The Club

32 York Road,
01628 620579
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A brief history of The Club

Following various criticism of the Norfolk Park Working Men's Club being teetotal and not allowing the working man the opportunity to socialize with his friends over a pint of beer, a committee of local gentry formed a Committee to promote and finance a Working men's Club.

Their vision came to fruition when the Maidenhead Conservative Working Men's Club was formed and opened for business on Monday 19th February 1894 in the building now known as Queen Anne House situated in The Broadway. At the first annual dinner in February 1895, it was reported that the membership stood at 389 and had a bank balance of some £29 16s and 4d in the bank. Plans to extend the building at that time were turned down by the Borough Council. This was a major blow to the Club, which immediately set to work on efforts to raise additional funds for building work.

The Club continued to grow and on the 31st January 1896 became affiliated to the Association of Conservative Clubs. However, growing membership and the lack of progress on enlarging the current premise was stalling the viability of the Club. At the Annual General Meeting held on the 8th February 1897, those members attending were informed that the Committee had been endeavouring to obtain larger premises as it was swiftly outgrowing itself.

Various Committee Members and other parties actively involved themselves in finding suitable site/premises for the Club to relocate to. Involved discussions took place with W H Grenfell of Taplow Court as to the possibility of purchasing some freehold land and thanks to the generosity of W H Grenfell Esq. and the tireless efforts of the elected officers of the Club, a 'portion of the football field situated in York Road between the entrance gates and the pavilion on the west side which for some years had been used as a tennis court' be purchased. Agreement was reached and the sum of £202 was handed over for the freehold of the land agreed upon.

There then followed protracted discussions around the plans/cost of the proposed new building culminating in the acceptance/approval of a tender amounting to £1,558 for the building of the new premises. The foundation stone was laid on the 28th February 1901 with the building being formally opened on the 5th September 1901. The total building costs being £1,600.

Some trivial and not so trivial events over the years:

1915 52 members are serving in the armed forces increasing to 85 by 1916.
1918 511 members.
1926 Member appears before Committee to answer charges of gambling on the premises.
1927 Club rules amended with a proposal that 'Working Men's' be dropped from the title. Proposal heavily defeated.
1930 Application to install 'Fruit Machines' in Club refused.
1932 Committee approve purchase of a dog to replace 'Old Bob' (the Steward's dog) with 3 guineas being donated by the club towards the cost.
1934 Services of 'The Clock Winder' dispensed with.
1939 'Unpatriotic Arguments' being heard in Club. Notices produced about 'indiscreet talking' displayed.
1941 Notices prohibiting women and children in the Club displayed.
1943 Harry Venables, Club Steward, completes 30 years service.
1950 'Working Men's' dropped from name, Club now Maidenhead Conservative Club.
1953 Bunting to the value of £11 14s 9d purchased for the forthcoming Coronation.
1954 Ladies Room opened.
1957 Two Optic Measures purchased and used for the first time.
1959 First Cash Register purchased for use in the bar. Ladies permitted to pass through the main bar but not allowed to stay or drink in same.
1960 Economy called for in the use of Billiard chalk.
1961 Smoking Concert organised with bar extension until midnight granted.
1965 Motion to increase membership fees defeated.
1966 A motion to install a Cigarette Machine was defeated.
1967 Opportunity to purchase adjoining properties, 28 and 30 York Road for £6,000 rejected by Committee. Jackpot on Fruit Machines increased to £3.10s from £2.10s. Secretary's office built at rear at cost of £632.
1968 Agreed that dances be held once a fortnight.
1970 Annual Dinner held at Riviera Hotel at cost of 42 shillings per head. 80 people attended but produced
a loss of £16.10s.
1972 Membership fees increased to £2 per annum for members and £1 for Associate Members.
1976 Entertainment group who refused many requests to turn volume down were stopped from playing and ordered to leave.
1978 Tote game introduced.
1981 Secondary double glazing installed.
1983 1,449 members on register. Further recruitment stopped until number dropped to 1,200.
1988 Ray Williams appointed Bar Steward.
1990 The 'Conservative Club' name board removed from front entrance as it was thought no longer in keeping with the dignity of the Club.
1991 Golf Society formed but run independently.
1992 Supply of Billiard chalk no longer supplied FOC but available to purchase at 30p.
1994 Maidenhead Constitutional Club closes after 100 years with 30 of its members joining the Conservative Club.
1996 Formal celebration of 100 years.

Millenium Onward

How times, personal values and thoughts of previous generations change? Not quite so many social changing events occurring thus far but nevertheless important.

2010 Following the closure of the British Legion Club in Bridge Road, it was agreed that the local branch could use the Conservative Club premises as their formal home.
2011 Interior of the Club fully refurbished and updated giving our members an updated, comfortable, multi-purpose unit in which to relax and enjoy old friends and new.
2014 Ray Williams and his Wife retire from their stewardship of the Club after 26 years loyal and devoted service. Graham Robertson and his Wife Sue take up stewardship of the Club.
2015 Lorraine and Brian Dodd take up stewardship of the Club.

Committees are still elected annually, matters of concern remain membership numbers, how to encourage members to use the facility and of course profit margins and bar turnover.

Come and have a look.