HOW THE WORKING MEN'S CLUB SHAPED BRITAIN

CLUBLAND - PUBLISHED ON 9TH JUNE


The untold story of a British institution.

Pete Brown is a convivial guide on this journey through the intoxicating history of the working men’s clubs. From the movement’s founding by teetotaller social reformer the Reverend Henry Solly to the booze-soaked mid-century heyday, when more than 7 million Brits were members, this warm-hearted and entertaining book reveals how and why the clubs became the cornerstone of Britain’s social life – offering much more than cheap Federation Bitter and chicken in a basket.

Often dismissed as relics of a bygone age – bastions of bigotry and racism – Brown reminds us that long before the days of Phoenix Nights, 3,000-seat venues routinely played host to stars like Shirley Bassey, Louis Armstrong, and the Bee Gees, offering entertainment for all the family, and close to home at that. Britain’s best-known comedians made reputations through a thick miasma of smoke, from Sunniside to Skegness. For a young man growing up in the pit town of Barnsley this was a radiant wonderland that transformed those who entered.

Brown explores the clubs’ role in defining masculinity, community and class identity for generations of men in Britain’s industrial towns. They were, at their best, a vehicle for social mobility and self-improvement, run as cooperatives for working people by working people: an informal, community-owned pre-cursor to the Welfare State.

As the movement approaches its 160th anniversary, this exuberant book brings to life the thrills and the spills of a cultural phenomenon that might still be rescued from irrelevance.

Product Details

RRP:  £16.98
HarperCollins
Publication date: 9 June 2022
Hardback
EAN/UPC
9780008457549

The British Guild of Beer Writers

Pete is a Board member and former Chair of the British Guild of Beer Writers, which exists “…to improve standards of beer writing and extend the public knowledge of beer.” If you write, tweet, gram, podcast or take photos about beer and pubs, and you like to socialise with and learn from others who do, find out more here.

The Beer and Cider Marketing Awards

Pete was one of the original founders and Chair of Judges for the UK Beer and Cider Marketing Awards. After a four-year hiatus, he’s teamed up with BrewLDN to bring the awards back. Entries are open now, with the eventTBC in September.

LATEST FROM THE BLOG: Why we should all be raising a glass to the 160th birthday of the working men’s club movement – even if they aren’t.

Like one of those aged celebrities who hits the news on their birthday when you thought they’d died a long time ago, the working men’s club may be frail and half-forgotten, but we need it now as much as we ever did.

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Recent Publications

CLUBLAND: How the Working Men’s Club Shaped Britain

A journey through the intoxicating history of the working men’s clubs. From the movement’s founding by teetotaller social reformer the Reverend Henry Solly to the booze-soaked mid-century heyday, when more than 7 million Brits were members, this warm-hearted and entertaining book reveals how and why the clubs became the cornerstone of Britain’s social life – offering much more than cheap Federation Bitter and chicken in a basket.

Beer By Design: The Art of Good Beer Branding

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Craft – An Argument: Why the term ‘Craft Beer’ is completely undefinable, hopelessly misunderstood and absolutely essential.

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About Pete Brown

Pete Brown is a British author, journalist, broadcaster and consultant specialising in food and drink, especially the fun parts like beer and cider. His broad, fresh approach takes in social history, cultural commentary, travel writing, personal discovery and natural history, and his words are always delivered with the warmth and wit you’d expect from a great night down the pub. He writes for newspapers and magazines around the world and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme. He was named British Beer Writer of the Year in 2009, 2012, 2016 and 2021, and Fortnum and Mason Online Drinks Writer of the Year in 2015. In 2020 he was named an “Industry Legend” at the Imbibe Hospitality Awards.

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