History of Spencer Sport & Social Club

Written by Spencer admin.

SPENCER SPORTS CLUB

(Founded 1923)

 

Compiled by Roy HAWKER

 

With the idea of forming a Sports Club the Directors and Senior Management of the Company decided to hold a meeting with all staff interested. A meeting was held and a decision was made to form an Athletic Club on the 12th March 1923.

 

The field and allotments behind Bowden View (The B&B nearby) were earmarked for the Bowls Green & Tennis Courts with Mr.H.Strugnell being appointed grounds man.

 

Plans were made to develop a Building to hold Social Events such as Skittles and Rifle shooting with much of the work being done with volunteer labour.

 

In 1926 the three Major Football Clubs in Melksham held a meeting to form a Melksham Town Team, The Teams concerned were Avon F.C , Melksham F.C and Spencer Sports F.C

 

It was felt that Melksham could not host 3 Teams in The Wilts Senior League so a decision was taken to merge all three teams each holding a third interest.

 

In the years 1929 – 1931 membership dropped due to the depression and many of the workers having been put on suspension. Subscriptions at this time were two old pence per week.

 

In 1935 the Bowls Section had two events; Mr J Millar was made President of the Wiltshire Men’s Bowls association and the Australian Touring Team played an England Team on our Green.

 

During the war years many activities were put on hold and not until the late forties and early fifties did the club activities revive. In the sixties Skittle Alleys one and two were developed and became multi functional and also used for Dances, Wedding Parties and Meetings. Around this same time Football, Cricket, Rifle Shooting had ceased but Table Tennis was now being played.

 

The Bowls and Tennis Sections were going strong and Bingo had been established on Sunday evenings.

 

In 1976 a new Club building (Lounge Bar) was planned, constructed and opened in June of that year. This building was ultimately paid for by the members.

 

In 1982/83 the New Club Hall was planned and built again providing for all the facilities that the original Alley one and two provided but it was much larger and flexible in its use.

 

In November of 1987 the G.E.C Management announced the closure of the Melksham Factory and that this would take place in a period up and until April of 1988.

 

The Sports Club members and its committee were unclear as to the exact position of the Club. In the period of January to March of 1988 it became clear that the Company were not going to hand the club over to the members.

 

An Emergency meeting was called in April when it was established that membership had fallen from 800+ to 400+ due to redundancies, it was proposed we employ Solicitors to fight our case and that we set up a fighting fund to secure the club for the benefit of the members.

 

After 3 very arduous years of negotiations with threats of ‘Peppercorn Rents’, Find somewhere new and Do not run into debt. A deal was finally done , the GEC offered us the site for £130,000.

 

We had saved in our fighting fund - £30,000, another £50,000 came from Foundation for Sports and The Arts and a loan for £50,000.

 

The Deal was finalised in December 1995, our Trustees being Jason Webb, Paul Edwards, Andy Roberts and Steve Gedge. All of who are still members and hold these positions.

 

It is now 20 years on (2013) and the next and final date is December of 2045 when GEC or its advisors hand over ownership and financial claims to the membership.

 

 

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