Southdown Labour Club
Southdown Labour Club is a social club that is run by local residents. It is open from 7.30pm every day of the week, and there is live Saturday night music once a fortnight. The club is entirely self-sufficient with members paying for the entertainments and the upkeep of the building which includes two skittle alleys.
In its heyday the Southdown Labour Club teemed with members, but the same tax increases on alcohol that have caused local pubs like The Jubilee to close down, have also hit the number of regulars at the club. Bingo sessions are held at 9pm on Sundays and there is interest in trying an afternoon bingo session on one day of the week.
Left: Mike calling the bingo numbers; right: the function room
Members recall some of the club’s history. It started in a tin shed in the 1930s and there is an elegant Roll of Honour remembering the members who fought and died in the war. There used to be Christmas Parties and Pensioner’s Parties, and in the 1960s an event called “Harvest Home” for which locals would bring garden produce to auction for charity.
The celebrity darts player Joe Hitchcock (1915-1982) once promoted the club by playing against local people there. And in 1979, a band called Graduate played there, before reforming as the well known band Tears for Fears. Trophies won by the club’s skittles teams over many years are proudly on display.
Southdown Labour Club remains an important venue for residents to meet and make new friends, and membership costs just £10 per year, so why not give it a try?
The Archway Cafe, Twerton
The Archway Cafe in Twerton is an intriguing pocket of activity that is mostly hidden beneath the Twerton viaduct.
Owner Wesley Hibbard (pictured below left) took over the cafe nine years ago, but he says that its history goes back much further. A few years ago the installation of a new roof revealed paintwork suggesting to him that the outer part of the building had once been a railway hut.
A 1960s newspaper cutting reveals that the café had been a lorry drivers’ tea kiosk, near the Old Bridge in the city. The Old Bridge was replaced by Churchill Bridge in 1964, so maybe that was the time the kiosk was brought to Twerton.
The frontage to the cafe, located close to the old Twerton Station on the Lower Bristol Road, conceals a surprising volume of space in the form of two large rooms that extend under the railway arches.
In the eating area, the cafe has ornamental fittings and reproduction paintings on the walls, as well as other interesting and decorative items such as a 1950s radio set. The rumble of a train passing overhead is frequently heard.
Some of the regular customers are workers from the Somer offices just across the road. When they have a barbecue in the warmer months, the food is supplied by the cafe. Other customers are tradesmen. Wesley says that meeting new faces is one of the best parts of the job. He would like to hear anyone’s memories of the cafe so he can know more about its past.
New Time Bank groups
The Time Bank is hoping to start a new series of its very popular Art Classes soon. If you are interested, you need to register quickly. For more information contact the Time Bank at 86 Twerton High Street. Phone 01225 442813.
Mentoring at Culverhay
Do you have a skill or interest that you would like to share with a pupil at Culverhay School, or is there something you may like help with – e.g. mobile phone skills or computer skills? Activities could range from fishing, writing, photography or music through to gardening, writing or cookery.
Sessions will be held at the school on Wednesday afternoons, with full training as a mentor and out of pocket expenses provided. Transport may be available and an enhanced CRB check will be necessary. If you are interested contact the Time Bank by 21st January.
Book Lover’s Coffee Club
The Book Lover’s Coffee Club will be held on alternate Fridays from 10am to 11am, starting 21st January. Come and have a coffee and chat about your favourite books and authors.