As it approaches its 150th anniversary, Neil Connor looks at the modern challenges facing Birmingham's longest-running gentleman's club.

Nestled in the picturesque surroundings of the last Georgian square in Birmingham, it is a gentleman's club far removed from the modern breed of lap dancing bars.

St Paul's Club is set in a postcard scene, with its central church and pleasant open space, and is very much a part of the historic fabric of the city.

However, a small piece of history was made in 2000 when a woman took the chair at the club for a celebration dinner in honour of the Queen Mother's 100th birthday.

It was supposed to be the first time a woman had been handed such a privilege at the club which - at the time - had no female members.

In the same year, Susan Crosthwaithe, a non-smoker from Handsworth Wood, became vice president of the Birmingham Cigar Club, which was launched at the St Paul's Club in 1998.

Indeed, over the last year, a Ladies Night has even been held at the oldest running Gentleman's club in Birmingham.

So it does seem that the last refuge for professional males in Birmingham is moving with modern times. And officials at St Paul's would point to the club's constitution, which has allowed for women members for some years.

Although the club may have a past steeped in tradition, it has not been shielded from the very modern developments in the city.

The modern Square on the Square development, which involved the building of 22 apartments adjacent to St Paul's Club's Grade II listed premises was finished only months ago.

Officials at Parkstone Developments were involved in lengthy discussions with members of the 148 year-old club over plans for a £5 million revamp of the historic square.