THE WORLD’S longest-running surviving folk club which began in Bradford six decades ago has celebrated the start of its diamond anniversary season.

The Topic Club made its debut appearance in the city in 1956 at the height of the Cold War as an opportunity for like-minded youths to get together, talk politics and sing.

Now in its 13th venue, it continues to meet on Thursday nights at Glyde House in Little Horton Lane at 8.30pm.

Former homes included the Irish Club in Rebecca Street, 22 years at The Star and ten years at The Melborn and according to club records it has only ever closed on about 40 club nights so far – usually Christmas and New Year – in its entire history.

Tony Charnock from the Topic said: “We have little reason to doubt our claim to be the longest running surviving club, but by any standards for a club to keep going on a weekly basis for 60 years through the inevitable ebbs and flows in the popularity of the genre is quite an achievement, to put it mildly.

“With the club in reasonable health financially, and a guest list stretching ahead 12 months and more – mostly performers who have come to us rather than us approaching them – the future as well as the past is looking bright. We will continue to present artists from the locality, the UK, and the rest of the world in its quest to provide top-quality live acoustic music in a concert setting in Bradford.”

Over the past 60 years there have been more than 2,500 club nights and as well as the paid guest acts, hundreds of other people have appeared on the Topic stage – paid guests, semi-professional support acts, visiting club exchanges, and local singers and musicians.

Well-known visitors over the years include Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl, Vin Garbutt, Dave Swarbrick, Martin Carthy, Maddy Prior, Gerry Rafferty, The Watersons, Mike Harding, Dick Gaughan and Kate Rusby and there is also evidence a very young Bob Dylan might have made a floor-spot appearance once.

This week the club marked the start of its special 60th anniversary season with a visit from singer-songwriter and guitar legend Michael Chapman who brought in a packed audience even invited guest Deputy Lord Mayer of Bradford, Alun Griffiths gave a song.

Coming up between now and Christmas are some of the folk world’s top acts including young award-winning duo Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar; Bob Fox who is a champion of the North East’s musical heritage, Dana & Susan Robinson from the USA, Brighouse bard Roger Davies, Jez Lowe from the North East who is bringing his Christmas show to the Topic, young band Bric a Brac featuring Bradford’s own girl made good Bella Gaffney. Entry on guest nights is £6 or £5 for members and the club is free on singers/musicians nights which start at 8.15 pm.

To find out more about The Topic and what is coming up, go to