...In 1952, and for many years Ukrainians and their families met socially and celebrated cultural and religious events at various public venues around Doncaster, such as St Peter’s Church Hall, the Catholic Club, The George Hotel and many more. The gathering together being more important than the venue, as it would be 1956 before any communication (then heavily monitored) could be had with families back in Soviet Ukraine, and visits would not be possible until after the Glasnost period leading to the break-up of the old Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Ukrainian schools were held on Saturday mornings over many years at venues such as Beechfield School and the old St Peter’s School, with pupils being taught carols to sing when visiting the homes of Ukrainians every Christmas. [As the religious calendar followed is Greek Orthodox Catholic, Ukrainian’s in this country are lucky enough to celebrate 2 Christmases (and often 2 Easters) due to Christmas day falling on 7th January].
Then in 1979 the Association Committee, despite some conservative voices, took the bold decision, at a meeting above the White Bear pub, to buy the main portion of the present club buildings.
Those early members put their own time and toil into renovating the building; even constructing the solid bar that stands today. They then took on the day to day running of the club, which, despite being one of the last to be opened in the UK, was a great success. Membership swelled to 150 Ukrainian, and 100 non-Ukrainian members, and proved against all doubts to be a very profitable venture. But its main aim was always to provide a cultural and social centre for the Ukrainian, and wider community in the area. It has seen weddings, festivals, visits by Ambassadors and Mayors, Ukrainian touring sports teams, dance, opera and music troupes; even being extended in later years to incorporate a stage and changing facilities plus an upstairs Snug lounge.
Currently it finds itself home to various Folk evenings and the annual Doncaster Folk Festival as well as other wider local community events. Regular open evenings are Monday’s (Folk music club) and the Thursday’s club evening, with the last Thursday of the month being a social evening featuring a fun quiz and guest beer(s). Guests are welcome to join us.
So, whilst quieter days are with us now, the club still springs to vivid life when needed, and we hope you can pay us a visit sometime.