This is the second of the three articles about our clubrooms that appeared in the club magazine and takes us to the early 80s.
Following on from ' A Home of Our Own ' I thought you might also be interested to know how the Clubroom was ' repaired, renewed and modified ' as our editor put it.
The front of the building looked the same as it does now except that protective plastic has had to be put over the windows because of vandalism. The rest of the building behind its brick facade was an Army-type wooden hut raised on the low brick wall now painted blue and it was lined with fibre board. The original floor is of paving stones and when we first moved in there was a hole in it, presumably where the Church safe had been. Before this was covered a tin was put in which contained a Club badge , magazine, etc for posterity to ponder upon.
The priest's room was were the kitchen is now but much smaller. At least there was a washbasin in there which meant that the water was already laid on at that end. The entrance lobby and wash rooms were created from reclaimed timber and plasterboard. The gent's loo could only be entered from the passageway outside and what is now the ladies' loo was the old confessional! That is where the double doors came from. The actual installation of the of the ladies' loo was one of the very few jobs we couldn't do ourselves. The big cupboard was just a recess where we assumed the church organ had stood.
Some time during the first twelve months we went in to find a horrible gash in the left hand wall of the main hall, caused by the collapse of an old wall next door. We quickly found a builder to repair it, using concrete blocks. When these were delivered they couldn't be put any nearer than the car park of the Community Centre, so on club night we formed a human chain to get them up to the clubroom. A bit later on a different builder did another section of the left hand side, after which it was decided to do it ourselves and rebuild the whole place. All the right hand side was done over one weekend with the majority of club members helping. New and larger windows were put in as the work progressed and the front hall and the kitchen were both roofed over for storage space.
As for the furnishings in the main hall, the tables and chairs (with ashtrays thrown in) were bought for £100 from a closing Men's Club in Northampton, near the Greyfriars Bus Station, which was due to be demolished. The curtains were at first either jumble or from members and friends and the present ones came from The Belfast's everlasting sale. The first clock was given by Ron and Gwen Sippitt and when that wore out we were given the blue one from an NSPCA bazaar. (They were one of the many clubs and groups that have hired our clubrooms over the years.)
The strip lights were throw outs from Hartridges in Buckingham (where several club members worked) and the big yellow curtains were old ones from their canteen. Better wall heaters were bought to replace the Church's rather inadequate ones and the low heaters were given by Pete Sluman. The whole place was rewired by Ray Chambers. The fire extinguishers were given by Vic Sharp. He was with us as a veteran in the 70s but had to give up cycling after being knocked off his bike. Lynette Tapp painted the big club badge and husband Pat, as a professional painter and decorator, did a lot of interior painting and came up with a lot of paint as well.
The new floor was laid , again over one weekend, by a necessarily small working party as you couldn't really have too many feet walking about over that sort of job. The size and contents of the kitchen varied a bit before settling to what we have now. We brought Mrs. Neal's old cooker over from Sun Yard ( The club's old rented clubrooms opposite our current ones.) and were given one by Ralph and Doris Reynolds. ( Reynolds Cycles in Northampton were the local lightweight cycle dealers at the time.) The present one came from our Richard and first belonged to my parents. The cupboards came variously from MFI (bought), Plessey and ABP(both given). Ron and Gwen gave us the water heater. The crockery and cutlery was bought from Northampton. All the odd plates, saucepans, etc came either from jumble sales or were given to us by well-wishers. The roller shutter came from ABP's canteen and was also given to us.
As for the outside, the big gate and railings were given to us by Groom and Tattersall's (now G and T Tubes) via Derek (Min) Reeve who, with then small son Michael, fixed them in place. The car park was a jungle of weeds, bushes and small trees and once again a whole weekend was devoted to clearing it. I particularly remember one very obstinate hawthorn tree which was dug at, pulled at, chopped at and Kung-Fu leaped at before finally succumbing, to a cheer from the victors. Dave Mason suggested carrying it aloft through the town but his fellow fellers were too exhausted! The area was covered in rubble but remained a mess until our sponsor came along. Thanks to him also the roof was properly repaired by Pat Inwood and we have been able to replace the outside doors, Ron Brown the expert here. We have also been able to install even better wall heaters and water heaters in the wash rooms, sterling work on the latter by Dave Stanton. Our sponsorship gave us half the cost of building the car park wall. The first notice board in the front garden was given by my father, Dave Haldane, when he was club president.
All this work, of course, required an awful lot of money and it had been agreed that all the loans would be paid back, plus 10% interest at the end of four years. All the usual fund raising methods were used – jumble sales, coffee evenings barbeques, raffles, sponsored rides etc. We also ran a weekly tote and even had our own E.R.N.I.E invented by Dave Mason, to select the numbers every Friday evening. Our President, Gwen Sippitt, together with her friends Elsie Tite and Brenda Skears, ran four solid years of bingo sessions at Paulerspury village hall! Gwen has raised hundreds of pounds for club funds over many years. Needless to say, all the loans were paid back on time and cash was paid for all building materials.
As 'Ed' pointed out, the clubrooms must be kept clean and tidy and in good repair, not only for ourselves but for the people that hire it and I feel there are even now some members who don't realise that other people do use the clubroom. We have four permanent bookings every week and in 1986 these and other occasional lettings for parties, jumble sales, meetings etc brought in a total of £1320.
So now you know, gentle reader, all the hard work, generosity, enthusiasm and good club spirit that have made our clubrooms into what we have today. There is still much to do so when Graham needs a working party please give him as much support as you can, especially for a certain big job that must be done before the winter – why not ask him what it is.