11. After Work

Chapels and Sunday Schools

In the late 19th Century every Chapel and Sunday School had its library, Mutual Improvement Society, Debating Society, lectures and Musical Events. All social events and outings centred around the Sunday School.

In the early 20th Century the Chapel and Sunday School still held the loyalty of their members, but improved transport (waggonettes and charabancs) and improved financial circumstances, gave opportunities to travel out of town and take part in Male Voice Choir Competitions, Brass Band Contests and Musical Festivals.

The years between the wars saw a decline in chapel attendance. People were widening their interests. Skating Rinks, cinemas, the Variety Theatre were new interests. Men had time to join societies and clubs, Floral, Pigeon, Bowling clubs, usually meeting in the local pub. There they could socialise, deal with club business and arrange their annual dinner or annual club outing.

Older women usually maintained links with the Sunday School and organised Fetes and Bazaars of 1 to 3 days duration, whilst the young girls would visit the cinema and walk up and down the "Monkey Run" in search of romance.


Many workers used their free time to follow sport, especially football. Thousands supported local teams. For many years these teams were amongst the country's leading clubs.

Cricket was also well established and Todmorden had clubs who played in the local Saturday league. Each club was allowed to employ one professional player, of whom probably the most famous was Learie Constantine who played for Nelson from 1929 - 37.

IMAGES ARE NOT FOR SALE – Please, do not remove the watermark or strip the metadata, thank you. PLEASE NOTE: IMAGES ARE FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY - PLEASE DO NOT REPOST For further information on the ROGER BIRCH COLLECTION please email danbirch1@hotmail.com