Recently the Kimberley Miners Welfare closed after 80+ years. A sad day for a lot of people who frequented this great place to meet friends, play bingo and have a drink. Sure it only had one real ale on per time, it was usually kept well so they already were getting one thing right Wetherspoons could fail on some nights when they had 4 times that many guest ales.
Places like the Miners Welfare are not so much about the drink but the atmosphere, I think it’s safe to say without being ageist that most of the clientele of the Miners Welfare were over 50 with a spread below this age maintaining membership. Atmosphere created by the relaxed attitude of the staff, children were allowed in and often met up with other children from other patrons, food would often be brought in from outside without being frowned upon by staff.
Local acts would play on the stage at the back, ignore if you want, sing along if you want, get up and dance if you want! Some were good, some not so good but all were greeted with applause at the end.
The drink selection was mostly generic with 1 guest real ale, they did a mean can of Tango if you fancied a soft drink. The real kicker about this place being gone is it represents (in my opinion) the archetype of the Old English Tavern. A place to meet, talk, drink and eat…a central hub of activity for a community.
Not just someplace to swill lager and watch Sky Sports. Plenty of activities were played here instead like bingo, open the box (finding that key is impossible…) quizzes and stuff which brings people together…not just draws their blank gazes to a TV. I’m not sure who I’m aiming my disappointment or scorn at exactly, only that the “big guys” have contributed to the downfall of someplace like this. Places like this are important for communities, I doubt there are many other local places some of the “older” clientele would like to go to now.
Clubs are becoming a dying breed. Having been a member of at least 4 in Ilkeston/Kimberley I can say that Nottingham on the whole will be worse for more of these closing. However price hikes, higher beer duty and recession make it hard for places which are not centered around profit and competitiveness to stay afloat. The local word is the miners is now being considered as a building project for apartments. So suburbia claims another victim after 80+ years of being open.