Mum ‘humiliated’ after she’s ‘told to leave social club bar due to her gender’

Julie Simpson visited Cargo Fleet Social Club, in Middlesbrough, to cheer on her darts playing partner, bur claims members allegedly shouted at them: ‘Get your lass out of here’

Julie Simpson said she felt 'humiliated' after she was told to leave the men's only area of a Teesside social club
Julie Simpson said she felt ‘humiliated’ after she was told to leave the men’s only area of a Teesside social club

A mum who claims she was ordered to leave a social club’s bar due to her gender is slamming the venue for having rules she “thought had vanished decades ago”.

Julie Simpson visited Cargo Fleet Social Club, in Middlesbrough, to cheer on her darts playing partner, only for members to allegedly shout “get your lass out of here” at her.

The alleged yelling happened after Julie stepped foot in the bar – where women were not permitted – rather than the lounge area.

But a club secretary has fired back, insisting rules are rules – and claimed they don’t let women enter the bar over fears they would be exposed to bad language or fighting.

Julie, who has worked in hospitality since she was a teenager, said she felt “humiliated” by the incident, and is now questioning why, in 2021, rules like this still exist.

The drama unfolded on Sunday night, after teetotal Julie drove herself and her partner to the Middlesbrough club for the darts league match.

The Cargo Fleet Social Club in Middlesbrough


Ian Cooper / Teesside Live)

She said: “We both went to the bar to order our drinks, and the next thing we knew we were being shouted at – they were shouting ‘get your lass out of here! Get your lass out of here! She’s not allowed in here so get her out!’

“It was really degrading – I just thought to myself what the heck? And it was just normal customers bellowing at me.

“But there was a woman barmaid in there, and as I was talking to her she just told me that they are ‘old fashioned in here’.”

Julie said she was left feeling about “two foot tall”.

She continued: “I turned to my other half and said ‘look, play your darts and I’ll come back and pick you up – but he said no. I go everywhere with him, and I’ve never experienced anything so horrible. It was disgusting.”

Julie claimed there were no posters on the club’s wall explaining the rules, nor did the barmaid flag it up.

Julie said there were no posters on the club’s wall explaining the rules, nor did the barmaid flag it up


Ian Cooper / Teesside Live)

Yet for the club’s secretary Brian Wilson, her gripes fall flat. He insists the venue is all about inclusiveness, citing the 300-plus women who drink there as guests – although as non-members they aren’t allowed a vote.

“They get a card, and they are allowed to go to the Christmas party – it is all free for them – and it seems the only person who is complaining is a woman from a different club,” he said.

“And I think she’s bulls******g, as we have a lady who plays five and threes every Wednesday, and she comes and sits in the same room as (the men).”

He believes her claims are an attempt to give the club “a bad name” – and insists the rules are there more to shield women from the antics of boozed-up blokes.

He added: “It is an old fashioned working men’s club and we don’t think it is right (to have women present) when there are men effing and blinding in the bar – it isn’t right when there are ladies sitting there.”

When asked if women are incapable of handling hearing swear words, he added: “Well some would. But if you had a couple in on a night out, and a fight breaks out at the bar, it isn’t very nice if tables are going over.

“We don’t have no lady members in the club, they are all guests and we have a dart room and we allow them to sit in the dart room.

“But because of the bad language situation and the drunken situation, we don’t like women in the bar.”

Legally, the 2010 Equality Act allows clubs or organisations to restrict membership to people who share a protected characteristic – which includes gender. Brian said the club aims to make women feel welcome.

“We have plenty of room for them, we have a great big lounge for them with music and bingo on. But if they do come with an away darts team, we do allow them to sit in (the darts room) but we do not allow them to go to the bar, unless they go to the bar in the lounge.”

He suspects the club is one of around “three of four” local venues that still prohibit women from entering the bar area.

The club’s rules mean women can visit as guests – but can’t be full fee-paying members. He added that they enjoy all the perks of the club, apart from access to certain parts as well as the vote given to the men who pay subs.

He added: “Our other lady members don’t have a problem with it, so I don’t see why someone from another place should. We do a lot for the community. We have a Christmas party for the pensioners – all women – they are not members but we pay for it

“They get £20 each, a good feed and a turn on. We’ve never had one complaint from a woman in this club. So for someone to come from another club and complain – I just can’t believe it.”

Yet Julie couldn’t believe she had fallen victim to rules she thought had vanished decades ago.

And she has also questioned that, if the venue is so concerned about women hearing bad language, why they would employ female barmaids.

“What happened would be degrading to any woman. The more I think about it, the more I feel discriminated against and degraded,” she said.

“To be shouted out, and told no women in here – I just don’t understand.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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