Armistice 100: New ‘mixed sex’ club opens in Leeds in 1918

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Dateline: August 30, 1918: On this day in 1918 the news of a new mixed gender club named Rest, Recreation and Refreshment in Leeds was announced in the Yorkshire Evening Post.

The report stated that the construction of the club was almost complete and due to be opened on September 13.

General Sir William Robertson was to make a speech at the opening as well as the attendance of Lady Mayoress of Leeds in the afternoon.

YEP - armastice pic for Thurs 30

YEP - armastice pic for Thurs 30

The article said: “the club is to be open to both sexes over 17 years of age. The premises were formerly Sykes’s billiard rooms in Vicar Lane, at the corner of Ludgate Hill.

There are eight rooms, one of which is a spacious dancing hall.”

As well as dancing the venue was host to concerts, performances and also a smoke room open to both sexes.

“Undesirables will be weeded out as far as possible, and in order to qualify for a membership it will be necessary to put in 20 attendances during the month.”

Meanwhile, Leeds Market was likened to a desert as there was a shortage of supplies in produce. An old retailer summed up the scenario in typical Yorkshire fashion by saying: “There’s nowt to buy.”

The report in the YEP added: “Blackberries are not to be seen, as was expected would be the case. It stands to reason, of course, that no one is going to send blackberries to the market, where the retailer cannot charge the consumer more than 4d.”

There was also a lack of plums, fish, damsons and grouse.