Club No 8 dominoes tribute to ‘Hard Card Tom’ ​loses Stokey basement bid

Club No 8 wanted a licence to operate in Stoke Newington Road. Picture: Google Street View

Club No 8 wanted a licence to operate in Stoke Newington Road. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Google Street View

An application to turn a basement venue into a dominoes club in tribute to “Hard Card Tom” has been turned down by Hackney Council.

Ian Steele wanted permission to serve alcohol until 1am at the weekends at Club No 8 in Stoke Newington Road.

He wanted the place to become a base for the charity he set up, called the Tiptom Sports Association – a tribute to his parents, Stephanie and Ivan, and grandparents from Guyana.

Stephanie moved to the UK in 1960 soon followed by Ivan or Tip-Tom. Following a successful sporting career which saw him represent Guyana in soccer, hurdles and running, Tip-Tom took up playing dominoes in the UK and would play “wherever and whenever he could”.

A founder of the Caribbean Domino and Social Organisation, he would travel to play dominoes in the USA and Guyana and was fondly known as “Hard Card Tom”.

Mr Steele had formed a committee for the charity which he wanted to see provide cultural, educational and welfare advice to minority ethnic individuals as well as being a social club for families to socialise. But at his initial application last February one opponent questioned why Mr Steele wanted permission to play amplified music in the venue if the plan was for the club to hold domino tournaments.

The application was adjourned for a year while more information was sought on its charitable intentions and from police.

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This time, Kerrie Ryan from the Met’s licensing unit has advised the council: “Police are unable to support this application due to the previous history of the applicant and the likelihood of what this venue will become.”

Mr Steele previously held a joint licence for Mount Strive further up the road, which was subject to a licence review in 2012 after a gun was pointed at a police officer outside. The licence was surrendered following another review the following year.

“Since Mr Steele has been the person in charge of this premises there have been several occasions where police have either physically come across him trading in the guise of a private party, or had reports of disturbances linked back to the venue,” added Pc Ryan.

The Gazette was unable to contact Mr Steele for comment.