From the Burnley Express Archive: Did you see popular TV personality at the Cabaret Club

Those of you of a certain age will recognise the television personality Hughie Green, the star of “Double Your Money” and, perhaps, more famously “Opportunity Knocks”.

Tuesday, 8th September 2020, 3:45 pm

Here we see him, signing autographs at the stage door of the Cabaret Club, on Gannow Lane, Rosegrove, in September, 1970, for Mrs Doris Day (left), Eileen Clarke, Wendy Beckett, Pat Ridehalgh and Dawn Whittaker.

Hughie had brought his own show to Burnley. He received an enthusiastic welcome from local fans. Appearing with him, at the Cabaret Club, were Monica Rose, Karl Pring, Yvonne Marsh, Ken Dall and Tony Holland and the show was, apparently, a good one.

In the days before television, Burnley was always a good place for variety shows and the town had numerous clubs. Some – Socialist, Conservative and Liberal Clubs – had their connections with politics but others were local Workingmen’s Clubs, like the ones I knew in the Briercliffe area.

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Pipe smoking Hughie Green signing autographs at the stage door for Mrs. Doris Day (left), Eileen Clarke, Wendy Beckett, Pat Ridehalgh and Dawn Whittaker.

One of these survives, the Briercliffe Workingmen’s Club, which is now known as the Briercliffe Social Club. It is located on Holgate Street, in Harle Syke, which in the past was Cuerden Street. The latter name came about because quite a lot of Briercliffe was included in the estates of the Townley Parker’s of Extwistle and Cuerden. This also accounts for the names of Townley Street, Parker Street and Cuerdale Street.

This Club is still going strong. It organises, when coronavirus allows, Beer Festivals twice a year and a host of other community events are held there. However, when I was a boy, the Club organised shows for children. The building, which had housed the Hargreaves stables, had a very good stage and one of my earliest memories is of attending a show there.

The Briercliffe Society has an old photograph of a group of gymnasts, all local men, performing in a Harle Syke community event at the Briercliffe Workingmen’s Club, where they had a gym. There was a time when I could recognise all of the young men in the photograph, but now I can recall only a couple of them.

The other club that I knew about was the Lane Head Workingmen’s Club which was located in an old building, now demolished, on old Marsden Road, once the main road out of Burnley to Briercliffe. I have a family association with the Lane Head, which also staged shows for its members. My grandfather, Harry Foy, who was an insurance manager, helped to keep the books at the club.

I recall the building being pulled down and replaced by a new one, only to see that one converted into houses when it closed. Of course, something similar happened all over the town. I remember drawing up a list of all of the clubs in the Burnley area and, in a wide definition, I arrived at 89 clubs, only a handful of which survive today.

They even had their own brewery, the Burnley Clubs Brewery, which was located off Bank Parade, close to the site of the St Peter’s Health and Leisure Centre, where there was one of the more famous clubs, the Keighley Green.

Those were the days, when the beer was local, and cheap, and the entertainment was often local, and good.