Background History of the Club

The first discussion of forming the Cowplain Social Club and Institute took place at 149 London Road, Cowplain by four men, and when it decided to launch the club , these founder members puchased £5 bonds, repayable when the club became solvent.

The land for the club was purchased on the 29th March 1923, for the sum of £124 from Mr Borrow who owned Padnell Farm which stretched alomg the A3. The builders were Howe and Bishop. Building commenced immediately and the club opened on the 23rd May 1923. The present lower lounge formed the body of the club. As stated the founder members put forward the money, and help for the furnishing was forcoming by means of a share scheme. The club was an immediate success and in 1924 an extension was necessary. This was used for whist drives, dances and badminton. These activities proved popular and attracted people from outside the Cowplain area.

One way of raising profits was an inclusion of a penny fruit machine, unfortunately this was confiscated by the police as illegal.

There were many alterations in the early years but the main hall was built in 1931 to give extra room for more activities; dancing, badminton and whist drives. This allowed the first extension to be used as a billards room which originally had three tables.

During the Second World War the club was used by the army and then as a school, and latterly as a rest centre for Portsmouth people fleeing from the air raids. It remained open during the war years on a restricted basis as alcoholic drinks were hard to get. After the war membership grew to around 450 and was slowly growing and holding its own financially. In 1957 the club managed to get an interest free loan and they installed central heating and refurbished the building. With a warm and welcoming atmosphere and with Cowplain growing, so did the club.

Over the years Cowplain has had snooker, billards, darts, crib, football, cricket and pool teams and have won many trophies.

Founder members included Mr H.Heath, Mr R.Pyle, Mr.H.Howe and Mr W.Durant.

Pictures of the club and areas in Cowplain can be found on the following website.

There are also other photos to be scanned onto the web site.

Kevin McTaggart

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