Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022

The First 100 Years - 1885 - 1985

Thank you Jumbo for this and many other services. "You'll not lose by it!" Today the Chairman serves for a year, frequently he returns for a second year in office but seldom (never I hope) has a recent Chairman been required to do a third stint. It is desirable for todays leadership to be young and flexible.

Chairmen of yesteryear served for much longer. E. P. Tetsall served for seven years and gave not only vast amounts of time to the post-war administration but helped in the restoration and maintenance of the building. His knowledge as a Director of Wm. Brown, Timber Merchants, was invaluable. Harry Gotelee, of Gotelee & Goldsmith, Solicitors, also held office for many years. His son Alan, after a distinguished war service in the Royal Navy, a double D.S.C., presented the Chairmans Chair, a throne like seat still used today, in memory of his father's term of office during difficult years, 1952-1956.

Since 1951 domestic affairs have been dealt with by a House Committee. They deal with the ever recurrent problems of running a bar and catering. Sometimes, in the past, with difficult staff. Their job is to attend to the nuts and bolts of administration and keep the domestic wheels turning smoothly. The first House Chairman was W. H. (Harry) Edmonds. I found Harry (Sir, to me as a very junior member) a very stern and formidable character, especially so for one whose talents included running a factory making ladies underwear. But perhaps that's a very serious job! He possessed a positive paranoia about pirate car parkers, or ladies who stayed too long. A perfectionist who even had his own coat hanger in the cloakroom. He inscribed it "Harry Edmonds, not to be taken away". The temptation was too great, somebody had to amend it to "Harry Edmonds should be taken away" .

The early fifties appear to have been a low period for the Club. In 1951 lunches had temporarily to cease due to poor takings. The bed and breakfast charges went up to £3/13/6 a week. Additional income was derived from letting the Adam Room and the Card Room to Castleton & Elliott, a branch of a London firm of Chartered Accountants started and later taken over by Alec Paterson to become Paterson & Thompson. A 6% loan was secured from the landlords to carry out long overdue repairs to the building.