The Working Mens Club
THE WORKING MENS CLUB
(now called Clifford Club)
The building was originally stabling for the Manor Mill horses and wagons, with the animal's feed (grain) stored in the upper room. With Bill King, living at No. 23, in charge of the wagons, and Jack Sylvester, living at No. 14 in charge of the flour, these stables were in the ideal place for their work. This was when Mr. Richard Sidney Smith, a steam and water engineer, was the owner of both Mills, and also The Lodge.
With Mrs. Douty buying all the village and land in 1910 the stabling too came into her legal possession, and she allowed the ground floor to be used for a meeting of the Working Men of the Parish, BUT with no alcohol served. It wasn't until October 1919, that she officially opened the whole of the building for use as a Working Mens Club, still with no alcholol being served..
After Mrs. Rees-Mogg's death, the building was given by The Honourable Edward Robert Hamilton Wills by way of Conveyance to the Parochial Church Council of the Parish of Clifford Chambers with the consent of Gloucester Diocesan Trust Ltd. on 6th May 1953 (see 'Copy of Conveyance of Club, Hall and Recreation Ground')
In 1954, the Club applied for a licence which was granted with the provision that water had to be laid on, and washrooms had to be installed.
THE CHURCH OWNERSHIP OF THE CLUB STARTS TO PRESENT PROBLEMS
Once permission was given for a licence to sell alcohol, the Club's funds began to rise, and with many other needs required, getting permission to have these needs seen to, took a long time! The replies to the written requests sent by the Club to the Parochial Church Council (PCC) were nearly always delayed DUE to each request being sent many weeks BEFORE the next PCC meeting Unfortunately many of these requests sent by the Club (from October 1959 to March 1978) – once read at a PCC meeting, then had to be sent to the Diocesan Trust for their approval. This was all repeated with the replies, and eventually sent to the Club – but delayed by all the various meetings eventually taking place and replies being sent. No wonder these requests and replies stretched for 19 years!
And this is how the very first request by the Club appeared in the Minutes of the PCC on 20th October 1959
“20th October 1959
The WMC is now in a flourishing position with £140 in hand and had applied for permission to lay water drainage from the Jubilee Hall, for improvements. Approval was granted by the PCC to be passed onto the Diocesan Trust. The necessity for a legal document to be done up, was proposed.” And from then on the discussion in all three parties were on:-
- Insurance with regard to shooting accidents etc.
- Permission for the Club to be open on Sundays.
- Plans for alterations discussed between all three parties
- Peppercorn rent
- Trust and PCC will not finance any of the bills for alterations
- Purchase of a Fruit Machine with conditions that a committee member would always be on hand to see that no person under 18 use the machine & the PCC would not be involved in any cost of hiring or installation of this machine. Also a notice to be displayed by machine stating the laws of the machine.
- Jim Ashfield offering part of his ground in front of the Club at a reasonable price if he could close the existing right of way to the Club. Jim Ashfield then decided to withdraw until his plans had been sorted out.
- Erection of wicker fence from Club door to Jubilee Hall boundary and back along back boundary to back wall to form a lockable yard – and lockable gate on Jubilee Hall boundary. PCC agreed provided that the fence could be removed at any time and also the gate should the PCC wish it.
- Details of lease to Club on a peppercorn rent. Club asking to purchase the building
- Final Plans sent and discussed
- Valuation for these premises is £8,000 and approval sent of alteration plans
- Club did not want to purchase property. More discussion on Lease – 7 year lease re-negotiable at the end of 7 years. Rent £200 p.a. Plus rates and insurance – money going towards the upkeep of the Jubilee Hall and Rec.
- Draft Lease approved by Trust
- Club asked for a freehold Lease as they had been tenants for 50 years without a Lease. Trust state this Claim can be refuted.
- Club put in an offer to buy the property – price being £8,000
10th March 1978
The following resolution was proposed by Dr. B. Bramwell
(a) that the offer made by WMC of £8,000 for the purchase of the building, be accepted
(b) that the Gloucester Diocese Trust be asked to proceed with the sale
© that the proceeds as capital on income be available for the upkeep and improvement of the Jubilee Hall and the Recreation Field.
These proposals were seconded and unanimously agreed by all 12 voters of the Council present.
Once all the legal transactions were done and signed, the Club, as owner now of the building and land, settled down to a steady income coming in regularly, and were then constantly able to update the building, the furnishings, and events.