Time Called on Carlisle Bingo Club

  • Author: Dale
  • Updated: January 26th, 2015

Sunday was a sad day for the regulars of a bingo club that shut its doors after more than 50 years.
Formerly Carlisle Working Men’s Club and Institute, there has been a club on the site since 1928.

Some of the regulars had been going to the club for more than 50 years, and will no doubt feel the absence of their much-loved bingo haunt.

Seven people, including bar manager Michael Maxwell, will lose their jobs.

Terry Curry, 81, had the honour of calling the bingo numbers over the speakers for the last time at V Bar – formerly known as the Fisher Street Social Club.

The club chairman, who has been the bingo caller for 30 years, said: “It’s my life. It’s the same people, the same faces and the same seats. It’s always been the best club.”

In previous years, Terry and his late wife were regulars – singing on the stage for crowds who came to the club in their droves.

V Bar is due to close today after almost 90 years. Derbyshire-based owner Minotaur Group announced the news last Tuesday.

The club’s longest-serving barmaid Winifred Brown, 68, of Morton, retired just over a year ago. She first attended the club as a punter at the age of 18, and remembers the club always having a friendly atmosphere.

“They class themselves as a family”, she said. “It’s the only place I come and it’s the only place I’ve ever been. Nobody wants to see it close. I just don’t know where everyone will go now.”

Johnny and Liz Brierley had their wedding reception at the club in 1990 – even though they were running the Railway Club in Harraby at the time – and it has been a big part of their married life.

Before they got married, Johnny, who has been a member since 1973, also worked at the club part-time.

“We got told off for having too many people”, he remembered.

50 year old Liz is a cleaner at the club, as well as a member of its darts team. She will lose her job when it closes.

She said: “It’s so sad, really sad. Everybody will end up going their own way.”

“We’ll lose a lot of nice friends”, added Johnny, 61.

Bar manager of 24 years Michael Maxwell, who will also lose his job, said: “This is the busiest it’s been in a long time. Saturday night and Friday night I’ve been rushed off my feet.

“It’s very sad. This has been going on for a long time. Unfortunately it’s just a sign of the times. I think clubs in general are struggling.

“I just want to thank all the people who have supported the club over the years and I wish them all the best.”

We think it was quite a feat to keep the club going for as long as it did, so that’s the important thing to remember, along with all the happy memories!

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