The former Nottingham City Hospital leisure centre has started to be knocked down, and former members have been sharing their memories there on social media.
In 1974, the centre opened, and used to have a capacity of just over 300 people, acting as a leisure centre and social club.
It was also used as venue for live performances and had a bar onsite which served drinks to customers.
The centre itself was gifted to the hospital, and the Trust which runs the hospital, now called Nottingham University Hospitals, started a large fundraising effort to get it open and functioning.
According to hospital historian Paul Swift, who joined as a member the first day he started working at the hospital, it was the ‘go-to’ place.
He described the centre as the ‘epicentre of social life at the hospital’.
Speaking to Nottinghamshire Live, Paul said: “It really was the go-to place and the epicentre of the hospital’s social life, and when I started it was the beating heart of the hospital.
“It was quite something, and to see it going down now leaves me with a tinge of sadness.
“I knew what the reaction would be when people would see it being knocked down, there’s been so many people who have been pouring their hearts out.
“After you’d finished your shift at the hospital, everyone would say let’s go there afterwards, it was just something you did, it was so enjoyable.”
The centre itself closed in September 2020 after the business was deemed to not be sustainable due to the pandemic and lack of funding.
A proportion of members then formed Butcher’s Pencil Micro Club in Top Valley later in 2019 so members still had somewhere to meet.
Personal money was used by members to keep it going, and no loans were used when the original plan was formed.
The club has a premises which includes a pub on Beckhampton Road, and plans to raffle off some old parts of the building.
Tarnya Cokkinos, of the club, said: “It’s quite sad to see the original building go in a way, but unfortunately that building has become extremely tired.
“We’re going to raffle off old bits of the building to raise some money for the club.
“Lots of good memories and friendships were made at that place and are still forged now through past and present members at our current club.
“Gone are the days of big clubs really.
“There are some members who have retired here after working together for 40, 50 years in some cases, it’s really nice to still have a place where people can come and get together.
“And moving forward, this is gaining popularity among the community.”
On the Nottingham Hospital History Facebook page, members have been sharing their stories and memories of the former site.
Ann-Marie Walker commented: “I worked there when I lived in nurses home in 1996. Working there helped me financially. The pay day discos were great and what a laugh we all had making friendship groups. I even had my 40th there.”
Steve Reckzowski commented: “Started my journey as a porter in 1982 and the centre was a great place to socialise, spent many a lunch hour with some great characters over the years. The end of an era.”
Karen Holmes commented: “Such a shame. We had our wedding reception there in 1986. There was a 50th birthday there, and numerous visits when working at City.”
Kevin Brett commented: “Where I had my first pint in Nottingham. Great place to go between a ‘late early’ shift when living in staff accommodation.”
Carol Roebuck commented: “So sad to see this go, have many happy memories of this place in the early 80s as a student nurse.”
Sarah Bemrose commented: “I loved it in there, it was timeless and they did great cheesy chips! I felt really sad when I walked past it.”
Julie King commented: “Many a long stressful shift mulled over with colleagues and a much needed drink.”
Norma Bassford commented: “So many great memories and time’s spent there. Sad day really.”
Carol Henthorn commented: “What a shame! Some wonderful times there! And great fish finger sandwiches!”
Aisla Nicholls commented: “I remember some great lunch time meets in here with their banging cheesy chips with lovely colleagues. End of an era.”
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