Branch information

Welcome to the Hanworth Branch of The Royal British Legion

Branch and Club Location: 22 Cross Road, Hanworth, Middlesex TW13 6QW

Our branch officers are:

Branch Officers
President David Groves
Chairman Graham Crean (Temp)
Vice Chairman Graham Crean
Secretary Malcolm Keightley
Treasurer Carol Balfe
Welfare Chairman David Groves
Standard Bearer Graham Crean
Poppy Appeal Organiser Graham Crean

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At the end of the First World War, a certain amount of money had accumulated from the vairious Regimental Canteen profits, and it was made known that applications would be considered from Local Communities for Grants to assist with the rehabilitation etc. of the Ex-servicemen. About that time a Welfare Organisation known as the Ivy Leaf was holding meetings in the local "Brown Bear" Pub and its Secretary, a villager named Dixon, took a chance and applied for a grant from the "Canteen Funds". To his surprise, the Association recieved a grant. With the money they brought something similar to a large ex-Army type hut. It was erected on a site near where the War Memorial stood at the junction of Bear Road and Twickenham Road. A Club was soon formed and this was called "The Hanworth United Services Club". Later on April 23rd 1921 land was purchased in Hampton Edge Road (now Cross Road) by the Trustees of the Staines Rural Welfare Committee, which was a committee appointed by the United Services Fund, and certain trustees were appointed in which the Freehold land was vested. These Trustees being Trustees of the Staines Rural Welfare Committee. The Building was now re-erected on this land and the Club got underway.

The first recorded Secretary was Frank Purdue and the Steward was Bill Allen. Soon the 1920's depression began having an effect and the Club was not doing so well. Debts accumulatted (too much was being put on "The Slate", Bills were not paid and the Club was going broke. About this time, the local Vicar, the Rev. Parry-Okedon,  was endeavouring to form a Branch of the Royal British Legion in Hanworth. He was contacted about the British Legion taking over the United Services Club and it's debts. Following advice from HQ, postcards were sent out to all Club members. A Meeting was held at  the Club and by a show of hands, the elected to become a British Legion Branch, the date was February 26th 1927. The Rev. Parry-Okedon became Secretary and was later President of the Branch until the Second World War. He was also Chairman of the Club and Treasurer until 1938 when he retired due to the pressure of other work. Lord Semfield, who resided at the time in Hanworth House, became the first Branch President. Hanworth House is located in the centre of Hanworth Air Park and is at present an old peoples home. The first Legion Standard was purchased by all Members contributing 1 Shilling each, including one from Lord Semfield. At least fifty Standards from other Branches took part in the Dedication, which had to be held in the local recreation park in Bear Road, as St. Georges Church was considered not big enough to accomodate the Assembly.

Then it appears taht by a conveyance dated October 20th 1930, the above trustees conveyed the property to the British Legion (Hanworth) Club Ltd. in fee simple, subject only to the charge in favour of the United Services Fund. The Deed was duly stamped and Registered, and thus there was now no need to appoint new trustees or execute any new Deed/Trust. It must of coarse be clearly understood that the property (land) can only be used for the purposes of the Royal British Legion (Hanworth) Club Ltd., and in accordance with the Rules which were incorperated in the Original Trust Deed.

A brick extension had now been added to the wooden structure and this now formed the bar. Bert Hills was now the Steward, The Clubs fortunes rose and fell, and at one time the Rev. Parry-Okedon a Mr. Carter and Mr. Seargent gave securities of £100 each to guarantee beer and cigarette supplies.

In the early Thirties a fire one lunchtime destroyed the property, the Till was saved by George Kent and Mr. Carter. The Insurance payout cleared the debts. A Meeting was called with the backing of Mr. Ridge, a local J.P. and County Councilor, to discuss re-building. Letters were sent out to all  local business people for donations. Whlst Drives were held and other functions organised to raise capital. Eventually the property was rebuilt but it was not until the outbreak of the Second World War that the Legion and Club really made headway, with the Home Guard making good use of the premises.

During the Second World War on August 20th 1944, the Club suffered some damage, mainly to the roof when a "Flying Bomb" landed about 100 yards away in the Twickenham Road Close. But throughout this period trade was fair, and profits were put aside towards a "Building Fund".

The first major alterayions took place in the early Sixties when a new Block was added, incorperating a snooker room for two Tables, a Secretary's office, comittee room and Branch Office. This enabled the old Snooker Room to be re-furbished as as a Lounge complete with Bar. Then in 1971 this Office area was gutted, which doubled the size of the Main Hall and new Offices were built adjoining and to the side of the Snooker Room.

Owing to the ack of Parking Space, futher expansion was refused by the Authorities, although the Toilet facilities were now proving inadequate for the increased Membership the refurbishments were bringing about. It was not until 1975 that Council permission was granted to rebuild the Tolets, and advantage was takenin designing this single storeynstructure, to make it a base for the future addition of a second floor, which could house  the two Snooker Tables. This in turn, by removing the partiing wall, would enable an increase in the seating area of the Main Hall, and it remains the present day expansion programme.

Planning permission was granted for this latest project, mainly due to a stroke of good fourtune falling the Club's way, when the derelict piece of adjacent land was offered to the Club by Shell U.K. The land was eagerly purchased and professionally developed into the Car Park, now a necessity for the present size of the Club.

While the Club slowly developed over the Post-War years, so the increased Membership was to the advantage of the Branch. Membership rose over the years from around 235 in the Thirties, to over 1000 in the middle Seventies.

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