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If you are not familiar with our club or it's locality and your first contact with us is on-line, then here is a brief history. We are in the small village of Hersden, five miles east of Canterbury in Kent. England.

The club has been in existence since the late 1950's and had been built to support the then local mining community and the village. The Club, a CIU affiliated members club,  is still successfully run even since the demise of the mines in Kent. A friendly welcome awaits visitors old and new. Applications for new memberships are more than welcome.

Should you wish to contact us, please call 01227 710287 alternatively you can   e-mail us at:  chisletclub@yahoo.co.uk

Chislet Colliery Welfare Club. The Avenue. Hersden. Canterbury. Kent. CT3 4HX

Check out our links, If you have any comments, queries or wish to make reservations. Contact us - We would like to hear from you.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WORKING MANS CLUB (CIU)

The Club and Institute Union were founded by the Rev. Henry Solly in 1862. A great propergandist for clubs, he provided a much needed conceptual clarity to the notion of club work. He was also an important advocate for the extention of working class politcal rights and helped to set up the Charity Organisation Society.

The CIU as a national body is non-political. Though individual clubs can be affiliated to politcal parties. Originally it was a middle class led philanthropic organisation aimed at education and non alcoholic recreation. However, working men themselves soon took over the running of the CIU and drinks were allowed.

In the Victorian era, the Liberal Working Men's clubs were prevalent in increasing the Union's membership. Sometimes Liberal clubs were called Gladstone Clubs in honour if the Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone. In some working class areas local landowners and business owners would contribute to the cost as land was relatively cheaper in those days, it was fairly easy for groups of men to buy the land and establish the clubs using their own skills and labour.

In the pre and post World War 1 era these clubs were often associated with trade societies and trade union branches. In the miners strike of the early 1980's, the miners Welfare Clubs were prominent in their support of the strike. Other such clubs can still be recognised by their title ie: Engineers or Railway Men's Clubs. There were also Socialist Clubs built before the establishment of the Labour Party. The Rhondda Marxian Working Mens Club was a base for Welsh Communists up until the 1980's. Labour Clubs were founded as the party grew in size in the 1920's. Generally Conservative Clubs did not join as they formed their own federation. Servicemen returning from the Great War would also found clubs, Roman Catholic parishes had clubs. The only stipulation demanded for membership of the CIU was that clubs be owned by the members and accept the standards of membership.

The wealthier clubs have sports pitches and dining facilities as well as indoor games and entertainment. Many entertainers developed their skills in them over the years.

Until 2004, the CIU had its own beer brewed by the Federation Brewery in Tyne and Wear. Although CIU affiliated clubs do still receive discounted beer, these discounts are largely passed onto the members, and club beer to this day is generally cheaper than local pubs. The brewery was taken over by Scottish & Newcastle in 2004 and now brews Newcastle Brown Ale.

Together with other club organisations, such as the Royal British Legion and the Association of Conservative Clubs it is part of CORCA (Confederation of Registered Club Associations) which lobbies Parliment on behalf of clubs. This was active in the recent debate about smoking. As most clubs are known as the haven of the working man who likes to drink and smoke. (In many cases without any women in the bar) There is a justifiable concern about the future prospects of clubs.

The CIU holds a national congress every year and as part of its activities runs convalescent homes. In many ways it could be said to be the oldest surviving friendly society still run by its members and if it were to fold would be a sad loss to the cultural life of working class families.

The Working Men's Club and Institute Union is now the largest non profit making social entertainment and leisure organisation in the UK, representing the interests and views of some six million members.

The Working Men's Club and Institute have come a long way since 1862. However, it could be said that working men's clubs have suffered from and old fashioned image among young people and have found it hard to compete with modern trends, resulting in many closures of clubs in recent years. The position of women in the Union has been a constant source of debate, with motions to support allowing the use of the associate card not gaining enough support to change the constitution in this respect.

The Working Men's Club and Institute Unions HQ is in London

WHAT WOULD YOU EXPECT TO FIND INSIDE A VENUE

Social clubs come in all sizes, from the very large with grand entertainment halls and multiple bars, to the small with just one bar. Typically, clubs have at least one bar, snooker and pool tables and at least one dart board.

Clubs, Snooker, Pool and Darts teams would normally compete in local leagues. Some clubs may also have teams in other sports eg: Football, Golf and Fishing.

Many larger clubs also have a working kitchen where burgers, chips and other hot foods can be bought on entertainment nights or lunchtimes.

Many clubs still have a practice (considered outdated by some people) by which females are not allowed in the bar. However, a few clubs have relaxed this rule. Often, there will be a room called the ''Lounge'' with a casual seating area and a bar, for customers who just want a quiet drink.

Entertainment is often provided, such as Bingo (called 'Housie' in the North) Raffles, Live Music, Comedy and Cabaret Nights. Acts or Turns usually perform in a room designated as the concert room

Many of the famous British Comedians of the 60's and 70's started their careers performing on the Northern Working Men's Club Circuit