Thursday, 27 Jan 2022

The First 100 Years - 1885 - 1985

For the second time in forty years visiting officers were made welcome by the Club. The fee 1 guinea for the duration of war.

Shields around the present bar remind us of the many branches of the fighting services where Club members served. Tankards still in use in the bar bear inscriptions from visitors from locally sited aerodromes manned by Americans as well as British volunteers. At the end of the war HMS Ganges presented a silver ink stand and pen tray to the Club from grateful visitors. Regretfully it was stolen by an intruder and no longer remains to record their appreciation of friendship and good drinking, enjoyed by hosts as well as visitors, during the years of hostility.

No direct war damage to the premises is recorded, although the building must have been shaken by a daylight bomb falling in the middle of St. Margarets Green and another in Lower Brook Street by the County Club.

As would be imagined, the war years saw no great developments. It was really a matter of keeping affairs afloat during difficult years. The premises had been repainted externally in 1937 so little was done outside. Incidentally the cost of outside painting was £44.18.0. In 1975 I recall the bill was around £4000. Wartime regulations required a Firewatcher, a person appointed to be on duty all night to deal with incendiary bombs for which a few buckets of water had to be left around and a hand operated stirrup pump. To help defray this and other additional costs a guinea had to be added to the subscription and car parking charges at one guinea per annum.

Rationing caused no lunches to be served on Saturdays and the price to go up by six old pence.

In 1942 the rent paid to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners was £250 per annum, not a great change, it was £200 p.a. in 1924, the wartime rent was frozen by The Rent Acts in 1939. What a stable economy we must have had in those days.

In wartime 1944 the pot holes in the front car park, the only car park at that time, became so dangerous that the Directors had to apply for a permit for 80 gallons of tar to patch the uneven surface. The pear crop from the cordons on the north wall of the garden were sold for five pounds. These sturdy espalier branches still crop well so the labours of one Percy Clover, the planter of the trees, have proved to be a wise investment of their cost £13.13.9 in 1943. The schoolboys who steal the crop from time to time must suffer severe stomach pains unless they take them home and boil them first.