Knock-on effect of sale of Keir Hardie Hall in Norwich

Keir Hardie Hall in Norwich is for sale: Photo: David Bale Keir Hardie Hall in Norwich is for sale: Photo: David Bale

Saturday, July 5, 2014
7:08 AM

The forthcoming sale of Norwich’s Keir Hardie Hall has left one events organiser looking for an alternative venue.

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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.

Will the hall’s closure affect you? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

8 comments

  • The "Big Society" was only ever a euphemism for cuts in state spending.

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    marty r

    Saturday, July 5, 2014

  • Keir Hardy was a Scottish Socialist a Labour Party member and an avid Temperance supporter.The latter not being a good model,for a WMC.

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    PaulH

    Saturday, July 5, 2014

  • Move with the times ! Most folk of a certain age ,lets say 16 to 35 years old frequent the so called "Club Land" I don't like it particularly but that the fact of the matter.I would love to be able to afford to buy these premises , for with vision it could be so great ,but alas

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    Albert Cooper

    Saturday, July 5, 2014

  • Sad that another venue bites the dust. This is happening too frequently now and their closure must be a concern to those of a certain age who have enjoyed the social side of these places. There is a more serious side to this . We are now about to lose possibly three venues in Norwich in a single year, which have served as venues for parties and celebrations of all types. The Anglian Windows Social Club is now up for sale as is The Royal British Legions Jubilee Hall in Aylsham Rd. The knock on effect of course is that all the social groups using these places are finding it more and more difficult to find suitable venues. Whatever happened to Mr Camerons idea of "The Big Society".

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    Bally High

    Saturday, July 5, 2014

  • I guess the decline of the Labour Party and socialism in general had a part to play in this.

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    blister

    Saturday, July 5, 2014

  • Nothing to do with socialism at all - it iswas a WMC.

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    marty r

    Saturday, July 5, 2014

  • Reflects the decline in the popularity of socialism I guess.

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    blister

    Saturday, July 5, 2014

  • I understand the Swing City dancers have moved to the Talk in Oak Street. I hope the new owners will at least redecorate the entrance - it's been an eyesore in St Gregory's Alley for far too long.

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    Rich Hartt

    Saturday, July 5, 2014

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