The Clubhouse – A Tale of Two Clocks
Last week, I spent an interesting hour quietly looking at the “artefacts in residence” in the Clubhouse. Lining the walls are trophy cabinets, remarkable golf clubs and many results boards. While I will be returning to many of them in due course, I could not understand why there were also two clocks presented (according to the plaques) in 1905.
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What was special about this year? There was no particular historical event that I could think of, neither was there a Royal birth or marriage…..
The answer has been found from information available in the book of the Club history “The First 100 Years”, edited by Rod Leach and published by Peak Press Ltd. Much of the information presented here is taken from this book with great appreciation.
1905 was the year in which the current Clubhouse was built. It would be reasonable to assume that the two clocks were presented by members (R. Campbell and Dr Little?) to commemorate the opening of the new premises. Any insights to their connections will be received with interest, as will any other pictures of the Clubhouse exterior from these times.
This little review traces some of the history of this building.
The first meeting place for B&HPGC members was a room at the Devonshire Arms. This is the building at the St Peter’s Church end of Fairfield Common. It is no longer a pub.
In 1888, the decision was made to move to a room in a house on North Street, moving again in 1891 to Ash Cottage, the site of the (recently demolished) old Liberal Club on Waterswallows Road. In 1893, a House Committee was formed, with basic facilities being provided for members.
In the meantime, around 1900, the Ladies Section was welcomed to the home of a Mrs Woolescroft.
A proposal was made in 1904 to construct a Clubhouse; it was completed in 1905.
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In this 1905 picture you can see that the right elevation has changed little. The wall at the front is still there.
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This picture, from 1922, shows the chimney stack clearly.
As the Club evolved, and in the wake of a period of decline following World War 1, in 1929 there was a new section added to the building. Builders and Quantity Surveyors among our membership might agree that the structure might have had a supporting girder (steel or iron) added at this time.
Seen in this picture from 1929, the Clubhouse has taken on a form we easily recognise today.
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The new verandah and meeting area to the front are quite stylish, encouraging social interaction and a shared area for men and lady golfers in which to gather. The wooden first floor balcony area has had a panoramic window added, allowing a magnificent view over the Course. Was it open to the elements? Looking at the bay window from inside, it certainly appears that there was an external balcony.
Any insights to the purpose of the building to the left will be welcome.
Some evidence to support this comes from a photograph in the 1976 official handbook; the doors at the end must lead somewhere?
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So far as the exterior is concerned, it remains largely unchanged for almost the next 50 years. Increased popularity of golf and enlargement of the membership led to the addition of a new wing at the rear in 1978, providing a dining area on the first floor and a larger men’s locker room and washroom.
This photograph was taken in 1986.
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At the time of writing, 2016, the Clubhouse has continued to develop and offers first rate services in hospitality and catering. However, it is clear that the exterior of the building continues to display a traditional look in keeping with the history of the Club.
The Clubhouse 2016
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The two clocks? Do they mark the start of the era of modern Buxton golf!