The History of the Teston Club

Updated: February 2013


The earliest records of Teston Club are dated 1st January 1894. This was when the Club was first opened on its present site. It is likely, however, that the Club was in existence before 1894. A minute from December 1914 recording the resignation of the then Secretary, Mr. G.Woodward, notes that he had served the Club for 23 years. In addition, a minute from February 9th 1912 records that the Club had been "managed" by Mr. Woodward for "...eighteen years in the present Club and three years in the Oast House..." From this one can suppose that the Club was in existence in 1891, and, possibly, even before this. It is known that in 1890 the Rev. Cobb was involved in efforts to organise a Church Institute; this may have sown the seeds of the idea of a "Club". At that time, the population of Teston Village, according to the 1891 Census, was 329 compared with today's figure of 630 (source 1991 Census).

The "New" Club Building opened at its present site on Monday January 1st 1894. Many local "dignitaries" were invited to be present to witness the opening. They included several members of the clergy; the Rev.C.Cobb, Rev. C. and Mrs. Seatow, and Rev. D.H.Whitehead. Also present were members of the Warde family, Mr. & Mrs. J.L.Fremlin of the Brewing Family and Hon. Miss Boscawen. In addition, there were also about seventy others, presumably Members of the Club. The Club was declared open by Mrs. Warde following an address by Colonel Warde, who also read a letter from Mr. Roger Leigh, and an address from the Reverend Hugh Chapman from Seven Dials in London. An extract of Col. Wardes' address reads:
"... Mr. Leigh and myself now place the use of this building unreservedly in your hands, at the same time expressing the hope that this New Years Gift may carry with it much happiness to its future members, and that the Teston Club may go hand in hand with Teston Welfare."
The Brass Plate over the main door that commemorates the opening of the Club was kindly donated in 1894 by Mr. Tathaw.

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Benefactors of the Club and Tithe

The Club Building was erected at the joint expense of Lt. Colonel Warde MP and Mr. Roger Leigh. The cost in 1894 is recorded at £600/-/- [about £30,000 at today's prices]. The Club was the first building on the "triangle" bounded by Malling Road, Church Street and the Tonbridge Road and remained so for many years until the building of "Orchard Estate" by Mr. E.Penn. Until 1949 an annual tithe, or rental, was paid by the Club. Records from 1917 and until 1932 show that this amounted to £1/-/- per year and was paid to Roger Leigh. In 1933 this was reduced to 1/8d per year but there is no reference in the minutes as to why this should be, although the 1936 Tithe Act may have had an effect.

The Trust Deed of the Club and the Grant of Club Premises, dated 20th December 1935, is deposited with the Clubs Solicitors, Whitehead Monkton. The Trust Deed records that " the Working Mens Club " is conveyed to the Trustees of the Club in "fee simple". {Legal note: Fee Simple is absolute ownership and is basically the same as freehold but should the use of the premises, or land, ever cease to be a Club, ownership would revert to the heirs of the benefactors}.

At a meeting on July 8th 1949 the Secretary said that the Tithe Redemption Committee would accept a payment of £2/2/10 (£2.14) as a full and final settlement; The Committee voted that this option be exercised providing the Trustees agreed. Unfortunately at this time, although the Committee received a receipt they failed to obtain a declaration that the tithe had been redeemed. At a meeting on 3rd December 1954, the Secretary said he had received a Tithe Apportionment Notice stating that the Tithe was still operative. Much correspondence followed in the next few months, including legal advice. Finally, the Committee decided to pay £3/13/11 in order to redeem the Tithe. A Cheque for this amount was raised and at a meeting on July 8th 1955 the Declaration along with the receipt were handed to a Trustee, Mr. W Pellatt.

The Clubs benefactors continued to be associated with the Club for many years; Col Warde paid an honorary subscription of £5/-/- per annum and Mr. Roger Leigh £2/-/-. Both not inconsiderable sums by today's standards.

One of the first events in the Club was a concert given by Mrs. Key on January 23rd. On this occasion, members were granted the privilege of introducing a lady friend, since at its inception the Club was formed for men one and restricted to those over the age of 16.

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Objectives of the Club

The object of the Club was to provide a meeting place for men "..belonging to the Parish for education and recreation ", " Belonging to the Parish" was defined as either living, working or having other similar connections with the Village. On 4th February 1929 an objection to the wording of Rule 2, "...Belonging to the Parish .." was raised. After a vote of 6 to 5 against a change, the wording was retained. Further evidence that this rule was closely followed is a minute from 7th June 1935 when an application was rejected because the applicant was not resident in the Village.

Newspapers were provided for members and a minute of January 29th 1894 records that the Daily Telegraph, Tit Bits, Funny Folks, Field and Ally Sloper [?] be sold, and the Illustrated London News, Strand Magazine, Boys Own Paper, Punch and Graphic be retained in the Club.

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Beers Wines and Spirits

Although Beer was the main drink served, in 1894 Coffee was suggested as an alternative refreshment. However during a trial period of twenty one days only two cups were sold. It was not until 1988 that coffee was more successfully introduced to the Club and is now a popular seller.

Beer prices when the Club formed were much cheaper than today. Early records show that accounts were maintained with Messrs Fremlins, Messrs Leney and also Messrs Hayward, the latter perhaps supplying non-alcoholic beverages. It seems that quality appeared to be a problem. There are a considerable number of minutes asking the Secretary to write to Messrs Fremlins (and others) concerning the quality of the beer.
In 1924 beer was sold at 7d per pint [just under 3p]. In 1934 a kilderkin (18 gallons) of "XX" from Messrs Kennard and Court of Hadlow cost 69/10d [£3.94]. This also retailed at 7d, yielding a profit margin of just 8.3% (P.O.R.); only a third of the profit needed today to keep the Club solvent. Again in 1934, a kilderkin of "XXX" from Messrs E. Mason and Co. of Maidstone cost 61/- [£3.05]. In 1947 a pint of Light Ale was sold for 1/1d (5p). By 1955 the Profit Margin had improved and is recorded as 12%.
The minutes of July 1980 record that a pint of Bitter was sold at 38p. The total barrelage for 1980 is recorded as 200 barrels, but at that time the Club were involved in many outside bars, particularly the Teston Country Music Festival, organised by the Cricket Club as a fund raising activity. This attracted a high attendance and consequently high sales of beer Today barrelage is about 120 barrels per year.

As well as draught beer, draught cider was also sold, but a minute dated 26th September 1933 notes that sales of cider during the winter were very slow. It was agreed not to stock cider during the winter.

Originally all beer was sold straight from the barrel, and is what we would call "Real Ale" today. '"Keg" beer was introduced for a trial period following a meeting on 12th October 196l. At a meeting on 18th June 1964, on the advice of Messrs Whitbread's representative, the Committee decided to install "Top Pressure Beer". Despite many requests in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s "Real Ale" was not to return until 1992 when "'Fremlins Cask Ale" was introduced, dispensed by hand pump.
Today the Club sells approximately one cask of "Boddingtons"' Real Ale per week. The delay in bringing "Real Ale" back to the Club was caused simply by not having enough room in the cold cellar.

Another interesting note from a meeting on 10th December 1959 records that it was proposed that the Bar Staff be provided with jackets to be worn whilst on duty!
When the Club first operated on its present site Spirits were prohibited from sale under Rule 13 At a meeting on January 26th 1899 a petition was presented to the Committee requesting that Rule 13 be struck out. Because the original Rules had been drawn up by Col. Charles Warde and Mr. Roger Leigh it was agreed that they be consulted. Presumably, they agreed to rescind this rule because Spirits were first sold in the Club after 1899, but from the bottle, rather than as now where "optics" are used. It was suggested in 1942, when Brandy was 1/6d, Rum 1/3d and Whisky and Gin 1/1d that optics be used but the Committee decided against this. A minute from May 6th 1955 records thanks to Mr. Penn for his gift to the Club of Optics; the next reference on this subject is dated 7th December 1961 and records Optics being purchased.

It seems that until 1959 the Club Bar was not opened on a Sunday. A Special Meeting was called on 1st May 1959 to discuss this. It was proposed that the Bar be open from 12 noon until 2:00pm and 7:30pm until 11:00pm on Sundays. A majority vote in favour of this allowed the Bar to be opened on Sundays, although Christmas Day and Good Friday opening were still not permitted. The Rules were changed to accommodate this and volunteers manned the Bar on Sundays. Use of the Club on Sundays appears to have been minimal because at the 1964 AGM it was suggested that the Club close all day on Sundays.

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Club Societies

In April 1894 it was proposed that a Gardening Society be formed amongst the members. It was to be called "The Teston Club Gardeners and Cottage Gardeners Society" Fortnightly Exhibitions were to be held and prizes given for the best exhibits.
The Teston Cricket Club has its origins within the Club. In May 1894 Col. Warde offered the use of the grounds at Barham Court for playing Cricket.
At a meeting on February 4th 1929 a new rule, No 16, was added; "...Members wishing to play in matches during the current season should send in their names to the Secretary of the Cricket Club no later than 1st April. Elevens for each match to be played will be selected by the Committee, preference being given as far as possible to members belonging to the Parish ". The Cricket Club continued under the wing of the Club until after the Second World War although in November 1940 it was recorded that Cricket had been played during 1940. "..with great difficulty ..". At the 1946 AGM Mr. Ashdown suggested that the Cricket Club be revived. Mr. Adams raised the issue at a meeting on 5th April 1946 and it was decided that the Cricket Club should run independently of the Working Mens Club.

An idea to start a Football Club was also presented during 1894. This was not met with the same enthusiasm as the Cricket Club and no team was founded. Again, a suggestion to form a Football Club was put before the Committee on 13th October 1931 but it was not until 1989 that a permanent team was formed and the Club provided Team Shirts.
A minute dated 1st September 1954 records that the Club would enter a team to participate in the Darts League and a new Dart Board was purchased. It is probable that the Club have continued to be represented by at least one Dart Team ever since Certainly in the late 1970s for a short period the Club had no less than three regular darts teams. Today interest has waned and the Club has one Dart Team.

In the 1950's the Club entered a Snooker Team in the Tunbridge Wells League and today two teams play, with some success, in the Maidstone League.

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Early Amenities

In the early days there were very little of the modern conveniences we all take for granted. Originally lighting was by Gas, supplied free of charge by Colonel Warde, from Barham Court. Perhaps the first Street Light in Teston was provided by the Club. In 1903, on October 7th, the Secretary was " .. instructed to pay for a new Lamp in the road at the corner of the Club premises.(see 1900's photograph). Petrol Lamps provided the illumination in the Club between 1923 and 1929. These were purchased from Messrs Stanley's at a cost of £5/19/6d. ( £5.97). However, because of increasing maintenance and rising costs the Club decided to look to alternative sources. At a meeting on 8th April 1929 it was agreed that electricity be installed in the Club. The Electricity Company (who at that time were a subsidiary of the Maidstone Borough Corporation, owned a Power Station in Fairmeadow at the bottom of Medway Street in Maidstone. In 1948 this became South Eastern Electricity Company more lately known as Seeboard) forecasted that installation would cost £14/-/- and the annual bills would be approximately £15/-/- per year. The Electricity Company were interested to know whether any local residents would also like to be connected. The first full quarters recorded bill was £8/8/6d. ( £8.42).

The heating for the Club was from two open fires, one for each part of the main room together with a small stove in the Bar Initially wood and later coke was used as fuel. The 1920 Ledger records that the coke costing £5/6/- was supplied by the Maidstone Gas Company. In 1950 coke was supplied by the South Eastern Gas Board for £4/13/11d. In October 1966 it was decided that for ease of use Gas Convector Heaters be used in the Club. These were purchased from South Eastern Gas Board for £222/6/-. Annual running costs were expected to be about £35/-/-.

Sanitary arrangements were altogether more crude. Originally no toilets were provided, one can only imagine how the members managed. In 1896 it was decided that an Earth Closet be provided. In 1909 the Secretary wrote to the "Water Works" to find out how much it would cost to lay on running water to the Club. Unfortunately the cost proved prohibitive and no action was taken. In December 1920 the Mid Kent Water Company quoted £15/4/- (£15.20) to lay on water and once again the Committee felt this too expensive. The first entry in the Ledger referring to Water Supply is 7th June 1930 so one concludes that water was piped to the Club at around this time.

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Major Changes

When the Club was first erected it consisted of one large room divided by a partition that at a meeting on February 11th 1916 subscriptions and takings had declined and a small bar. The bar served each room through a small hatchway. A partition divided the room into a Reading Room and a Recreation Room. There was no connecting door, the front door was in two parts and members had to leave one room by the front door to enter the other room. Each room had access to the, bar via a stable type door, the top part being opened for the serving of refreshments. Finally on 20th February 1931 it was suggested that a door be installed in this partition. 1n 1938, on March 11th, it was proposed that the partition be removed for the duration of the summer. The partition was replaced in the November of this year At a meeting on December 5th 1941, following a referendum by the be Members it was decided that the partition be kept down indefinitely. In May 1946 it was agreed that the partition would never be needed again and an advertisement was placed in the Kent Messenger inviting tenders for the purchase of the partition.

A minute from 11th March 1938 records that it was felt that the Club was too small and could possibly be enlarged A sub committee was formed to look into this meet Mr. Penn, the Village Builder to discuss ideas. The site on which the original Club Building was erected is the same as that today. The surrounding area, that which is now occupied by the Lounge and the Car Park, meant there was plenty of room for any expansion.
This area, the Clubs garden, contained several Cherry trees. These were usually picked by the Steward and sold on the Clubs behalf to generate extra income. In 1919 the cherries were sold to Mr. C.Field for £21216 ( £2.12). In 1922 the cherry sale yielded £2/5/-[nearly £40.00 at today's prices]. The garden seems to have been regarded as the Stewards responsibility and this was formalised at a Committee Meeting on May 11th 1945. An agreement, attached to the minutes, permits rental of the garden to Mr. Robert Hope for a yearly rental of half a crown (12.5p).

A minute dated 12th September 1963 records that the Lightening Conductor was a poor state of repair. Since there are no other references to this item in subsequent minutes one concludes that the Lightning Conductor was removed at around this time.
Today the Clubs turnover on the Bar alone exceeds £50,000. Fifteen years ago, in 1978, the same figure was £29,000 [equal to nearly £60,000 today], in 1958 £2801 [£31,689] and in 1938, £650 [£21,000]. Back in 1917, the earliest financial records still available, Bar Takings were just £150 [£7640]. This represented 81% of all takings compared with today where the Bar Takings account for just over 50% of total income. Prudent management has ensured that the Clubs " eggs are not all in one basket".

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World War I

The minutes covering this period are minimal and infrequent but it is recorded that at a meeting on February 11th 1916 subscriptions and takings had declined due to many members "... serving with the Imperial Forces... "

World War II

Unfortunately, the Second World War prevented an extension being built. A minute from June 6th 1941 records that Wines and Spirits were in short supply and the Committee decided that the sale of bottles be stopped and that Wines and Spirits be purchased by the glass only. In October 1943 it was worthy of note in the minutes that a small bottle of Brandy had been obtained; this was to be sold at 2/- per. tot. The Club was allocated a quota for Beer; Cigarettes too were in short supply and the Club was allocated a monthly ration. It was proposed that this ration was split into four equal portions to be sold weekly and thereby spread the supply evenly. A War Risk Insurance premium was paid in 1941 amounting to 30/- for six months. Many collections were made during the War years. In January 1942, £3/1/6 was sent to the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund c/o West MaIling Air Station.

Many other supplies were affected by shortages during the War Years. A minute from May 1943 records that Playing Cards were difficult to obtain. In May 1944 the Billiard Cloth needed renewing and the suppliers, Messrs Rileys, sent a form to be completed by the local Home Guard to confirm use of the table by Service Personnel. It took another six months to complete the job.

Profits declined and materials became more expensive, although use of the Club was maintained by offering membership to troops billeted in the area. Membership was restricted after the war due to a shortage of items for "sale" This is minuted in August 1946 and spirits continued to be rationed In October 1947 the quota system was still in operation.

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Enlarging the Club

At the 1946 AGM, it was decided that the Club be extended and sanitation be improved. This was considered at a Special Meeting on March 8th 1946 and a plan proposed. Tenders were submitted and revealed the cost to be in excess of £800/-/-. This was deemed too expensive and so a cheaper scheme was devised. In l947 a new lavatory was built, together with some redecoration's, at a cost of £461/10/9 [equal to £9180 today].

During the 1950s there are several references to enlarging the Club and many ideas were put forward. At a meeting on 2nd October 1958 it was proposed that the Bar be refurbished A new bar front, sink and drainer, as well as a new floor are mentioned This was completed at a cost of £419/6/1d.

In 1961 it was proposed that a Car Park be made in part of the Clubs garden Planning Permission was obtained but at the time it was felt that it was better to spend money on internal improvements. The Bar was again improved and a minute from 15th June 1961 records the purchase via Messrs Whitbread's, of 4 Wooden Chairs with arms for 58/9d each and 12 without arms for 32/0d each. These appear to have been excellent value for money as they are still in use in the Club today!

In 1964 it was suggested that the Club might sell the area that is now the Car Park in order to fund enlargement. A minute from 13th August 1964 values the Club at £4500 and the land under consideration at £750. It was also suggested at that time that it would be advantageous to add living accommodation for a Steward. At the same time the Committee investigated the possibility of the Club becoming a Limited Company. It seems that none of these ideas were followed through.

There was no further additional major expense on enlargement of the Club until 1968, although the possibility of an extension was raised again at the 1962 AGM. The Club was finally extended in 1968 when the first part of the Lounge was added. Several tenders were submitted and the Committee accepted the tender by E.J. Penn Ltd of £1727/14/6d [equal to £15,300 today]. A loan of £1000 from Messrs Whitbread's was given at 5% interest payable over 10 years to fund the extension. The New Lounge Bar was officially opened on June 26th 1968 by Mr. Robin Leigh-Pemberton, grandson of the Benefactor, Mr. Roger Leigh. At the 1968 AGM it was resolved that ladies who were related to members could join the Club and become Associate Members. Associate Members were permitted to use the Lounge and at times permitted by the Committee the Recreation Room Their Annual Subscription was about half that of a Full Member.
As a result of the New Building, and the admission of Ladies, use of the Club grew rapidly The "New Lounge" became so successful that in June 1975 the Committee decided to restrict membership!

At the 1977 AGM the Secretary announced that Membership had been limited to 250 persons. To provide Members with more space ideas were put before the Membership at the 1975 AGM to enlarge the Club once again. At the 1976 AGM the Committee were authorised to proceed with a planning application to extend the Club, however plans to enlarge the Club again were refused by the Borough Council due to lack of parking provision. During the following years other ways were sought to enlarge the Club and one suggestion was to purchase the neighbouring Builders Yard. This proved to be more costly than the Club could afford so plans for a smaller extension were submitted. Planning permission was finally granted in February 1978. Quotations were sought and the work was awarded to R.T.P. the cost being £15,380 [equal to £47,800 today] with additional costs for electrical and heating work. This was to be financed by accumulated funds, a loan from Messrs Whitbread's and the offering of Life Membership Subscriptions.

In 1978 the extended Club was opened. The Lounge had been enlarged and the size of the Beer Store increased. A dance floor was installed in the lounge; extra toilets added and a small kitchen attached to the Lounge. Following these additions in 1979 the Car Park was commissioned for £1200 and the Bar was redeveloped at a cost of £2300. In 1982 Secondary Double Glazing was installed and in 1983 a refrigerated Beer Store was installed at a cost of £2070. The Car Park was resurfaced in October 1983 and in 1984 Air Cleaners were purchased. In 1987 an automatic Glasswasher was purchased from Messrs Clenaglass for £1490.

Again, due to the need for more space the idea of extending the Club was bought up in 1990. The latest addition to the Club was completed in 1991 by R.H.Terry and Sons and consisted of increasing the size of the original room by nearly 30%. The cost of this extension, including redecoration of the Club Room was £45,000. A major part of this being due to special steelwork that was needed to support the existing roof .

In One Hundred Years the size of the Club has increased from about 100 square metres to almost 250 square metres, an increase of almost two and a half times! In the same year, 1991, ladies were admitted to full membership, with all the benefits and privileges that this affords. At the 1992 AGM the first ever lady Committee member. Mrs. Daphne Rudd was elected.

Membership and use of the Club has remained healthy and it would surely please the original benefactors to see that the original concept of the Club remains but to a wider catchment.

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The Club and Teston Village

In the early days of Teston Club the Village Rector was often invited to serve on the Committee. Indeed Rev F. Oliphant was a Trustee of the Club until 1914. The Club, aware of its prominence in the Village, has continually tried to be a benefactor to other institutions. In March 1905 it was proposed that a sum not exceeding eighty pounds [a considerable sum in those days; about £4500 today] be given to the rector as a free gift towards the building of a Parish Room. Colonel Warde MP promised to find the remainder of the sum required and a minute dated 25th April 1906 records the thanks of the Rector, Rev. Francis Oliphant, who was also Club Chairman at that time. In February 1933 Bishop Maloney made a request for a grant of money from the Club funds towards the upkeep of the Parish Hall. The Club voted to donate £5/-/- to this cause since they had made an annual profit of £20/-/-.

Before the building of the first lounge extension in 1968, to ensure confidentiality, most Committee Meetings were held in the Village Hall. This is also often referred to as the "Parish Rooms" and the "Village Institute". For many years the Club made an annual donation to the Village Hall and was granted the privilege of holding its Committee Meetings in the Hall free of charge. This temporarily ceased in 1939 but was reinstated in 1948 and a minute from June 3rd 1948 records that an annual donation of 2/-d be given to the Village Hall. The Committee were again granted the use of the Hall free of charge for meetings, but 2/-d was to be paid each time the fire was used. This continued until 1968 when the Committee were able to meet in the "New" Club Lounge. Between 1942 and 1948 meetings were also held at Court Lodge and the Old Tiles Tea House, currently Crown City Restaurant. These were the homes of Committee Members Mr. Cooper and Mr. Penn.

During the history of the Club many other donations have been made including a donation to the Church Steeple Fund. 1n 1979 the Club donated £100 to the Village Hall for refurbishment and most recently, in 1990 a further donation of £250 was given to the Village Hall Fund for their latest refurbishment.

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Membership Changes

Membership of the Club today stands at about 290 Members. This is lower than the 321 of 1991 but throughout the history of the Club membership has varied. Early figures are sadly not recorded, perhaps because subscriptions were paid weekly; this changed to Subscriptions being paid quarterly in advance at the 1944 AGM with an understanding that subscriptions would eventually be paid annually in advance. However, at the 1953 AGM the secretary records that membership was the same as the previous year at 106. In 1956 this had risen to 122, in 1965 the total was 139 and by 1972 to 250 plus 80 Associate Members.

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Long Service to the Club

The Club has benefited from long service by many members. The first President of the Club, Sir Charles Warde, served as President of the Club until his death in June 1937. At the 1938 AGM it was proposed that Sir Albert Stem become President. Sir Albert remained as President for the rest of his life. In 1967 Mr. D.Reader became President and remained so until 1983 when he moved from the area. Mr. Reader was a member for 57 years and during that time served as Secretary, Treasurer, Chairman and President. In 1983 the current President, Mr. V Godfree, was proposed to office.

It is recorded at the 1948 AGM that Mr. R.Woodward served on the Committee from 1894 until 1948. Mr. G.Woodward, the first recorded Secretary and Treasurer served the Club for twenty three years as well as being a founder member of the Parish Council. Mr. P.Wilson was Secretary from 1952 to 1963 with a brief interlude when Mr. R.Appleton was stood in as Secretary. Many other Club Members have served the Club over long periods and this tradition continues today; Mr. P.B.Butchers has served on the Committee since 1959. Between 1965 and 1979 he was Secretary and since then Chairman. It is surely due to the hard work of these, and many other members that the Club survives as it does today.

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The Billiard Table and other Recreational Facilities

One of the main features of the Club throughout its history has been the Billiard Table or as it is known today, the Snooker Table. At a meeting on April 6th 1896 Mr. Woodward presented to the Committee a petition signed by 38 Members requesting that a Billiard Table be purchased. This caused much controversy, not least because the Billiard Table would take up so much of the Recreation Room that games would have to be played in the Reading Room. It was agreed that this suggestion "..lay on the table for six months..".

At the General Meeting on January 8th 1898 a sub committee was formed and suggested the purchase of a "Billiard Table" from Messrs Burroughs & Watts for a total of £60/-/- fixed and installed, complete with all accessories [over £3000 at today's values]. This table was purchased in 1898 following a Committee Meeting on February 23rd. The meeting drew up the rules for the use of the Table. The balls were to be kept by the steward and the cost per game was to be 2d (less than 1 p) for twenty minutes (obviously the players then were of a higher standard than today). The period for a game stayed at twenty minutes until 1st October 1937 when it was decided that games could last for half an hour. The cost per game rose to 3d for two players and 4d for four players Competition Games would be priced at 6d with Snooker lasting three frames and Billiards 250 up.

Smoking was not allowed over the table by players or spectators and a Half Crown fine (12.5p) was to be imposed on any player cutting the cloth. In January 1948 the Secretary was asked to investigate the purchase of a time clock to control the amount of playing time. The first meter, obtained from Maidstone Corporation Electricity Department, was installed in October 1948. In May 1952 the charge for a half hour game of Snooker or Billiards was increased to 6d per half hour [equal to about 40p today] The cost rose to 10p per half hour in July 1982. In May 1986 a new meter was purchased but a proposal to raise the price of Snooker to 20p was defeated. In September 1989 after receiving a quotation of £494.00 for recovering the Snooker Table, a proposition to increase the cost to 20p was carried unanimously. Today's price per half hour of 50p was agreed at a meeting on 2nd October 1991.

Although the Club was originally illuminated by gas from Barham Court when electricity was connected a meeting, on 11th June 1934, decided to obtain an Electric Lamp and Shade for the Snooker Table. A Lamp Shade and fittings was purchased from Messrs Riley for £8/3/9 (£8.19) [£260 at today's prices] and this shade is still used in the Club today. The first record of a Fruit Machine appears in September and October 1959. At the 1960 AGM, the Treasurer reports that the "Rotamint" had taken £42/8/9 in 1959. At a meeting on 1st June 1956 it was proposed that the Club obtain a Bar Billiards Table.
This was purchased from Messrs Hubble & Freeman for £44/0/0. It seems that this items' novelty wore off quickly and was not particularly profitable. At the 1960 AGM it was decided to sell the Bar Billiards Table. A minute dated 8th April 1960 records that the Bar Billiard Table was sold to the landlord of the Kings Arms at Headcorn for £15/0/0.

In April 1961 there is a minute recording that a Piano had been purchased for the Club but there are no details concerning its cost or later disposal. A similar mystery surrounds the "Stage" The whereabouts of this item are raised at a meeting dated 19th November 1959 but there is no further reference.

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Club Trophies

A tradition of the Club has been the competitive playing of "Indoor Games" or pastimes. These include Snooker, Billiards, Darts, many Card Games including Whist and Cribbage as well as other games such as Dominoes and Shove Ha'penny. The Club has entered many Competitions with varying success. In addition, many games are held annually "in house". The winners of these games are awarded either a cash prize or a trophy. These trophies have been kindly donated by past members. The Annual Snooker Challenge Cup was donated by Mr. Arthur Ashdown in April 1941. The Annual Billiard Handicap Cup was donated by Lt. Col Sir Albert Stem in April 1941. The Annual Darts Trophy Rose Bowl was donated by Mr. Don Mitchell in 1949. The Snooker Spring Knockout Shield was donated by Mr. Sidney Carter in 1970. The Spring Knockout Billiard Shield was donated by Mr. Ben Sherman in 1976. The Spring Knockout Darts Shield was donated to the memory of Mr. Ernie Holland in 1975. These have been played for regularly, and frequently, annually since their individual donations and the names of certain members appear with great regularity In 1981 a Trophy Cabinet was purchased to ensure that these cups are kept on permanent display.

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Source of Material

The Minutes from which these notes have been compiled are the records of most of the Committee Meetings and AGMs of the Teston Club since 1894, and some early Account Ledgers. Unfortunately, they are not always comprehensive. A minute from February 1942 notes the granting of permission by the Committee to allow the Secretary to "...destroy old a/cs and any other useless papers...". During the years, 1910 to 1930 meetings are recorded at irregular intervals rather than as today when they are held monthly. Either few meetings were held or they were not recorded in the minutes. Additional information has been gained from "The Teston Story". The conversions to today's prices shown in square brackets thus [xx.xx] have been calculated using the "Internal Purchasing Power of the Pound" Tables published by the Central Office of Statistics.

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Assistance with Records

Anyone with comments regarding this history should contact the Secretary. The Secretary regrets any omissions and errors that may be contained in this short history due to the lack of complete records.

Original Rules

A copy of the Original Club Rules exists and may be viewed by any Member. The Original Joint Presidents of the Club were Roger Leigh Esq. and Lieut. Col. CE Warde MP Vice Presidents were Rev. C. F Cobb, E.H.Key Esq. and J.Fremlin Esq. the Honorary Secretary was G.Woodward.
The Original Rules are reprinted below.

1. Name.

• • That this club shall be called "Teston Club"

2. Object.

• • The object of the Club shall be to afford to the working men the opportunity of social intercourse, and to provide them with the means of rational recreation.

3. President.

• There shall be a President or Presidents who shall hold office for life. The Clubhouse having been erected at the joint expense of Mr. Roger Leigh and Colonel Warde, those gentlemen shall be first and joint Presidents. Future Presidents shall be elected by Committee

4. Management.

• • That the management and control of the Club shall be in the hands of the Committee.

5. Trustees.

• • The furniture and property of the Club shall be vested in Trustees The present Lessees of the Club premises shall be the first Trustees Future Trustees shall be elected by the Members at a General Meeting, subject to the approval of the President or Presidents for the time being.

6. Committee.

• • That the Committee shall consist of the Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Trustees and Honorary Secretary, who shall be ex-officio Members, and eight Members of the Club who shall be elected annually by the Members at the Annual General Meeting; five to form a quorum

7. Gambling &c.

• • Gambling, intemperance, disorderly conduct, improper and offensive language are strictly prohibited in the Club and grounds.

8. Powers of the Committee.

• • That the Committee shall have the power to make or rescind Bye-laws, to call upon any Member to explain any charge of misconduct, and to expel any Member of whom complaint has been made and whose conduct shall be found to have been unsatisfactory.

9. Election.

• • The election of Members to be by ballot, one black ball in three to exclude.

10. Steward.

• • A Steward to be appointed by the Committee and to be responsible to them for all monies received for refreshments and also for all the properties of the Club.

11. Honorary Secretary.

• • An Honorary Secretary to be elected by the Committee, of which he shall be an ex-officio member. Secretary to collect all subscriptions and to be responsible to the Committee for them; to give written orders for all goods required for the Club and receipts for all monies received by him.

12. Hours of Admission.

• • The Club to be open daily from 10am to 10pm except Sundays.

13. Spirits &c.

• • No spirits to be sold in the Club and no beer to be taken away from the premises

14. Damage.

• • All damage of any kind done to any property of the Club to be made good by whoever causes the damage.

15. Honorary Members.

• • Any person paving an annual subscription of ten shillings and upwards may be admitted as an Honorary Member. The Committee may elect persons whom they deem suitable as Vice-Presidents of the Club.

16. General Meetings.

• • A General Meeting of the Members and Honorary Members shall be held annually in the month .... of at which the elective Members of the Committee shall be elected and any general business of the Club shall be transacted and Special Meetings may also be summoned by direction of the President or Presidents for the time being.

17. Alteration of Rules.

• • Any alteration of the Rules to be made by a majority of Members present at a General Meeting called for that purpose. Such notice of Meeting to be posted up on the notice board in the Club Room not less than six days previous to such Meeting with the terms of the proposed alteration. Every such alteration is to be subject to the approval in writing of the President or Presidents for the time being of the Club.


• • The subscription for Members shall be 2d per week, payable in advance Any Members who shall be in arrears 4 weeks will be liable to be expelled by the Committee from the Club.

That the Committee reserve to themselves the right to expel any member who is disorderly from the Club.

Club Records

A copy of the first Rule Book of the Teston Club can be viewed on application to the Secretary. Note Rules 7; Gambling and Rule 13 Spirits &c. Rule 13 was rescinded after 1899. The Minute Books and other records of the Teston Club are available to any fully paid up Member of the Teston Club upon written application to the Committee

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Compiled by Trevor Sidley
with assistance from Peter Butchers
August 1993.