Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022

The First 100 Years - 1885 - 1985

In July 1953 an Extraordinary General Meeting was called to alert the attention of the members to the seriousness of the financial state of the Company. An appeal for greater support was made to all the members. In 1955 a small fire broke out in the let offices but little real damage resulted. In the same year, Peter, the barman disappeared and the C.I.D. were informed. Diplomatic discretion prevailed, the minutes on this matter are scanty but we must assume he had become confused about the ownership of some of his employers property. Alarm surrounded the increase of the Water Rate. It went up from £4.6.3 to £5.10.3 in one leap. So punch drunk have we become by ever increasing costs we accept todays figure of £300 + per annum without comment.

Despite the difficulties we still felt it necessary to guard our vutward image, just as we had done in the 30's. A minute clearly forbids the presence of trade vehicles in the Club's car park. The matter was brought to my attention when I joined. I would have loved to have asked why Land Rovers used by many of the prosperous farmers and landed gentry were not considered to be trade vehicles, but I didn't have the courage to enquire.

In September 1960 a small minute sows the seed for what I consider the most important happening in the 100 years under review. I quote: "Arising out of a letter from Mr. R. A. Paterson on behalf of the Diocesan Board of Finance the question of purchasing the Club premises was discussed and the Board agreed to give serious consideration to the matter... "

Several years before Granville Haskell had approached the Chairman H. S. Gotelee to contact the landlords with a view to purchasing the premises but he could not persuade the directors at that time. The Directors of the day were Granville Haskell (Chairman), Dr. Mervyn Gonin, Bill Block, Jack Ridley, Jim Roberts, Philip Woodward, Harry Edmunds, Allan Gotelee and Herbert Zinno Each one a character in his own right, many of them still with us today. It is the opinion of many of us who knew the Club at this time that had it not been for this opportunism and foresight of these gentlemen the Club might never have reached the birthday which we celebrate this year.

Happenings of this era are well recorded for all to read so I will precis events highlighting the main points.