John Taylor wrote in with the following:
Many older Durbanites will remember the plethora of sports and social clubs in the city. Almost everyone belonged to a club, starting with the Durban Club and the Durban Country Club at the upper end, the large school old boys clubs, many tennis, bowls, squash, soccer, and golf clubs, the Point and Royal Durban yacht clubs, and social clubs like the Merchant Navy and MOTH clubs.
The family went to the club for lunch on Sundays (served at ridiculously low prices), participated in or watched sport and quenched their thirsts in the bar, once again at ridiculously low prices. Club function rooms provided social evenings and dances, and hosted 21st birthday functions and wedding receptions, serving the usual curry and rice and chicken a la king!
In some cases membership waiting lists extended into years, like the Durban Country Club’s. How things have changed. Many tennis and bowls clubs have simply closed down. Others have amalgamated. The Durban Country Club is actively canvassing for membership. Golf clubs are advertising “last minute golf” on the internet and cellphones.
I was a member of the DHSOB Club for many years. Apart from the clubhouse, function room, and bar facilities, it boasted bowling greens, a swimming pool, tennis and squash courts, and one large cricket / rugby field, and a second rugby field. All that remains today is the run down clubhouse which is being advertised as a conference centre, bowling greens, and the main field, the rest having been sold as residential property.
Is this the result of changing social attitudes? Has the cost of running clubs, e.g. municipal rates, driven membership subscriptions too high? Have the liquor laws influenced the situation? Bars were closed on Sundays many years ago. Does the traditional club have any appeal to the younger generation? Is the “club”, in Durban, like the dinosaur, going to become extinct, and perhaps be limited to sports only?
It will be interesting to hear the opinions of contributors.