Apsley club closes after 137 years

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A SPORTS and social club in Apsley that has been around for more than 100 years has shut down.

The Apsley Village Club in London Road closed its doors for the final time at the end of last year because of financial problems.

The club, formed in the early days of paper factory John Dickinson’s, had around 100 members and offered a range of sports including poker, snooker and darts.

A lifeline was thrown around eight years ago when the land was redeveloped with flats and a new clubhouse was built.

David Taylor, boss of Marston Construction, which owns the site, said: “It was a working men’s club. Unfortunately nowadays they are very hard to keep going.

“There was no bad feeling, it’s reality really. They saw it coming for a long time. We sat down and discussed it for quite a while.”

The clubhouse is currently being converted into a nursery, which is due to open in March.

Apsley historian Peter Ward says the club was formed in 1874 but a clubhouse was built in 1891 by John Dickinson and Arthur Longman alongside St Mary’s Church to cater for the community’s ‘social life’. At the opening ceremony a speech proclaimed: “Prosperity to the Apsley Village Club.” In 1937 the club was sold to the trustees.