Thursday, March 6 – 1879
Last night, a new social club, similar to one or two others in other districts of the town, was opened at 7, Everton-crescent, Everton-brow. The club is formed on a broad and comprehensive basis, and is strictly non-political and non-sectarian in its character.
The house in which it is located is eminently appropriate for the purpose. It is one of the old private residences which abound in the neighbourhood; and under the hands of Mr. Thomas Pritchard, general contractor, of Breck-road, the interior has undergone a thorough renovation and alteration for the purpose for which the premises are intended.
On the ground floor there are a spacious billiard room, coffee room, refreshment bar, and kitchens. The second floor contains another billiard room and reading room (which is supplied with the leading London and provincial newspapers and the better known magazines), a chess or recreation room, and lavatories. In the rear of the premises there is a large garden, which, in the summer time, may be utilised as a quoit ground or for skittles.
The club is called the “Crescent Club,” and already nearly 100 members have been enrolled, and the secretary has promises of about 50 more. Mr. Thomas Pritchard is the president, and Mr. Thomas Delahunt the honorary secretary, and each of those gentlemen have worked indefatigably to make the club a success. The annual subscription is fixed at such a figure as to meet the requirements of the tradesmen and middle-class residents of the district, and a certain number of the first subscribers will have the advantage of paying a less fee than those who may join the club after them.
The premises have just been completed for the accommodation of the members, and last night the career of the club was inaugurated by Mr. James Samuelson, who addressed the members present in the lower billiard room. He said that that was the ninth club in Liverpool at the opening of which he had had the pleasure of being present, and of these nine clubs seven were prospering tolerably well, and two had a very short lived existence. But their fall was easily explained – it was owing to extravagance and mismanagement. There were many other similar clubs in Liverpool, but, after all, they were not of sufficient number to compete with the 2,000 less harmless places of amusement which was provided in the town for what he might call the poorer classes.
He thought, however, that they might congratulate themselves on the progress made by those clubs in every part of the country, for they knew that the object of such institutions was to provide rational amusements for those who did not care to enter public houses. (Hear, hear) If they looked at the classes for whom those clubs were provided, they found that they comprised that portion of the community upon whom the future welfare of the country would depend. (Applause.) They were intended for the upper working classes and the middle classes of tradespeople, whose power and legislative influences were every day increasing in England (Applause.) Those who compared the amusements of continental countries with the amusements of England could easily see the difference between the working of social clubs.
In England the intelligent working classes and middle classes frequented libraries, museums, art galleries, social clubs, and reading rooms; and these were the means by which the character of a nation like the English people would remain prosperous and happy (Applause.) If, however, they came to the lower classes – those who had been called by an eminent statesman the “residuum” – they, unfortunately, found that they were the class who maintained the largest number of gin palaces, that were so discreditable to the large towns of the country, and especially to Liverpool. (Applause). But if they looked at the occupations of the same classes of society in Germany and France they would find that, while the lower classes of those countries were less disposed to enter places of amusement which debauched them the higher artisan class and the lower middle class did, not spend their time in such a creditable manner as the same classes of the community in England.
The great advantage, however, of the places of amusement in Germany and France was that they brought the various classes of society into communication with each other; and he thought that those who had watched what was going on in England during the last few years would say that there seems to be an instinctive drawing together of the different classes of society as necessary for the welfare of the nation. (Applause). As an example of those he instanced what was being done in London by ladies and gentlemen of position for the amusement and recreation of the people.
Mr. Samuelson, in conclusion, declared the club open, and expressed the hope that it would be a useful and prosperous institution in the neighbourhood.
Mr. Thomas Pritchard, the president, explained the objects of the club.
Mr. T. Delahunt, the honorary secretary, mentioned that they had enrolled about 60 members, and he had promises of about 50 or 60 more. (Applause.)
Mr. Joseph Shepherd supported the remarks of the chairman.
Mr. Pritchard the congratulated the club upon having secured the services of Mr. James Hardie formerly of the Richmond Hall Club, as manager.
A vote of thanks to Mr. Samuelson closed the proceedings.
(Liverpool Mercury, 07-03-1879)