67 Berwick Street in 2018 (photo Rob Hansen)

Here in the 21st century, it's difficult to imagine any city in Britain where a fan group could afford to rent premises for a clubroom, yet up into the 1960s groups in places such as Cheltenham, Liverpool, and Bradford had managed to do just that. Envious London fans wanted something similar for themselves. In October/ November 1956 one of their number, Helen Winick, came up with a proposal that could have provided what they were looking for. Below is the flyer she sent out:

Introducing.....THE SPACE CLUB.

Those fen who have bravely beaten their way through the trackless jungles of my previous articles will know that I have a way of getting Mixed Up In Things! The latest is that I have become a partner in a West End club...(sorry, Chuck, not the kind with Parisian floor shows, just a comfortable room with a bar and a gramophone!) As there is a room upstairs empty save for inset couches, we thought suddenly of starting a Space Club, primarily for fen. When we'd recovered from our unwonted attack of brilliance and got down to figuring out the details, it worked out roughly like this:—

We have already about five hundred members in the Club downstairs, ranging from writers and stars to a most charming burglar; my partner is an author and journalist himself so it's quite well established. The licence can be expanded to include us, so that's O.K. Speaking for myself alone, I've often had to abandon interesting conversations at the Globe for lack of anywhere to go on to when it closed, or waited on street—corners for unpunctual friends, or missed visitors from out of town. With the WorldCon coming up in London next year, these problems are going to be multiplied for every active fan, and this Club would provide a convenient, exclusive, central place from which to operate. If you want to rehearse, or read, or meet someone, or play music, or just sit there it would be.

I've always believed in making a success of things from small beginnings, rather than indulging in spectacular flops, so this is that I'd like to suggest. If within two weeks we have received sufficient applications for membership to warrant it, we will go ahead with decorating and open as soon as possible. If it continues to be supported, we can branch out into a library, duplicators, and other signs of fannish gracious living! On the other hand if everybody crawls away into their shells, we do the same in six months and refund the balance of subscriptions. Fair enough?

The grapevine support seems to be enthusiastic so far, and I think myself that it could develop a terrific personality and life theft. It's five minutes from everywhere...the Royal, the theatres, Piccadilly Circus, and with the best and cheapest market in London almost outside the door, but that's my domestic side coming out!

Membership, 21/- a year, 10/6 country, overseas Con visitors honorary guests for the duration. Given through propositioning (do I mean that?) by two other members or through my own knowledge....which obviates the need for a suspension clause.

Incidentally, it will be closed during pub hours on Thursdays...we want to establish a new a tradition, not supersede an old one.

Over to you, fen!

Helen Winick,
67 Berwick Street,
London, W.1.

Alas, this came to nothing, but it did at least provide the inspiration for a filk song