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Everything-must-go sale at Labour Club that opened in 1940s
Buy this photo » Gavin Major and Annie Birchall are downhearted about selling off the items lock, stock and barrel. Picture: OX53751 Ric Mellis
WHEN Didcot Labour Club first opened its doors in the 1940s, the national health service was being created by leading politician Aneurin Bevan.
Decades later, in the 1980s, club members were thanked for supporting striking miners from South Wales, who picketed the power station down the road.
But it has closed its doors and the club’s history is about to be laid bare as secretary Annie Birchall sells off the building’s fixtures and fittings.
It comes after managers announced earlier this year that the tatty building in Station Road would be demolished for a new development.
Ms Birchall said an ‘everything must go’ sale will take place on Saturday, September 1, from 10am to 2pm.
She added: “All fixtures and fittings inside the building will go on sale, including the bar billiards table, the pool table, the league master darts scorer, competition standard darts boards, vintage lamps and light fittings, and general bar memorabilia.
“It’s the end of an era for the club but we had to sell it because a drinking club like this would not have survived much longer.
“The Labour Party is still going strong in Didcot and all the club members ave been invited to join the Great Western Railway staff club across the road.
“I don’t know how much we will make from the sale but we’ll accept all good offers – the billiard table alone is worth £500.
“We also have a lot of old hi-fi equipment and amplifiers to sell. Our rubbish could become someone else’s treasure.”
Ms Birchall said the club’s links with Labour had been rediscovered in the run-up to the sale. Treasured items include a miner’s lamp presented to the local party as a token of appreciation for members’ support during the miners’ strike of 1984.
The lamp, given by Merthyr Vale National Union of Mineworkers for showing solidarity during the strike, is not being sold, but will be given to a Labour Party member who is not being named. The miners’ plight moved Didcot people in 1984 when South Wales men staged a round-the-clock picket at Didcot power station.
Ms Birchall added: “Our memorabilia reflects the town’s connections with the strike and there are various other pictures and plates that will not be sold.
“A couple of years ago, we presented a beautiful National Union of Railwaymen banner to the railway centre.”
About 100 members agreed to sell the club in March for an undisclosed sum. The building, opened as a club following the closure of a Co-op depot on the same site and the freehold was sold to the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency, which supports South Oxfordshire District Council ’s plan to improve Didcot Island.
Former Didcot mayor John Flood said: “It’s a shame to lose any drinking club.”