The Everyman Club of Great Grimsby was founded in 1962 by Major Clixby Fitzwilliams and Alec Redshaw after Alec had attended a music festival in Bath and had been invited to a newly formed Everyman Club there. He came back enthused by the idea of starting something similar in Grimsby. He found a receptive ear in Major Clixby Fitzwilliams and in a matter of weeks they had drawn up their plans to start an Everyman Club in Grimsby.
In the early days The Club soon built up a large following which was only limited by the fire regulations at is venue The College of Technology which had just been built. It is believed this was capped at 400 and so a waiting list had to be kept! The Club held meetings there for 48 years before a forced relocation to The Humber Royal due building works at The College for a few years before returning to its historic home in 2012 where it continues to hold its meetings. Over the years The Everyman Club has hosted hundreds of speaker events and performances. There was a time when committee members went to The Dorchester in London to audition potential speakers, two of the early ones being Claire Rayner and Godfrey Talbot, neither of whom passed muster and naturalist James Fisher was chosen instead.
Click here to see the all the speakers since the club began.
Born in 1916 in London Major Fitzwilliams had a distinguished and varied military life serving in The Army, The RAF and The Royal Navy during World War 2. After the war he left the family home near Stamford and moved to Healing where he was to live for 60 years.
Much of their success in founding the Everyman Club was due to two factors: They were able to use the large lecture hall at the Grimsby College of Technology which was under construction at the time. They were able to find a Programme Secretary who had the ability both to attract distinguished speakers and performers and also to spot promising up and coming talent.
He served as a magistrate for 26 years and as a local councillor for 30 years He was a great supporter of the arts and culture and great collector of fisherman ornaments. In 1989 he was awarded an OBE for his services to the community of Grimsby. He also became Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire. He died in 2009 aged 92.
Alec was a local music teacher and went on to make a real name for himself in music circles far and wide. Performance wise he started as an accompanist, but also conducted the Cleethorpes Festival Choir and shortly afterwards took up the baton of The Grimsby Choral Society.
He studied in London under Frank Moore. In 1934 he formed The Grimsby Philharmonic Society and also took the Baton for The Hull Choral Union. He worked with some of the great musicians and soloists of his day. He was a great supporter of The Grimsby Central Hall and regularly took part in concerts there.
In later life he was involved in adjudicating at music festivals throughout the country and in Canada. Alec died in 1977
In the Grimsby Archives there are records of The Everyman Club from its inception. This image is the programme for the very first season in 1962