When town centre pubs closed between 3 and 6 o'clock in the afternoon, the club gradually became one of the favourite places to get a drink. This reached its height during the second world war when it was used by many, many service men - when one looks at the 'visitors' book it sometimes seems impossible to have so many people in the club at one time.
'Wood Street Club', as it became known, gained an unenviable reputation as a haunt of drunks, prostitutes and black-marketeers.
As Jim Paulden remembered, 'From then on, the club, in spite of generous donations to political and other causes, steadily accumulated funds.'
Among Boltonians the club’s notoriety became legendary - persisting into the 1980's when the drinking laws were relaxed and made famous in Jim Cartwight’s play 'Road':
'Wood street Drinking Club. A woman was crapping behind the piano. Two men were fighting over a pie. A row of prostitutes were sitting there, still made up as in war years. I chose the three pounds thirty-two one and bent her over the billiard table in the back room'.
Memories of Wood Street. 'It were a bad bastard day when they closed it. My friend slashed on the town hall steps in protest. But it were done with.'
But this was only part of the picture as we shall see below.