Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022

The First 100 Years - 1885 - 1985

It is a convention, if not a rule, that one does not leave the billiards room during play. However, as the two players became older and their drinking became heavier they agreed to relax the rules, slide out of the sash window and accommodate themselves in the fish' pond. No harm done, in fact the fish positively thrived from the additional alcohol in their diet.

The tale most frequently recalled relates to one Eric Manby, a barley merchant, devoted to the Club but disliking the somewhat scruffy interior decided to arrange for some decorators to scale the wall at the weekend, enter the Club and redecorate the bar at his own expense. His good deed, well intended, drew the wrath of the Chairman and he was asked to resign. He appealed against the decision but lost. One director resigned over the decision.

I too have always felt the judgment rather harsh but I gather the poor man suffered from what are described in poljte medical circles as "noisy habits" making his presence in the bar not alwayswelcome. Perhaps this didn't help his case!


The playing of games has always been a leisure pursuit. The records speak of bowls, with Framlingham woods, a set of which were presented to the Ipswich Museum. Tennis, presumably on a court in the garden at the rear. Darts in the Dart Room just above the cellar. This surprised me, I have never thought it to be a gentleman's club game. Obviously I am wrong. Bridge in the Card Room, still played today. Stanley Ward in his caricature is depicted playing chess. Yes, he really did scratch his head with his fan shaped hand as depicted so ably by Leslie Harrison. A Shove Ha'penny board is mentioned. Poker dice are available for the farmers who used them to decide who paid for their Tuesday lunch. A Squash Racquets Court was proposed but not sanctioned, as was roller skating, but I don't think the proposer was serious, just being rude about the waning popularity of the bowling green.

However, the attraction of the green baize has always been with us, long before television or Pot Black gave it todays popularity.

Originally one room existed. A second table was introduced into a specially built room on the west side in 1924 and opened in 1926. The building cost £750 and was funded by loan shares of £5 each from members. Colonel Horsfield donated the oak floor at no cost. The table was bought from Temple Wrinch for sixty pounds.