Mick has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the country's pubs and clubs and his itineraries never cease to amaze. In 2004 and this year the AGMs were held in Southport and Blackpool respectively and Mick's trips both headed out into East Lancashire. Each time we finished the evening at the subject of this article, the Kimberley Workingmen's Club.

The Club is in Stacksteads, near Bacup. It's approached up a hill, then a dirt track then through a gate from which a path leads to the tiny wooden club building in the middle of a field. It was established in 1897 as an after-hours drinking house for quarry workers. There are just two small rooms, the front room being the "inner sanctum" where most members congregate. It's warmed by an ancient single-flame gas heater - there is no mains electricity here. Furnishings and decor have developed in haphazard fashion over the years, now presenting a delightfully eccentric mix of old seats and tables, signs, photos and gas lights.

Planning permission to build toilets was granted in 1934 but construction had to wait until 1999. Before that it was a case of "ladies use the short grass, gents the long grass".

The Club currently has 40 members and is open only for limited hours on four nights a week. Members go into the tiny cellar to serve themselves drinks - Timothy Taylors Bitter or Dark Mild for ?1.20 a pint! They also have bottled lager and a small selection of spirits. No food except for nuts at 25p - they can't sell crisps because they get damp.

On our first visit to this amazing place, an impromptu folk music session was in full swing inside the front room, so we sat in the slightly less atmospheric back room to listen and enjoy our beers (the first pint cost us an extra 30p to secure temporary membership). This year, only two members were present so we were able to crowd into the inner sanctum and sup the delicious mild in the warm glow (and unique aroma) of the gas lighting.

We were regaled with many hilarious tales by the members. They told us of the glass-washing machine seller who bought everyone present a drink then asked "Can I sell you a glass washer?". "Not unless you've got a gas-powered one" came the reply. They also got a letter sternly stating "We notice you do not have a TV licence". This was sent back inscribed "Fxxx off - just conversation here"!

Should anyone want to visit this relic of another age, the Editor can provide contact details and directions.

Paul Ainsworth