Welcome to the Hanworth Branch of The Royal British Legion
Branch and Club Location: 22 Cross Road, Hanworth, Middlesex
Our branch officers are:
Contact the Branch
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
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
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.