THE historic Warrington Club founded in 1876 by the town’s leading Victorian industrialists is set to close at the end of the year with its Bold Street home now on the market.
With dwindling membership, the club which was originally set up as a Gentlemen’s luncheon club, is no longer financially viable and following an extraordinary meeting Trustees and members voted in favour of closing at the end of the year.
A rescue package, which involved letting the building to a tenant and investing circa £200,000 in updating the building, was considered too risky by the trustees who would be personally liable.
Chairman Paul Taylor said: “It’s very sad that we have to sell such an amazing piece of Warrington’s heritage. There were high hopes that we could rescue the concept of the Club by modernising it and changing the offer but the members don’t have the appetite for such a risk, which is understandable as it would ultimately fall on them if it were unsuccessful.
“It is a real loss to the town and it saddens me that my role as Chair of the committee has gone from saving the Club to making sure I can now get the best price for the members who have a share in it.
“Times change and people just don’t have the inclination for a long lunch and chat these days. There’s little point to a lunch club when members stop coming for lunch.”
The building on Bold Street was built with monies raised by the original 76 members – but latterly there were only eight fully paid up members, along with some life members and social members.
The Warrington Club is one of the town’s few remaining traditional establishments; founded in 1876 by leading Victorian industrialists, statesmen and professionals for the sole purpose of providing a venue where members could meet on a regular basis in comfortable surroundings to enjoy each others company and meaningful conversation.
The Club offered an excellent opportunity for business ideas, suggestions and deals to be discussed considering that in those early days there was no other means of communication except for a rather hit and miss postal service. In the modern idiom the Club provided what is now known as ‘net working’.
Founder members included Arthur Bennett (1862- 1931) a chartered accountant. He served as a Councillor and Alderman for many years and had hopes of making Warrington a ‘Garden City’.
Sadly, the Great War shattered the dream but the quality of a completed terrace of houses in Sankey gives some evidence of his vision. The foundation stone was laid by the great pioneer of garden cities, Ebenezer Howard.
Other founder members included John, Earnest Crosfield of Joseph Crosfield & Sons Ltd, Sir Gilbert Greenall MP, Lieut Col. Greenall and Captain Greenall of the Greenall Whitley Brewery, Paul, Harry and George Rylands founders of the world famous Rylands Brothers Ltd, Wire & Nails manufacturers.