A month long festival in October 2005 to celebrate the Club’s one hundred years at 16 Wood Street turned out to be much more successful than the organising committee had dared to hope.
On four successive weekends the building was filled to capacity for a series of special events.
Adrian Mitchell returned, 20 years after his first visit, to read his poem – including ‘Tell Me Lies About Iraq’ updated from his 1965 poem about the Vietnam war. Singers Robb Johnson and Bernadette Murphy were also welcomed back, the latter rounding off the evening with ‘Be Reasonable, Demand the Impossible Now!’
Sheila Rowbotham, John Nicholson and Brian Iddon MP gave their contrasting views on the Future of Socialism to introduce what turned into a lively debate.
A Sunday afternoon guided walk, in brilliant autumnal sunshine, saw around twenty people round the centre of Bolton, visiting sites important in the town’s radical past.
Finally, a huge celebratory party on the last weekend brought the month to a spectacular close during which many people new to the club had come to the events and become members.
The success of these events stimulated the introduction of new regular activities. These included: the monthly ‘Red Cinema’ organised by George Heyes and Dave Fogg; Saturday afternoon “People’s History’ meetings arranged by Wendy Pye; and the return of the Clarion Cycling club to it’s original home - this was more than about cycling, an impressive banner, designed by Charles Jepson, painted co-operatively, was carried by members for the first time at the Tolpuddle Rally in Dorset.
Perhaps the most successful of all activities introduced at this time has been the Clarion Choir, led and conducted by Moira Hill, which meets twice a month, has appeared at many events to considerable acclaim including the internationally known ‘Raise Your Banners’ festival in Bradford.
The centenary also brought the re-issue of the Socialist Sunday School post card, first produced for sale at the Club in the early years of the Twentieth Century. The ‘Ten Socialist Commandments’ taught to young people all those years ago still relevant all these years later.