By the early 1890's the Bolton Socialists felt strong enough to rent premises in Back Cheapside and open the town's first Socialist Club. They served beer, established a library, provided entertainment in the form of chess, draughts and bagatelle, and to 'every genuine socialist on the road' the club gave one shilling provided the person in question could answer a number of questions posed by the barman.
Regular outdoor meetings were held on the Town Hall square as well as indoor 'lectures' and 'improvement classes' some times with nationaly known speakers such as Eleaner Marx (daughter of Karl) and her husband Dr Aveling who spoke at the Spinners Hall on 'The Evolution of Socialism'.
Despite its success however, the club hit its first crisis in November 1896 when the secretary resigned 'because he was being constantly grumbled at'. To make matters worse there were no nominations for the bar committee. It was agreed to abolish the bar and buy 10lbs of tea.
However, this situation lasted only a month, by December the bar was open again.