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The first Aberdare Constitutional Club was founded at premises in Commercial Place (Victoria Square) in 1884. In 1885 the Club moved to larger premises at 28 Canon Street, but as the club continued to prosper attempts were made to secure a new site for development.

In 1888 Lord Merthyr purchased the land on which the Aberdare Constitutional Club was to be erected. The plans of the building were approved and work had been completed by July 1893. The Constitutional Club contained 3 shops, a bar and the Constitutional Hall on the first floor; on the second floor a billiards room, card room, reading room, library and committee room; and the third floor contained the kitchens with a lift to the ground floor.

The Club was officially opened on 15th March 1894, when the opening ceremony was performed by J M Maclean, the Conservative candidate for Cardiff. When originally constructed the architecture of the Constitutional Club was more ornate than it is now. This photograph shows the balustrade that ran along the roof, the clock tower and the rather imposing ornamental porch.

The Constitutional hall became an important place of entertainment for the population of Aberdare, being used in a number of different ways as the tastes of the inhabitants changed. In 1905 the Hall became the ‘Palace Theatre of Varieties’, and in 1909 reopened as the ‘New Empire Theatre’. After the Theatre closed down the ‘Empire Hall’ became a ballroom and concert hall. In the 1960’s the Hall was converted into the ‘Go-Go Bar’ and its last incarnation was as the ‘Decker’s Nightclub’. It is now currently being run by the Aberdare Constitutional Club as ‘Churchills’.

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January 2018
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