History Of The ClubComrades Club History Background
The Club was formed after the Great War when survivors returned to Wallingford and wanted to retain in ‘civvy street’ the cameraderie that they had found in the services.
Originally they had a summerhouse/shed in the corner of Snows Yard – part of an old chalk or gravel pit. There the old comrades would meet informally on a Saturday evening to share experiences and talk about their memories of the war. In one corner they had a pin of ale on a trestle table, which they would draw on and replace as necessary.
They eventually decided that these extra mural meetings could be formalised and, in the early 1920s, half a dozen of them got together and put in some money to buy The Old Malthouse.
In those days the Club was run by members for members with no steward.
Saturdays saw the playing of liar dice which resulted in some very high spirits amongst the younger element of the membership much to the severe disapproval of the older members.
With the arrival of snooker tables Snappy Snooker began. Cards were drawn to find partners and one frame only was played until all parties had played each other. This was usually monthly on a Thursday evening with the prize of 10 cigarettes for the highest break and 10 cigarettes for the winner.
There were also unofficial games one of which took the form of a tricycle race around the snooker room using a variety of children’s tricycles. Sad to report much damage resulted to the tricycles and the marathon was not repeated !
In the early days the Club did not have fruit machines but when they were introduced there was one machine which was 1 shilling (5p) a play and which was hung on the wall next to the bar. It used to generate an income of about £20 per week.
The Club’s 50th Anniversary dinner took place on 10 October 1969 on a bitterly cold and foggy night at Harwell. The transport had been arranged with Tappin’s Coaches and apparently, at the end of a particularly jolly evening, the driver of one of the last coaches to leave became so frustrated by the unwillingness of his passengers to embark that he drove off without them! This caused the then Secretary to remonstrate in no uncertain terms with Tom Tappin who got up and drove a coach over to Harwell personally to rescue the stranded revelers.
Apparently the evening cabaret had been provided by some very scantily clad ladies wearing very little other than some strategically placed tassels. They were most warmly received by the assembled throng who were further entertained when upon hearing a most almighty crash witnessed one of their number on the receiving end of a waitress’s tin tray upon his head. Apparently, enlivened by the floor show, he had attempted to show his appreciation somewhat unwisely. Discretion forbids mention of his name other than to say he was a most highly respected businessman in the town..