With nigh on four million members and thousands more waiting eagerly to join, the success of the Working Men’s Club movement in 1970s Britain was staggering.
The countrywide movement provided the testing ground for acts that went on to break into mainstream television and true stardom.
‘New Faces’, ‘Opportunity Knocks’ and ‘Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club’ - which made stars of comics Bernard Manning and Colin Crompton - were reliant on the Working Men’s Clubs for raw talent and it’s unlikely pillars of 1980s light entertainment like Cannon & Ball, Les Dawson and Little & Large would have enjoyed their all-conquering success without the early support of Working Men’s Club audiences.
Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights captured a Working Men’s Club in decline – this book catalogues them in their all-conquering prime.
The Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to Working Men’s Clubs is packed with interviews, rare photos and more.
It has already received plaudits from clubland stars spanning the Grumbleweeds to Bernie Clifton.
Peter Stringfellow has been heaping praise on it. His uncle - a leading committee man at Pitsmoor Working Men’s Club - was his inspiration when he was starting out.
Dr Ruth Cherrington – celebrated academic and probably the country’s foremost expert on the Working Men’s Club movement – has called the ‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to Working Men’s Clubs’ book:
“One of the most accessible and affectionate records of the boom years of the movement ever written”.
Here’s a few features about the book: