Battery End Headquarters

Battery End has been our home for over 60 years and it had a long life even before we moved in. As the Building comes to the end of its life, We wanted to celebrate its glorious history from working mans club, its role in the Second World War, Social hub, and of course Scout Hut.

Please find below a potted history of this amazing old building

1907

Lot 21 of Cromwell Road (now Battery End), Land bought from Thomas William Chivers of Rose Cottage, Wash Common for the sum of 20.00 pounds. (2,363.40 pounds in todays money)

1909

The first part of the of the hut was built as a working mens club and named Club Hall

1920s

8th November 1924 - Agreement was made to puchase some of Mrs Popejoy's land behind Club hall to extend the building. The land cost 30 pounds. The working Men's club wanted to create a billiard room. The slates for the billiard table can still be seen under the hedge

Some objects made from the remains of the billiard table

1930s

The building was extended by adding the main hall area, creating the large airy space we know today

18 March 1939 - There was a good attendance at the Club Hall, Wash Common, on Friday last week, when Mr. Anthony Hurd, the prospective National Government candidate, addressed his first meeting ... " he went on to be Newbury's MP from 1945-1964. His son Douglas followed him into politics and became Foreign Secretrary serving in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major from 1979 to 1995

1940s

Soldiers billet The Lancashire Fusiliers, followed by The Ox. and Bucks. Light Infantry

Eileen Barnes recalls - "According to my old neighbour, the Battery End hut was used for fund-raising during the war (while the men were serving in the forces) to clear the common along Stuart Road of gorse etc. that grew there and thats how we have a lovely park there today. They had regular whist drives, jumble sales and the like

in RB Tubs book he quotes Doris Baldwyns book "The vision that changed my life " Aparently, also during WW2 the building was divided into sections where evcuated families from London came and lived. Beds on one side and living space on the other. There was a small dark kitchen and one toilet to share

1950s

The Cub pack started in 1957. Akela was Mrs "Cissie" Mister who ran the Wool Shop ('Bannisters' in Bartholomew Street, Newbury) and Mrs Wilcox, though the building was still very much a community facility. Rene Hanks was involved with the running a whist drive and also Reg Hanks ran a Rock and Roll club on a Monday night. Mrs Jennings providing the refreshments with soft drinks from the Newbury Mineral Company.

1953

For the coronation of her majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a Childrens Coronation Party was held in the hut.

1960s

The Wash Common Scout section starts in November by Mr Shelton and Mr L Dalby, there were 7 Boys

1962

First camp was to Windsor International Camp, Mr Sheldon became Group Scoutmaster, Scout Leader was Mr Jack Dalby who became Chairman of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust.

November 1964

Second Cub Pack formed by Miss Dalby

September 1965

Second Scout troop was formed

St Francis De Sales Catholic Church set up back in the 60s and used the hut as a makeshift Church for Sunday masses. They then obtained the barn and land at Warren Road, and built their new church in the converted barn

Dances, Friday night Youth Club 21st Birthday party

The Club SIX run by Father Birt from St Georges. Helen Englefield Nee Cripps remember "Our Dad, Fred Cripps, helped Father Birt run a Youth Club and he later created a path outside the hut down one side from the slate panels from the billiard table he dismantled. The wood in the table was mahogany and he used it to make us dining chairs and table and he covered the seat with the green baize and Rob had a piece for his table football subutteo which he still has. A lot of other bits of furniture Dad made also originated from the table."

Christmas parties and practices/performances for a number of plays put on by Father Birt took place at the hut. Rob remembers going to rehearsals there. Mr Victor Rousell (headteacher at John Rankin school) played music there as well.

Helen Englefield remembers "My sister Sue remembers going to the youth club and trying to play billiards on the table. She also remembers having her first taste of Vimto and 7up there. She too still has some of the billiard table - Dad used some of the green baize on a semi circular card table, which is in use once a month. Anne only remembers one time going inside and that was for a Christmas bazaar which was opened by Lady Porchester aka Jean Countess of Caernavon. She bought a tiny whimsy of a bear cub!"

Some photos from around 1965

With thanks to Helen Englefield

Monday Night Club - Ann Worthington met her husband

1970s

I used to go to the Tuesday night club in the early 70s. Great fun. Dave James disco, hubbly bubbly, Vimto and the odd bottle of home made wine or a bottle of sherry sneaked in. Still friends with people I met there. Run by Phil Barnett and a teacher from St Barts

Tuesday night youth club with disco

Square dancing on Tuesday nights

1973

Gifted to the Scout Association by Wash Common Working Mans Club it was run by 3 elderly gentlemen, the trustees were Fred Brown, Maurice Chivers and Thomas Dyke who were happy to be rid of the responsibility of the hut!

1980s

Dalby Akela Daphne Gibby remembers cubs picking out worms from the rotten floorboards

Cromwell Leader Ashley and his motorbike, Falkland Leader Skip John Rowlands

GSL Charles Lewis

1986

Beaver Section opens at Wash Common, Ian Daniels was one of the original members

Eileen Finch Mister Pack - Wednesday nights

1990s

Second Beaver Section opens.

Dave Stork Hill Falkland Troop

Eugene Futcher Cromwell Troop

2000s

Geoff Bodin Falkland Troop Leader, assistant Leaders Rob Daniels, Paul Fisher, Stu Meades

The hut gets remodelled. Stores extended, kitchen moved and section cupboard spaces extended

Eileen Barnes remembers - I replaced my daughter-in-law as parent helper when my grandson was a Beaver (he's 23 now). The children were playing a game in the dark where they had to get from one end of the hall to the other without being caught. All well and good until one little darling kicked his legs back before running, caught me and I fell down, finishing the evening at Royal Berks Hospital with fractured right arm and leg.

GSL Colin Chandler

2010s

GSL Eugene Futcher

2013

Hut closes for 6 months for remedial repairs costing £12,000

2015

GSL Phil Davey, Chair Richard Parry

After the repairs, Battery End Hall is given 10 years left - less if there is a heavy winter. Plans begin to replace Scout hut on the original site.

2016

June - The residents of Battery End hold a street party outside and inside the hut to celebrate the Queens 90th Birthday.

Fundraising for the new HQ begins...

2018

GSL Rob Daniels, Chair Mike Goddard

Idea floated of buying some land and moving to Falkland Cricket Club

2019

Full Planning Permission granted for a 4 bedroom house on Battery End, replacing the Scout hut.

2020....

If you have any stories or memories then please get in touch. CONTACT US

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