By Tony Attwood
The Chimneys Social Club, Twyford Road, Willington, County Durham, DE65 6PP
The first thing to say about Willington is that although the village is easy enough to find, I found the locating the club more difficult.
It shouldn’t have been like that: after all it is called the Chimneys, and it is right by three gigantic cooling towers from what was a power station. The problem I had was that I didn’t think of them as chimneys. I thought of them as cooling towers. So I was looking for thinner objects and drove straight past the club.
If you are approaching from the east the club is on your right before you get right into the village. There is a map here.
The club has got two function rooms and a bar, and I think I saw an Indian takeaway there as well. It is a place for burgers, rock n roll and car boot sales.
The room is spacious, certainly spacious enough for dancing on the night I was there, and the bar was at the other end with plenty of seating. The only problem was I had to ask for the fans to be turned on, and it was done.
It was a fine place to go, and people were friendly, but somehow it lacks a magical atmosphere. Maybe because a lot of people seemed to be there to have a natter with friends and have a few dances in between, so each time I asked a lady to dance I felt I was interrupting the conversation
- Air conditioning: 3 out of 5 – it didn’t get particularly hot, but I suspect it could do it if was really full up.
- Atmosphere: 2 out of 5. The hall isn’t designed for atmosphere sadly. It’s not bad but it is not brilliant because it is seated at one end and a dance floor at the other.
- Do ladies ask men: 2 out of 5. I was a stranger there – and in some places a stranger is always asked because he or she is a challenge. I was only asked for a dance twice in the course of the whole evening.
- Facilities: 2 out of 5 – parking was a problem. It was dark and the whole area out the back (the only place free by the time I found it) was just a mud patch. I didn’t know if I was going to sink or be on solid ground.
- Free water: Yes
- Friendliness: 4 out of 5. Despite my comments above when I asked, people were friendly. Perhaps they are just not used to single guys who they have never seen before, turning up on their own.
- Location: 2 out of 5. It seemed to me a long way from anywhere, down a lot of country lanes.
- Music: 5 out of 5. The best thing – and the fact that all the ladies were happy to dance when asked.
- Parking: See facilities above
- Space: 5 out of 5 – what is needed is more people there not more space.
- Venue overall: 3 out of 5. Not the fault of the organisers of the dance – it simply is a hard venue to make something special, especially if strangers are treated as people to be looked at rather than asked for a dance.