Thursday, 27 Jan 2022

The First 100 Years - 1885 - 1985

The fall in membership brought about difficulties with the finances and the bank balance went £386' into the red.

To keep their spirits up, the 1941 Annual Dinner set them back six shillings a head. As an economy measure the premises were closed on Sundays from May to September.

By 1946 glimpses of optimism were to be seen. They opened the Club, presumably including the bar, all day to celebrate Victory Day, and provided a Luncheon for three bob (shillings to the younger members and 15p to the even younger young members). Sunday evening opening was also restored.

Young members came back to "Civvy Street' " some sons of existing members. Names like Gotelee, Block, Haskell and Harrison were to be perpetuated on the membership list. Forgive me for picking just one name from the post war welcome invasion, Granville Haskell. His father Hugh Haskell and his grandfather James had been members for many years. Granville and his friends brought a breath of fresh air into the daily life of Archdeacon's House. Their presence was resented a little by some of the protected custodians of wartime club life. No harm done after a few words of wisdom from the Chairman of the day. Jumbo Haskell, as he is known to his friends, has been a staunch supporter of the Club since he joined in 1946. He has served as Chairman and as a Director for over 25 years. Longer than any other Director, I believe. It is invaluable for the ever changing board to have this continuity. A person to whom we frequently turn for past experience. His passwords ' ,You will not lose by it" can certainly be echoed by the Board who still value his advice and experience. Even his sheer mass has been used to advantage. Some ten years ago a small crack appeared in the ceiling of the bar. The experts were called in. Quite disturbing suggestions were made: iron girders were to be placed beneath the offending crack, and a stanchion was to be popped into the middle of the room and embedded in the cellar.

Oh dear! Heaven forbid that this lovely room should be so desecrated. Sanity prevailed. Somebody suggested that we should take up the Adam room floor and have a look.

The tiny crack had been there for well over 50 years when the building was first wired for electricity. The timbers and construction would have supported an elephant.

At this time another heavyweight director, Dick Cooper had been ordered to lose four stone in weight. Granville and Dick took a bet to see who could lose the most weight pro rata. After the weigh-in the two jogged around the Adam Room stripped to the waist! Not a pretty sight, these two heavyweights. Much less pretty would have been boxed girders on vertical poles in the middle of the panelled bar.