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English Social Club Mayflower Struggles With Declining Membership

The organization's numbers are falling due to its aging members.

For nearly 50 years, British expatriates who migrated to the US after World War II have gathered at the Mayflower Club in North Hollywood to mingle and carry on their English roots with authentic cuisine and theater.

At its peak, the social club had a membership of more than 5,000 members, but with many of its original attendees reaching their 80s and 90s and eventually passing on, that number dwindled in recent years to about 600.

President Terrel Miller says the Mayflower isn't in danger of closing since the organization owns the building, though new members are needed to keep its spirit going.

"We're working on getting the younger crowd, the 40- 50- and 60-year-olds even," she said.

That's a young age bracket for the Mayflower, which attracts mostly seniors with bingo Tuesdays, murder mystery dinner productions and cabaret shows. There are also daytime gatherings with meals and access to a full English bar built in the late 1800s as well as classic movie screenings.

The venue is also open to non-Brits.

Miller herself is an LA native who joined the club more than 15 years ago when one of her real estate clients invited to an evening of British pantomime, a comedic performance piece that requires men and women to reverse their gender roles.

But for many seniors like Wendy Garrido, an English transplant who performs in Mayflower productions, the social club is one of the few opportunities left for socializing.

"I'm 70, it's the only social outlet for me now," she said.

To attract new members, Miller says she's started new events like scary movie showings, though to the chagrin of some of the Mayflower's older members.

"We're slowly getting people to come, but we're getting there," Miller said.

Membership for a family to the Mayflower requires an annual $25 fee, which includes discounts to stage productions and a monthly magazine of events.

To view a calendar of upcoming events at the social club, click here.

The venue also played host to a viewing party of last year's royal wedding.

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