Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022

The First 100 Years - 1885 - 1985

The third dining area, the Kitchen, housed a large deal table around which the farmers would sit, usually on Tuesdays, market day in Ipswich. Philip Woodward, Geoffrey Ball, Jack Chappel, George Stedman, Aubrey Pratt and Geoffrey Clarke were some of the usual diners. After a good lunch the dice were always called for to decide the unlucky diner to pick up the bill. I think the practice sometimes still remains but fewer farmers limit their visits to market day.

This room, during the reign of our first lady manager was transformed with brighter curtains and new whitewood tables and chairs. That's why it was called Kates Kitchen, or by some of my fellow Directors Page's Folly. Yours truly usually being one of the prime movers in trying to brighten the place up a bit. The late Johnny Cobbold took me aside one day shortly after the bottle green and cream tobacco stained decorations had been replaced by brighter hues, as advised by the ICI colour consultants, and said "Don't make the place too posh, we like it a bit scruffy you know!".

I am indebted to one Eddy Plummer for writing to me from Devonshire. In retirement. He gives a detailed view of the Club from the inside. He worked as a waiter in the years preceding the 1939 war joining the staff at the age of 15. The most important daily job for Eddy and the other junior waiters was to rub down and clean the brass plate outside the front doorway. It had to be left like a shining beacon portraying an aura of respectability to the outside world. The inside of the building hardly matched this shining symbol, in fact, "tatty" would have been an appropriate description. Eddy still remembers the members of the day and their favourite drinks which he was expected to know without being asked. Dr. Hoyland, the Police surgeon, drank "bloody cough mixture" - gin and Italian; Mr. R. Meneer Snr, French vermouth; his son K. Meneer, with large walrus moustache, a tankard of Tollys; Mr. Tony Waters, whisky and polly (apollinaris); Tony Grimwood, Auctioneer, frequently in hunting gear, a tankard of ale.

The Card Room at the top of the stairs on the left (a beautifully proportioned room, I think even nicer than the Adam Room) accommodated the card playing quartet Dr. Henry, Col. Horsefield, Mr. Wyatt and Mr. Waters. A fee for use of this room had to be collected by the waiter at a tactfully chosen moment. Wines and spirits were delivered weekly into the hatch by the small front door.

Miller & Sidgwick in the Thoroughfare and Cowells were the suppliers. After a shoot Jackdaws were hung in the same cellar to ripen and eventually cooked and served, maggots and all! By noon the forecourt would be almost filled with members cars including a Model T Ford with dicky seat belonging to Mr. Tracy (tankard ale!)