Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Yes the Unity was the United Service Club?

Where abouts in Haslingden was the United Service Club?

Thanks to Jackie Ramsbottom and her press cuttings click here to check out  or click here for more  or click here for even more. We now know that the Club was definately on Lower Lane, although when previously it had been a pub the address was still given as Communion Street. And also thanks to John Bedford for some earlier notes about when his great great grandmother (Alice Riley) was the landlady of the same building which was then the "Staff Of Life" pub.

So we have now established that the United Service Club was on Lower Lane, Haslingden (in 1912) and previous to that the Club used to be called the National Reserve Club.  It was a Club were War veterans met and talked over their war experiences.  The objects of the Club according to the rules is to assist in raising and organizing the National Reserve.

Reading the interesting newspaper cuttings, it seems the Club landed itself in trouble and its Secretary at that time was forced to attend a hearing of the Court and the result was taking away the licence from the Club.

Showing the Old Unity Club during demolition of part of Top Of the Town (photo: donated by John Bedford)
And below is a photo of the old Unity Club, showing it as it was in 2003 a private dwelling:
"The Old Unity Club"
Before the building became a private dwelling, it had previously been the Unity Club, also known at one time as the "Th' Looafe and Cheese" and also had been known as the Belt and Braces, and before that it was the United Service Club and before that it was the National Reserve Club. And before that it was "The Staff of Life" pub.

The Staff Of Life is shown in the 1871 Census which at that time gives the address as Communion Street and the licensed beerseller (or landlady) was Alice Riley (head) (Great, great grandmother to John Bedford). Communion Street or the nearby Pocket Street are no longer there now which meant that later it put the property within the confines of what became part of  "Lower Lane"
Land League Bazaar Committe


John William Riley

In 1901 approx was about the time when J.W. Riley (grandson of Alice Riley) became the caretaker of the United Service Club.  Around 1912 he became the steward of the Irish Democratic League Club, after it had moved  to its present premises in George Street (which had been originally the old Haslingden Conservative Club). In the 1911 census it shows J.W. Riley aged 44 and living at 25 Towngate, Haslingden. (Thanks to John Bedford for supplying photo of J.W. Riley and also for supplying the Census material on Alice Riley and also J.W. Riley, these will be scanned and filed under Haslingden Documents shortly).

I can remember has a lad going into the Unity Club were they used to run Rabbit and Cage Bird competitions etc.

Thomas in his younger days
A email (dated 27th April 2014) from Mike Ryan who was grandson to Thomas Ryan of 18 Rosewood Avenue, the gentleman who was the Secretary of the United Service Club:

"Looks like the Club Secretary brought before the bench was my grandad.  I remember the house on Rosewood Avenue well.  I think I have a photo of him somewhere.  I remember going to the clubs in the 70's when the same practice of "signing in" was carried out.  The doorman may as well have written ditto in the book."  Mike Ryan 
Thomas with Polly and a friend

Mike Ryan has kindly sent in two photographs of his Grandad Thomas Ryan who was the Secretary of the United Service Club which is referred to within the newspaper cuttings above. (Please click over the photos to enlarge)

The two photos of Thomas Ryan above, one as a young man and the other in later days. (Hopefully the alcohol was legally bought).  I believe the crossed clubs shown in the earlier photo indicate he was a PT Instructor and certainly he used to exercise with the Indian clubs and was great at twirling them in different patterns.  He was an expert on the high bar, and family legend has it that he used to run a wrestling school.  He certainly made short work of two chaps who tried to mug him in his later days.  The lady on the far left is his (third) wife Pauline (Polly), and the one in the middle is an old friend. (Photos of Thomas and text kindly supplied by Mike Ryan)