October 23 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, July 5, 2014
The forthcoming sale of Norwich’s Keir Hardie Hall has left one events organiser looking for an alternative venue.
As reported, the hall, which has been the home of the Norwich working men’s club since the 1940s, is up for sale, with a guide price of £325,000. The once popular club in St Gregory’s Alley will be sold at auction at Dunston Hall on July 23.
Organiser Mark Chamberlin holds his ‘Norwich Backstreet Soul Club Northern Soul Nights’ at the venue.
He said: “This is going to affect me in a big way. I have held my soul nights at this brilliant old venue for the last five years and have built it up as one of the most popular ‘Soul Nites’ in the country with people travelling from as far as Manchester and Bristol to attend. We attracted crowds of over 200 on some nights and its impending sale means we are struggling to find a suitable alternative venue.
“I am really disappointed that we are probably going to lose a venue that has the potential, if managed correctly, to be a hugely successful business with the amount of activities, music nights, etc. that could be staged.”
The Keir Hardie Hall once boasted an interesting mix of live events, from salsa dancing to reggae. It once had 1,000 members, but the numbers have fallen to just 300, and Bryan Baxter, auctioneer with the Auction House, said the club could no longer survive financially.
The hall was opened in 1916 by the Independent Labour Party. After the ILP merged with the Labour Party it became the Norwich Socialist Club. Many leading socialists, including George Lansbury and Ramsay MacDonald, spoke in the hall.
The hall was named after Keir Hardie, who helped to form the Labour Party and became its leader, and was a regular visitor to Norwich.
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