Thursday, 09 Dec 2021

The First 100 Years - 1885 - 1985

A garden boy was employed to attend the large lawn, fish pond, vegetable garden and at one time a tennis court. In addition he had to keep an eagle eye on the play. When a game of bowls was in progress he had to wipe each wood with a yellow duster before presenting it to the member about to play. On busy days a waiter would be called to assist in this service.

The staff at the outbreak of the 1939 war was about a dozen. He remembers, the Steward and Stewardess - Mr. & Mrs. Edwards, Cook - Emily, Kitchen boy - Tom, Kitchen Maid - Rose, Chamber Maid - Annie Roberts, Garden boy - Fred Farrow (later Suffolk Regiment), Head Waiter - Henry Geldarn, 1st Waiter - Eddy Plummer (with memories), 2nd Waiter - Tommy White (later Merchant Navy), Dining Room Waiter - Don Brown

Games nights always produced a crowded club, as they do today. Snooker, billiards, and darts, in the room at the front now the bottle store, all drew equal support. These occasions overwhelmed the waiter service and members wrote down their drinks on a pad, complete with string and pencil placed on the bar.

Payment was made at the end of the evening. It was (and thankfully still is) a "Gentlemans" Club. Eddy feels that sufficient time has elapsed for him to tell, without offence, of a parlour game sometimes played at the end of the games evenings when members spirits were high. The game involved two members lying at full length on the floor, head to head and feet furthest from each other. Their left hands were held by their sides. In their right hands, after being blindfolded, was placed a rolled newspaper. One would cry "Are you there Moriarty?" His opponent would move and call out"Yes". The member would rise and lash out at his opponent in the direction of the voice. The roles were then reversed, points were awarded according to "strikes". Usually the dual ended in a free for all until the newspapers became too shredded to continue play.

Thank you Eddy Plummer. He left us to take up a post as footman at Hubbards Hall at Harlow in Essex.

The outbreak of the 1939 war saw many members on active service, some of them for the second time to challenge the Hun. Thank goodness my generation has been spared this second experience. So many of these men must have been away just when their professional careers and families were at the most interesting period.