Historic Keighley Pop and Pasty social club is to become Islamic madrassa

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Abid Madni, owner of the building and supporter of the change-of-use application, in front of the Pop and Pasty Abid Madni, owner of the building and supporter of the change-of-use application, in front of the Pop and Pasty

Keighley’s historic Pop and Pasty social club, which opened as a teetotal haunt for political activists, will be reborn as an Islamic madrassa.

Bradford Council planners have just approved a scheme to turn the downstairs part of the abandoned North East Ward Liberal Club into a Muslim education centre. Keighley agents AA Planning Services submitted the plan, which includes creating a three-bedroom dwelling on the upper floor of the Bradford Road building, opposite Victoria Park. And a spokesman said their client would be delighted.

“We were only told this morning it had been approved and it’s good news,” he said. “The applicant is very keen to start work as soon as possible. No structural work is needed just some cosmetic improvements and there is still stuff to move out including a big old pool table. The aim is to create a centre for a range of educational activities”.

Built as two terraced houses and opened in 1908, the Pop and Pasty has no off-road parking according to the application. However, that did not stop it being a thriving social club in its prime. Dwindling numbers meant it ran at a loss until closing in March 2012. At the time, club spokesman Marjorie Atkinson called the closure “the end of an era”.

The North-East Ward Liberal Club opened as a political club, gaining its nickname from the non-alcoholic refreshments on offer. The club gained a drinks licence in 1932 and became independent in 1948, even though it retained its Liberal title.

And in 1981 the club was still so popular that it put in expansion plans to Bradford Council to take over an adjoining house. But that scheme was turned down after neighbours objected.

No objections were made against the change of use to a madrassa. After being closed for a year, decades of memorabilia were cleared out including a framed Second World War roll of honour which was re-homed.

The gutted Pop and Pasty was then sold to its current owners ready for redevelopment.

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