End of an era as Peterhead OAP Club closes

Peterhead OAP Club chair, Wilma Rafferty, on behalf of all the committee, talks of happier times at the club following the decision to close...

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 6:50 am
The Peterhead OAP Club's premises in Windmill Street.

It is with great sadness and regret that I have to announce the closure of Peterhead OAP Club which has occupied the premises at 21 Windmill Street since 1952. Meetings by members had been held in premises in Broad Street prior to that.

Firstly, a wee bit about the Windmill Street site. The building had been built as a church for an Antiburgher Congregation in 1794 and was known as the North Church. The Antiburghers were a break away group from the established Church. The building was then taken over by the Congregational Church in 1820 when the the Antiburgher movement broke up. The Congregational vacated the Windmill Streeet premises around 1870 when its new Church on Queen Street was completed. I don’t know what happened to the building during the period 1870-1952 but I know that my grandmother was among the first members to enter Peterhead OAP Hall in 1952. The building had been purchased from a fish merchant.

Then began the enhancement of the building which took many years until it reached its current state. Grants and donations had been received to help improve the building, as well as a lot of hard work by its members who raised funds by various means to make the club attractive and welcoming to its members. And that was the aim of the club – to provide a safe and comfortable environment for those of retirement age, where they could meet friends and make new ones while enjoying the various activities which increased over the years.

Line dancing was one of the popular activities held at the Peterhead OAP Club's premises in Windmill Street.

An indoor bowling area was created in the upstairs hall, thus affording the outdoor bowlers the amenity for use during the winter months. Many bowls have gone hurling down the length of the hall.

In the downstairs hall, ceildh and social dancing took place with many feet swirling around the floor. Line dancing was also popular. Bingo and whist nights were held, as well as an occasional Beetle Drive. Fish and Chip nights were a great favourite followed by dancing to popular musicians. A Halloween party took place each year as did the Christmas party and Burns Night – not forgetting the Hogmanay Party!

A Summer outing was arranged annually and members enjoyed a high tea on the way home. During Scottish Week the club members ran a Buttery Morning and Strawberry in the hall which was always well supported. Wednesday evenings were a great treat where members gathered to enjoy performances from local groups. The Salvation Army paid us a visit, as did Kedron Choir on several occasions. We also enjoyed some very interesting talks from talented and gifted speakers.

What went wrong then? Just the end of an era. Numbers went down over the years, recruiting new members became difficult, committee members could not be had, car parking was a problem since members no longer lived near the town centre – and then along came Covid.

I’m sure there will be many happy memories of the lovely times held at Peterhead OAP Club.

As I was clearing out a drawer at the club the other day I came across two name badges which read ‘Rev. L. D Cathels, 1st President of Peterhead OAP Assoc’ and ‘John Mitchell, 1st Treasurer of Peterhead OAP Assoc’.

It’s sad to say goodbye.

From the last Chairman and Committee of Peterhead OAP Club