The Portsmouth Music Scene
Co-operative House, Fratton Road.
The Co-operative Social Club, Kingston Road, Portsmouth in August 2011.
Social club members mourn end of an era.
Sadness as Co-operative announces closure of much-loved club due to lack of cash MEMBERS of a historic Portsmouth club are angry that it will close later this year. The Co-op Club, in Kingston Road, Buckland, has served the community for more than 100 years, but owner The Southern Co-operative has decided it can no longer afford to keep it open.
It will close on October 31 and around 40 people are faced with losing their jobs - although the company said it would try to find them new positions. Mick Smith, 68, from North End, has been going to the community centre for more than 40 years.
He is now trying to organise a petition to show how much its members care and want to keep it open. `This news came right out of the blue,' he said. There was no warning at all - even the club steward and secretary didn't know There was no information provided and no communication with all the people who go there.
`For a lot of older people the club is a big part of their routines, they go there to play bingo and a lot of them won't know what to do with themselves when it closes.' Joan Barton, 65, of Spenlow Close, Buckland, said her family had held birthdays, weddings and even wakes at the club and its loss would be devastating for the area. `My husband and I have been going for around 25 years,' she said.
`This feels like the end of an era, and with all the other clubs and pubs that have closed down, it's almost like the community is dying.' Ted Merdler, head of brand engagement and communication at The Southern Co-operative, said the decline in the sale of alcohol and soft drinks was the reason behind the closure. He added: `The club was originally set up for employees of The Southern Co-operative or PIMCO as it was then known. `Over the years the number of our colleagues belonging to the club has dwindled until now only one per cent of them use it.
`The Southern Co-operative has subsidised the club for several years but believes that this situation is not sustainable in the long term.
It is believed that this building was opened about 1959.
Over those years many of the local musicians and DJ's have played here.