Newport's historic Orb club is up for auction
6:31pm Wednesday 27th February 2013 in News
A CENTURY-OLD social club is to go up for auction after becoming the latest victim of the struggling Newport economy.
The Orb Working Men's Club, in Jenkins Street, Lliswerry, shut its doors last April because of falling trade.
Since then it has been subject to break-ins and vandalism, which has seen it stripped of its lead roof flashing, and two plasma TV screens have been stolen.
The 110 year-old building is currently boarded up and is awaiting a new owner to give it a new lease of life.
The club, which opened in 1902 for steelworkers who worked at nearby plants, will be auctioned by Auction House South East Wales on March 7, with a guide price of between £80,000 and £100,000.
It is currently owned by around 40 club members, collectively known as the Orb Consortium, who put their money together to save it when it was threatened with closure three years ago.
They paid off its debts and ensured it could stay open for its members. But its reprieve was short lived as it struggled to survive in the declining economy.
Lliswerry councillor John Richards, who was club secretary for 30 years up until its closure, hopes someone will come forward to secure its future, instead of it being left a target for vandals.
The former structural engineer and draftsman, who formerly worked at Llanwern steelworks, said: "It's a business yes but it's also part of the community. Everyone did everything they could but we could not survive against the supermarkets giants.
It's not the first and it won't be the last club to close."
"It's a lovely building, I want it to go to a good home."
The club consists of a lobby and bar, a lounge, snooker room and main concert hall complete with stage and separate bar, which can accommodate 200 people.
Upstairs there is a separate function room and there is also a three-bedroom house on the premises, formerly used as manager's accommodation.
The auction takes place at Greenmeadow Golf Club, Cwmbran at 4pm on March 7.
Anyone interested in the property should contact Auction House South East Wales on 01633 212555.
Club was midwife to Newport County The club also made a major contribution to the sporting life of Newport after football-loving workers who arrived in South Wales from the midlands formed a football team at the club initially nicknamed the 'Ironsides'.
In 1912 the team became the core of the newly formed Newport County AFC.
There is divided opinion on whether the club's chosen colours of amber and black were chosen in honour of Wolverhampton Wanderers or Newport Rugby Football Club who both use the same colours.