In this case, it isn’t so much the building that’s seen better days, as the institution it housed – the Working Men’s Club, which has been forced to close through debt. The building, I note, has some Andalucian aspects – the whiteness, obviously, the flat roof and the balconies, which offered the opportunity for a reflective smoke whilst observing the flow of the mighty River Welland.
In my experience, the name was a bit of a misnomer, as it seemed to be run mainly by women – often the dreaded single mothers from the Andy Mac Estate – who paid themselves a small wage for cleaning and running the bar and used it as a kind of communal creche. My daughter spent several happy afternoons there playing on the fruit machines (or whatever they have there these days). A fine example of small-scale spontaneous self-organisation and co-operation, but now – sadly – gone.
The Labour Party might, incidentally, like to reflect that they had the opportunity to at least offer institutions such as this a sporting chance of survival during the passage of the legislation to ban smoking, by passing the amendment to exempt private members’ clubs. But clearly – during their imperial phase – they would have considered this beneath their notice.