Layerthorpe Working Men’s Club

On the Lost Layerthorpe page on York Stories Quentin Gannaway asked about the Layerthorpe WMC, which he remembered in two locations:

I played piano at the Layerthorpe Workingmens’ Club. I think DENNIS MASON was the president; ring any bells? Can you put me onto a link to that club? (When I joined, it was an old house…then they built a magnificent huge one. Last time I was in York I couldn’t find any trace of it!

Quentin also commented later that the club was ‘a very significant establishment (building) and community presence’.

Avril E Webster’s book on Layerthorpe has information on the club and its history:

The first meetings of Layerthorpe men to discuss opening a Working Men’s Club were held in the Frog Hall and Shoulder of Mutton public house on Heworth Green. Layerthorpe Working Men’s club was eventually opened in October 1908 in a house at the corner of Duke of York Street. Many of the first members then had to sit on crates to drink their pints until local plumber Mr. Hall donated the first chair. Gradually the premises increased from One house to six houses. In addition to the main room, there was a ladies room downstairs, while on the first floor there were bathrooms and committee rooms, and a large billiards room with two tables. The founder members were, Billy Watson, Bert Jackson, Walter Scarth, Joe Alderson, Harry Kilby and R. Preston. Others who helped the club to become established were, Mr. W. Early, the first president, T. E. Watson, Harry Archer, P. Welsh, Alf Bolton, H. Clark, A. Adams, F. Pullin, J. Simpson, F. Gill and E. Allison. The club claimed to have been the first of the York clubs to organise children’s outings. Walking, fishing, rugby and bowls matches were organised every year.(20) In the 1960s when the houses in Duke of York Street were demolished, a new working men’s club was built in Little Hallfield Road, which is still there to day.


Layerthorpe Bowling Club was formed in 1933, many of the first members had originally bowled for Heworth, but wished to start their own club. C. Barnett, C. Doughty, F. Foster, F. G. Hemenway, C. Horner, A. Mercer and A Shephard were some of the first members. This became a very successful bowling club, and in 1941 won all the local championships. This club is still flourishing today.


— extract from ‘Looking back at Layerthorpe: a York suburb’, by Avril E Webster (QED Books, 1996)

I’m not sure if the bowling club is still flourishing, but Layerthorpe Working Men’s Club in Little Hallfield Road has been been demolished since the book was published. According to this website page it was demolished in 2002, and they have a photo of the club which I hope they won’t mind me borrowing. They say in the caption that the club ‘played host to a lot of rockin’ bands’.

Layerthorpe WMC, Hallfield Rd (source:

Layerthorpe WMC, Hallfield Rd (Photo:

More information

Planning application to redevelop the site (City of York Council, ref 01/03201/FUL)

BBC website, brief article on WMC club closures (2004), mentions Layerthorpe club

‘Layerthorpe WMC was just over the street from us, I went with them as a youngster in the ’50s a few times. My memory is the line up of coaches/buses in Layerthorpe as everyone was being organised.’ – David Addyman, among the memories of WMCs on the Memories of York Facebook pages

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  1. I have old photos of Layerthorpe WMC bowling club (1941), Rugby (1901-2) and others
    Are these of any interest to anyone


    • Hi Yvonne, thanks for your comment and for getting in touch too via the contact form. It would be great to include the photos, I’ve emailed you on the address you provided, thanks,

  2. I remember going into the Layerthorpe working mens club in the 70s
    Does anyone remember a portrait of George Willoughby Starkey in the entrance ?
    And what the relevance was

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