdays are out of the question because Saturdays are for sport.Always have been.
      Sunday is her day for drinking.And I keep up my end of the bargain by cooking a big roast dinner.After I've had my lunchtime session.
      Old-fashioned we are.

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  9. With regards to "sleeves", for what it's worth on this side of the pond (Canada) where I live (BC) it's in the governments regulations on liquor.

    http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/lclb/docs-forms/guide-liquor-primary.pdf

    Do a Ctrl-F for "sleeve"; it's found twice in the over bloated PDF - pages 20 and 40.

    Cheers

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  10. I'm surprised the more leftie beer enthusiasts don't have more of an interest in the working mans club movement. What I have read is a fascinating piece of social history. A social history where working class people are not victims of oppression but architects of an improvement in their own circumstances. The clubs being much more than private pubs and places to drink and serving many more functions.

    It is easy to see how society has changed and in many places they have no relevance to today. In the same way that churches, pubs and post offices are no longer significant parts of the local community.

    In the places they hang on they are by and large nice places to sit and have a drink and if you like your darts and snooker they beat most pubs into a cocked hat.

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    1. And indeed the clubs breweries. But modern-day Lefties don't much like the idea of working-class self-help, preferring instead to see them as helpless victims of oppression. And they'd run a mile if expected to mix with actual real-life working-class people.

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    2. Agreed. Totally.

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    3. Really 'Mudge. Most of the working class wot I mix with would help themselves to anything that wasn't nailed down

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  11. As a proud Socialist - who doesn't actually mind the Queen - I am Secretary of Buxworth WMC. It is very much a community establishment hosting things like sports days, bonfires, barbecues. We are passionate about good beer and good whiskey and mage to undercut most of the nearby pubs. I think that establishments like ours, with their dedicated locals, are far closer to 'Mudges ideal of a pub than are many of the modern food led pubs.

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  12. As a Southerner I’ve wanted to raise this point for some time. When I started going to pubs in 1978 it seemed all jugs, normally dimpled. Noniks then became popular. They were cheap, fitted easily into glass-washers, didn’t get stolen and empties were easier to collect without getting stuck together as other straight glasses might. But, I thought that traditional straight glasses were preferred in the North.
    Two other points. As a student in Southampton at that time I only came across one pub using electric dispense; all the rest, and union and hall bars, used hand-pumps. And I had not seen oversize glasses either. Oh, and what about sparklers?

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    1. Some Gales pubs in Hampshire and Surrey used electric pumps and oversize glasses, but apart from that they were virtually unknown south of a line roughly from Worcester to Leicester.

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