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    9780008457556
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    Distributor: HarperCollins Publishers Supplies to: CA US Availability: Not yet available Expected Ship Date: Nov 19, 2022 On Sale Date: Nov 29, 2022 Carton Quantity: 12 $34.99 CAD
    $28.99 USD
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Clubland: How the working men’s club shaped Britain
By (author): Pete Brown
Pete Brown

Imprint:

HarperNorth - London

ISBN:

9780008457549

Product Form:

Hardcover
Hardcover
English

Audience:

General Trade
Aug 02, 2022
$34.99 CAD
Forthcoming

Dimensions:

240 x 159 x 32 mm | 500 gr

Page Count:

320 pages
HarperCollins Publishers
HarperNorth
HISTORY / Social History
Social and cultural history|History of music|Popular culture|Social groups: clubs and societies|Trade unions|Food and drink: alcoholic beverages|Nostalgia: general
  • Short Description

‘Brilliant.’ Alan Johnson

‘Compelling.’ David Kynaston

‘The beer drinkers’ Bill Bryson.’ Times Literary Supplement

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.

How the Working Men’s Club Shaped Britain



‘Brilliant.’ Alan Johnson

‘Compelling.’ David Kynaston

‘The beer drinkers’ Bill Bryson.’ Times Literary Supplement

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.

‘Brilliant.’ Alan Johnson

‘Compelling.’ David Kynaston

‘The beer drinkers’ Bill Bryson.’ Times Literary Supplement

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.

  • Gold title

A warm-hearted, humorous and insightful look at a phenomenon that was central to the everyday life of communities across England – and particularly the north and midlands.

Pete Brown is a seasoned writer with a strong track-record. His work has only matured with age.

Many of the book’s locations are in the so-called Red Wall: working class, post-industrial and now Brexit-voting areas at the centre of Britain’s electoral politics today.

Places visited include the "Tin Hat" in Mapplewell, Barnsley, Reddish WMC in Stockport, Batley Variety Club, Dunston Social Club in Gateshead, The Brudenell Club in Leeds, The Trades Club in Hebden Bridge, Wakefield City Club, and The Mildmay Club

Competition: Pies and Prejudice;The Pie at Night;McCarthy’s Bar;The Road to Little Dribbling;The Old Dog and Duck;A Short History of Drunkenness; Liquid History;Not Just Beer And Bingo!. By;Stuart Maconie;Bill Bryson;Mark Forsyth;Duncan Hamilton;Pete McCarthy;Al Murray;Peter Kay;Alan Johnson;David Kynaston

Pete Brown is a Barnsley-born author, journalist, blogger and broadcaster specialising in food and drink. 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, has won three Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards, and has been shortlisted twice for the André Simon Awards. He blogs at petebrown.net and can be found on Twitter as @PeteBrownBeer

‘Pete Brown is a brilliant master of ceremonies as he brings the history of these fine institutions to life and demonstrates their importance in working class communities across the country.’ Alan Johnson, author of This Boy

‘A compelling mixture of social history, vivid reportage and candid autobiography, Clubland makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of Britain in the last century and a half.’ David Kynaston, author of Austerity Britain

‘This is not a romantic book, lost in misty memories. It is a deeply political one. Warm, witty, Brown writes this study with humour, but also rage.’ The Observer

‘Pete Brown writes poetically and with great authority on a slice of culture that has been ignored or derided for many years. He illuminates these arts centres, debating halls and palaces of carefree delight with love and care.’ Ian McMillan, author of Neither Nowt Nor Summat

'At last the working men's club gets its turn in the cultural spotlight. Pete Brown has written an important history and a heartfelt tribute to the friendship, organisation, humour and community to be found in these remarkable institutions.’ Ian Clayton, author of It's The Beer Talking: Adventures in Public Houses

Praise for Pete Brown…

‘The beer drinkers’ Bill Bryson.’ Times Literary Supplement

‘Brimming with fascinating stories and forgotten characters.’ The Guardian

‘Brown’s enthusiasm is infectious.’ The Sunday Times

‘Brown’s writing has a pleasingly loose-limbed feel.’ The Observer

‘Brown writes beautifully … his observations are fresh and provocative.’ Financial Times

‘Big beery fun.’ The Times

‘Engaging.’ Daily Mail

‘Part Nigel Slater, part Bill Bryson, and wholly delicious.’ Mail on Sunday

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