Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022

The First 100 Years - 1885 - 1985

Decorations in the Club have always been a controversial subject. It was just as difficult to please everybody in 1909 as it is today long before the ICI colour consultants were available. January 1909 records a suggestion signed by eight prominent members for the Dining Room to be white on lincustra paper only to be countermanded by a dark crimson frieze and canvas coloured wall paper.

Not so sombre were the habits of some members in the Smoking Room. April 1909 records a suggestion that, 'Members do not sing, otherwise annoy, or molest other members". The Secretary of the day was instructed to warn the offenders.

Mail was collected from the Club box four times a day. The 12.30 collection enabled letters to be delivered in London by 5.15 p.m. Not bad for 1Vi old pence. Todays price of 17p hardly compares.

The 1914 -18 war appeared to have very little effect upon the Clubs activities. The Directors invited all Regular or Territorial Officers on active service quartered in the district to become honorary members.

A rather odd incident followed a suggestion that a red light should be placed over the wicket gate in the Northgate wall. Before readers jump to the wrong conclusions I assume the dimmed red light had something to do with the blackout against Zeppelin raids. However, it was objected to by the Police and had to be removed.

From very early days, perhaps the outset, the premises were open to members every day, including Sundays. Rooms were available for members to reside on the premises. About half a dozen people "lived in" plus the staff who slept in the low attic rooms still existing above the flat. They can be reached by a small spiral staircase leading out of the Tack Room alongside the archway. Nostalgic explorers will be appalled by the lack of ventilation and tiny windows but rewarded by finding still in perfect preservation the original crown post in the roof beams. Equally rewarding is the sight, and smell, of the beautiful craftsmanship and detailed carpentry carried out by local workers in 1982 when heavy bulges in the front wall had to be remedied and restored.

A. H. V. Thompson, the Estate Agent tells me that he went from the Club, with the Best Man to his wedding. Rooms were also available for guests, overnight accommodation was available until around 1965. Hugh Green was the last member resident. He had rooms and a bathroom now part of the managers flat.