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Brothers toast Denholme club centenary
It was a man’s world when the Greenwood brothers joined Den-holme Conservative Club, which celebrated its centenary last Thursday.
Raymond Greenwood, 92, a member for 74 years, and brother, Jack, 82, who joined 64 years ago, have stayed loyal throughout to the club where their father, William, was secretary for 43 years until his death in 1969.
“I can remember smoke-filled rooms and even spittoons on the floor for those who used chewing tobacco,” said Jack, recalling the old club opposite the Mechanics Institute in Denholme’s Main Road.
“They’d cut a piece off a stick of tobacco with a knife and then spit into sawdust-filled jars on the floor – and they never missed!” Jack said.
He has a treasured photo of himself and middle brother, Ronnie, who served as a steward at the club for several years and remained a regular up until his death last year aged 87.
Jack added: “I can remember when I joined that a pint of Ramsden’s bitter, brewed in Halifax, was less than a shilling,” said Jack, who told how his father encouraged him to join the club, which moved up to Minorca Mount in the early 1970s.
“And there were no women allowed in the club until the 1960s, apart from special occasions.”
“Most Denholme lads joined the Mechanics to play snooker and billiards, but my father said “go to night school and study textiles and I’ll get you joined at the Conservative Club when you’re 18.
“So that’s what I did,” said Jack, who still lives in the village.
“I didn’t – I joined the Mechanics!” said older brother, Raymond, who lives in Keighley.
The Denholme club is still going strong, although numbers have dwindled, as with many social clubs across the district.
“There was always lots going on – games leagues for snooker, darts, cribbage, dominoes and a card game called ‘don’, which only a few people knew how to play,” Jack said.
“The problem is these days people just go to the supermarket, buy beer and sit at home watching TV. It’s a shame.”
They and their families will be at a special 100th birthday party for the club on Saturday, said club secretary, Joanne Simmonds.
“We need to celebrate it in style, and these two will be our special guests,” she said. “They’ve never been any trouble and never been barred – not yet, anyway!”
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