The famous Pop and Pasty club

The famous Pop and Pasty club

Mark Ritchie reports on the end of the line for the famous Pop and Pasty club in Keighley Yorkshire.


Mark Ritchie

Mark Ritchie

It’s the end of the road for a once iconic club as the famous Pop and Pasty club in Keighley is to be converted into a new use as an Islamic Education Centre.

The clubs closed its door in March of this year after a long battle against falling attendances and dwindling revenue. The last concert was staged in late March and that was the end for a venue which opened in 1908, originally as a meeting place for political activists.

An application to turn the upstairs segment of the premises into a Madrassa, or Islamic studies school, was received recently by Bradford council.

When in its prime the Pop and Pasty was a bustling live entertainment venue and club spokesperson Marjorie Atkinson described the closure as ‘the end of an era’.

The club opened as North East Ward Liberal club and gained its nickname due to the wide selection of non-alcoholic drinks on offer behind the bar at the time. However the club took out a drinks licence in 1932 and become an independent club just after the end of the second world-war, although it retained its Liberal name. The Pop and Pasty nickname stuck and remained firmly on the lips of club members and visitors alike until its recent closure.

The Pop and Pasty extended its premised in 1964 as the boom years of Clubland took hold and the then indigenous white population of the mill town of Keighley made up the vast majority of their customer base.

Pop and pastyThe same fate has befallen many social clubs across the country, situated in areas with a high Muslim or Asian population. Only recently social clubs in neighbouring Bradford suburbs such as Manningham and Slackside have also bitten the dust. This has led some Clubland observers to speculate on the possibility that clubs within areas with large Asian populations could and perhaps should market their venues more strongly towards those groups, in order to maintain the clubs as viable businesses. Others claim this can never happen as social clubs are a quintessentially British institution.

Local pub landlord Mickey Thompson has gone into the former Pop and Pasty premises and rescued a huge collection of Clubland memorabilia. The collection has been shared out between nearby licensed premises and at least illustrations of Keighley’s Clubland heydays can still be looked at and fondly remembered.





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