4th December 1920
First registered as "The Ashby and District Territorial Club".
The Club was located in a hut on the Bath Grounds.
Re-registered as "Ivanhoe Social Club". The Club was located over Machin's Garage (now Fairweather Carpets), Kilwardby Street.
The Club took over the Ground Floor of Fishers Office. Seen here on the left the Club Steward, Charlie Ridgeway in shirtsleeves, with his wife.
16th March 1956
A Club Dinner was held at Ashby Town Hall.
A Club Dinner was held at Ashby Town Hall.
In the early sixties, the club though popular was in small rented premises in Kilwardby Street where Fishers offices are now. There was one large area which consisted of a bar about 12 ft. long but barely 10ft. of standing room. Walk from there into the snooker area which housed a ¾ size snooker table especially made for the place, bench seating either side of an ornate fireplace which could accommodate maybe eight members. Between the table and the French doors leading to a grass patch was perhaps 12ft.of space with a drinks table or two and some ordinary chairs. When 20 members were in the place was crowded. Additionally a room off the entrance hall was the Committee room and could be used as a ladies room (but it never was!). The TV was in there but never used.
The Committee of the Club at that time included only one member still with us, Mike Wilkinson, and also included the late Clive Glover, Sid Wilkinson as President, George Allcoat as Chairman and Jack Cleobury as Secretary.
The Club was popular amongst its small membership but the premises were too small to allow for growth. Several on the Committee had aspirations as to acquiring new premises. There was some money in the bank and the Club owned some land.
The Ashby Picture House in Derby Road had been built in 1925. (It closed in 1963 and became part of Skinners Circle Garage). It was owned by the Ilkeston Cinema Co., a company in turn owned by Horace Brailsford who was a member of the Club. Sometime about the end of the War he had hoped to build a new cinema and had bought land in Bath Street, where Castlegate House is now, and the footings for the new Cinema were there, up to about 3ft. He apparently decided that the cinema business in Ashby, with all the competition from Swadlincote, Coalville and Burton together with the advent of TV was not worth the investment and sold the land to the Ivanhoe Club.
As the thoughts of most of the Committee were directed towards a move it came as a shock to find that the Trustees had sold the land behind the Committee’s back for the price it stood at on the Balance Sheet. To say that this was not well received by the Committee would be an understatement but it served to galvanise the enthusiasts into taking steps to achieve their aim. First one and then two one-armed bandits were acquired, (sixpenny machines with a jackpot of about £7) and other fund raising events brought money in. Members were very supportive in that they could see the Committee’s target would be a great benefit to all.
The Club had meetings with Bass Worthington who gave much guidance, provided an Architect for the scheme, helped with the legal niceties of the land acquisition and the appointment of a builder and, certainly not least, gave the Club a loan and guaranteed the viability of the whole project. The builders were S.W.Clarke of Barton under Needwood. In the months from the approval of the plans to well after the opening the Committee was meeting sometimes twice a week to resolve differences regarding the furnishing and fitting out of the new premises. On 16th July 1965 came the opening of the new Club.
16th July 1965
The Club opened at 1 Wilfred Place.
Seen here at the opening ceremony are:
H Riley, Clive Glover, Dick Brown, Alf Grice, ?, Bill Stonyard, ?, Graham Bates, Joe Whetton, ?, Tom Jones, Tom Pearson, ?, Ernie Grice, ?, Isaac Fox.
A Wainwright, George Allcoat, Bass rep., Jack Cloebury, Sam Edwards.
What did we have for our efforts? It should be appreciated that the neighbouring land was still the derelict Derby line and goods yard owned by British Railways. The new building was constructed and the front lounge was a very small affair. Despite this we managed to pack 40 members in to watch the European cup final in 1968. There was very little room for delivery wagons to access the cellar and there was car parking for only about three cars. The main bar had a vinyl floor and vinyl bench seating and vaguely resembled a hospital waiting area. Where the TV is now was the Committee room with no access at other times.
The most important items in the main bar were the two one-armed bandits which, over the years provided us with the funds for all of the improvements. Some years we benefitted by over £25000.
The first two snooker tables were installed. Seen here commissioning the tables are Phil Miller (Steward) with three Riley reps.
The Snooker Room had two tables (now Nos. 2 & 3) and Rileys were so pleased with it that we featured in their sales brochures for some time. Where Table No. 1 is now some members of the Committee felt that a patio overlooking the road was a good idea so this was constructed.
The Club made several approaches to British Railways to buy part of the line opposite the Club but B.R. Estates Department carried more passengers than their trains so we were unsuccessful. Then in 1972 the local authority decided to build sheltered housing (Pithiviers Close and some bungalows in Wilfred Place) together with the new Fire Station. We stepped in and were able to purchase the land which gave us a car park and scope for expanding our premises.
The Club’s popularity was such that we had to restrict membership and the following for snooker was immense particularly as Pot Black appeared on colour TV in 1969. As soon as we had the scope we took out the west wall of the committee room and replaced it with a folding door so that the space could be used all the time except when meetings were on. The famous “patio” was never used and so the snooker room was enlarged to three tables. The cost was minimal as the foundations had been provided at the original build.
It is worth noting that, over the years, we have hosted snooker and billiards exhibitions and matches involving four of the original “Pot Black” eight, and the list of participants includes four World Snooker Champions, the World Billiards Champion and many more who are or were household names on the green baize.
There were two further major projects. Firstly, there was the need to expand the front lounge and at the same time build a kitchen should we decide to provide catering. Secondly, the demands of the snooker fraternity caused us to add two more tables and at the same time build a Committee Room so that the whole of the main bar was available at all times.
Over the years there have been a number of refurbishment schemes with new carpets, curtains and furniture and during one of these jobs in 1988 the archway was conceived which opens up the room and yet provides some segregation for TV watchers.
A major factor in the success of the Club has been the continuity of stewardship. The last stewards in Kilwardby Street were Phil Miller and his wife. They continued after the move and then were replaced by Mick Skellett and his wife Celia. Mick held the post for about 40 years and on retirement was superseded by Karen. When one considers the rapid turnover of staff in licenced premises in the locality and for miles around, this factor has provided us with a stability which is envied by rival establishments.