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Club said no to Diz Disley and Paul Simon.

The Builders' Exchange Club opened in 1889 and was recognised as one of the most exclusive clubs in Huddersfield. It's members included the town's leading industrialists and businessmen.

But in 1964 the club needed a new impetus to boost funds and membership and they launched the Singing Jenny Folk Club on Wednesday evenings. It proved such a success they later introduced jazz, rock, disco and blues on other nights.

The Builders became THE venue in town.

Ken and Sue Clarkson, of Lindley, were both members. Ken was, at that time, a member of the group Sweet Poteen with Peter Philpot and Liam McNulty. He plays many instruments and is still playing in bands, primarily with Hot Punch on melodeon.

He says: "The folk club used to meet in the back room of the White Lion in Cross Church Street. Bill Letters, the steward of the Builders' Club, used to drink in the White Lion. We were looking for a new home and we were invited along because they didn't do much business in the evening."

Ken added: "There was a great crossover in music at that time. No-one was bothered as long as the music was good and live. When we first moved in, there was a snooker table in the middle of the room, but that eventually went and the lino became the dance floor."

He was among the new young blood taken on as committee members and his wife worked behind the bar and on the door.

"Access to the club was down an alley and into a courtyard and then you banged on a door. A panel would slide back and someone would peer out at you.

"They used to get so packed they had to keep the door locked to keep people out.

"Legendary guitarist Diz Disley turned up one night but Sue wouldn't let him in because we were full."

"But I've got Diz Disley here," pleaded the member wanting to get in.

"We're still full," said Sue.

Ken says they booked lots of great acts, including Mike Harding for pounds 8. Others included Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger, The Fureys, Christy Moore and Planxty.

"Paul Simon knocked on the door one night. Yes, the Paul Simon. He had come up from London and said he would play for pounds 25. He was told we don't pay anybody that sort of money."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Oct 30, 2004
Words:397
Previous Article:Talks on sixth form closure.
Next Article:The legend of the Builders.


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