Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022

The First 100 Years - 1885 - 1985

Keith Pert designed the bar with his characteristic attention to detail with harmonious result. Officially opened by the Chairman of the day H. ]. Lucas on the 21st December 1963. Free drinks added £9.17.4 to the budget. Obviously the "last straw" causing the subs to go up to 15 gns and the lunches now to be 7s/6d (37p).

It would be remiss of me to let this era pass without reference to the Stewardess of the time,. Mrs. Lifford. Nancy, as she was known to some of the more privileged members, ruled us with a rod of iron. A large lady, in all respects, suffered no inhibitions of subservience. Her forthright character sometimes called for diplomatic management when the immovable lady met an equally immovable member. Her cooking was superb. Dover Soles, so large as to overlap a dinner plate on both sides, well - a weekly treat. Nancy would have had no time for "portion control" or budgets. Furthermore, the dining members didn't make too much effort to enlighten her.

Another member of staff who served us almost without a break for many years was Winifred Walker. Winnie had been trained in service, she was quiet, efficient, 12 always discreet, knew not only everybodys name (a great help to a new boy like me) but their fads and faQ.cies, who liked custard and who didn't, who always complained about the food being too hot and who always felt it was too cold.

Always diplomatic, one day Winnie was confronted by a member who only dined with us when he had experienced temporary financial embarrassment! The member went through the usual pocket searching act whereupon Winnie quietly said' 'I expect you would like to pay next time, Sir?" He always did, and couldn't possibly have complained, the comment was so politely made.

Running an establishment handling cash and drinks can have its management hazards. From time to time staff have had to be relieved of their duties when a stocktaking check revealed cold tea in the whisky bottles. On the whole, however, we have been fortunate with our staff. It is always hoped that human temptations are soon detected.

The late Eric Cook, a retired Inspector of Taxes and a member, became our Secretary in 1965. He overhauled the book-keeping which had lapsed in previous years.

So prosperous and active was the Club by 1965 that seven members signed a petition to move that no new members should be admitted. This petition coincided with the nomination of yours truly. Whether or not this was purely accidental the minutes don't record. The four delayed nominees were sent a letter of explanation. I, apparently, was the only one to reply before the next meeting so i was let in!