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Glyde House, Glydegate, Bradford BD5 0BQ
tel:
01274 271114

Directions

Established 1956

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Map

Club Constitution, History,
Memoirs, Records,
Facts & Trivia


Club Constitution
 

The Club's Beginning
By Alex Eaton. A report on the earliest years of The Topic Folk Club written for 30th Anniversary and published in 1990 in Tykes' News in three parts.
 

The First 12 Years
By Denis Sabey, Tykes' News 1968
 

The First 25 Years
Booklet produced by the club in 1981
 

The Club in 1970-72
By Trevor Carolan. A personal memoir with some photos
 

The Topic at 60
The view from 2016, by John Waller
 

Songs for The Topic at 60
Songs written by club members to celebrate The Topic's 60th anniversary, performed 3 November 2016
 

Gigs List
Club nights from 1957 to last week
 

Compiling the Records
Trevor Charnock on tracking down sources for the gigs listed
 

Guest Artist Links A to Z
Web links for 732 Topic acts
 

The Club's 13 Venues

Sept 1956 to 11th Apr 1958:
Laycock's Rooms, Albion Court

18th Apr 1958 to Aug 1959:
Oddfellows'/Unity Hall, Rawson Square

4th Sept 1959 to ?Apr 1960:
Fox and Goose, Canal Rd

May 1960 to mid-1963:
Oddfellows'/Unity Hall again

Mid-1963 to 22nd Nov 1968:
Sun Inn, Sunbridge Rd

29th Nov 1968 to 24th Jan 1969:
Market Tavern, Godwin St

1969:
The year of 4 venues: The Market Tavern, 6 weeks, Rawson Hotel (Jan 31 only), The Ukrainian Club (Feb 7th-Sept 19th), and then the 22-year stay at The Star Hotel.

Sept 26th, 1969 to Mar 1st, 1991:
Star Hotel, Westgate

March 8th, 1991 to Jul 8th, 1995:
Peel Hotel, Richmond Rd

Jul 13th, 1995 to Dec 29th, 2005:
Melborn Hotel White Abbey Rd

Jan 5th 2006 to Feb 28th 2008:
Cock and Bottle Barkerend Rd

Mar 6th 2008 to Dec 19th, 2013:
Bradford Irish Club Rebecca St

Jan 2nd 2014 onwards:
Glyde House, Glydegate
 

Club Night
For nearly 40 years the club met on Fridays - also with Saturday concerts in some of the earlier years - but it has been Thursday nights from March 24 1994.
 

Logo & Straplines
June 1995 - first appearance of the Wandering Fiddler logo
September 1995 - "Probably" dropped from "Probably the oldest Folk Club in the World".
January 2009 - Wandering Fiddler dropped. New strapline
"
live-acoustic-folk"
 

Drinking & Smoking
The club was a non-booze venue at the very start, with a lot of school-age attendees, but moved to a pub (the Fox and Goose) in 1959, so U-18s no longer allowed. March 1995 saw "Thank you for not smoking" appear, and 1st July 2007 smoking in pubs was made illegal.
 

Raffle
The raffle started on 26th August 1966, after the Committee had noticed funds depeleting. The first prize was a 15/- record token, and 1 6/8 was taken in ticket sales (a little under half what was taken on the door that night). It has continued ever since.
 

Secretaries & Bookers

Club Secretaries
1958 to 1982


Isobel Arlott
Sept 1958 - Sept 1959
AM (Molly) Brown
Sept 1959 - ?
Sandra A Kitchingham
April 1961 - ?1962
Malcolm McGeorge
?1962 - Aug 1964
Hilary Stevenson / Tideswell
Sep 1964 - March 1966
Pat Butterfield
April 1966 - June 1967
Jan Heatherington
July 1967 - March 1968
H Denis Sabey
April 1968 - May 1970
Jim Boyes
May 1970 - Nov 1971
Roger Sutcliffe
Nov 1971 - June 1972
Ken Hall
July 1972 - March 1974
Mick Wheeler
March 1974 - March 1976
Trevor Charnock
April 1976 - April 1982

Booking Secretaries
1982 to now


Ronnie Wharton
May 1982 - May 1988
Deanna Norman

June 1988 - March 1992
Brenda Baldwin
March 1992 - March 1993
Roger Sutcliffe
March 1993 - Nov 1994
Philomena Hingston
(sometimes with Finola Hingston)
Nov 1994 - Dec 2003
John Waller
Dec 2003 - Dec 2008
(with Simon Alexander Jun-Dec 2006)
Rahel Guzelian
Jan 2009 - Dec 2010
Joe Grint
Jan 2011 - Jan 2012
Anthony Charnock
Jan 2012 - Sep 2013
Sue Gaffney
Oct 2013 - Dec 2015
Rahel Guzelian
Jan 2016 on
 

NB: The first few months of a new booker's reign were generally booked by the previous incumbent.

Dylan and Simon at The Topic?
The legend is that Paul Simon and/or Bob Dylan visited The Topic: is there any truth in it?
 

The Topic site history page was once a bit thinner than it is now, and in a bid to increase the overall quantity of real facts it used to carry this note of a legendary tale:

"A lot has happened since 1957 - for instance, a possibly apocryphal incident in which Paul Simon (presumably on a tour of one-night stands, suitcase and guitar in hand) was rejected as a floor singer in about 1964 or something. Does anyone know the truth of this? Or anything else?"

Trevor Charnock - secretary of the club in the 70s and 80s - had this to report on the matter in February 2004:

"The bit you have on the web site about Paul Simon I should clear up for you. At the same time as I was doing the research [for the 25th anniversary history] a couple of stories were given to me by two or three different people.

"One was that Bob Dylan on his first visit to this country was travelling around and dropped into the Topic and did a floor spot but the Committee at that time did not think he was worth a booking. The other concerning Paul Simon was that he did the club for the door take.

"I asked around but was never able to find anybody who had been there on those supposed nights and never found any documentary evidence. I did however talk to Bill Leader who worked for Topic Records in those days, before he established his own recording studio in Greetland Leader/ Trailer Records. His take on it was that it could have happened as at the time when they were moving about this country on their first visits here there were very few clubs outside London, so it was a possibility that it could have happened.

"I was contacted several times by people researching Bob Dylan who had heard the tale; but as I told them there was no firm proof about it.

"It does make a good tale but should be really put down as a myth or legend."

Since this was written, there has been another "sighting" of Bob Dylan - John Waller spoke to someone who says he remembers seeing Dylan at some point in the early days. Once more, though, the evidence is not very precise or specific.

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