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Wednesday, 28 August 2013 00:00

Greens and socialists unite to save Milnsbridge club

by Peter Lazenby

Scores of people gathered over the bank holiday to launch a campaign to save what is claimed to be Britain's oldest socialist club.

Milnsbridge Socialist Club opened in 1892 in the Colne Valley, West Yorkshire, but is now under threat of closure.

Local left and green activists have joined forces to take it over and turn it into a centre of activism for the wider community.

They have formed a co-operative and have launched a £100,000 appeal to pay off the club's debts and buy the building.

The project has the backing of transport union RMT and white-collar rail union TSSA.

Railway guard turned transport consultant and lecturer Professor Paul Salveson is one of the organisers and a local Labour councillor.

"The project is only a few weeks old but the support has been fantastic," he said.

"It is a sign of the health of the progressive movement in the Huddersfield area.

"Like many social clubs, the club has suffered decline.

"You have to look at new ways of keeping the socialist tradition which it was very much part of.

"Colne Valley has a strong socialist tradition and it led to the sensational election victory of Victor Grayson in 1907."

The campaigners hope to buy the club by the end of the year and are to rename it the Red and Green Club.

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