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Listing is key to save Variety Club.

Maureen Prest with the key used for the club's official opening, courtesy of Huddersfield Examiner.

Maureen Prest with the key used for the club's official opening, courtesy of Huddersfield Examiner.

 

Losing Batley’s most iconic building would be a travesty and it should be protected.

That was the view of former promotions and public relations officer Maureen Prest, who has launched a campaign to turn the former Variety Club into a listed building.

The News revealed last week that the premises - now the Frontier nightclub - could be demolished by developers.

The Variety Club, which attracted stars including Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones and Louis Armstrong in its heyday, could be torn down to make way for a retail park or office complex.

And Mrs Prest, of Birstall, has contacted English Heritage to ask if the club can be placed on its register of listed buildings to save it from demolition.

She said: “It is my belief that the building should be listed as a special site of historical interest.

“It put Batley on the international map and was the most ingenious piece of social engineering, a place for everyone to enjoy.

“Batley Variety Club is part of the fabric of the town and should be saved.”

Mrs Prest, of Birstall, was given one of only two golden keys from when the club was opened by the Bachelors in 1967.

She has also written a book on the late Variety Club founder James Corrigan, called King of Clubs.

The book charters the life story of Mr Corrigan, who died aged 74 in December 2000.

Mrs Prest described Mr Corrigan’s transformation of the former sewage works site in Bradford Road into one of the world’s most attractive venues as “a magical feat”.

She said: “He changed the lives of the people in the area.

“He transformed a smutty little mill town and gave Batley pride and respectability. He blew the bugle so loud they heard it in America.

“This prompted the best in show business to come to the town and enjoy the warmth of the hard working people of the north.”

Mrs Prest has also contacted Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood and wants to hear from anyone who will support her campaign to have the building listed.

Writer and broadcaster Ian Clayton is among those supporting the campaign.

He said: “Batley Variety Club certainly did put the town on the map, not because it was there, but because of what it did.

“I am always firm in my opinion on what should happen to buildings with stories to tell and it’s this, don’t leave it to developers to decide but leave it to the people who live nearby.”

To support Maureen’s campaign, email maureen818@btinternet.com.

 

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