SPCTF building.jpg

History of SPCTF

How the trust fund was established

 

A Brief History of Southampton Police Club

On 9th July 1948 Southampton Police Chief Constable Charles Box OBE officially opened a new permanent home for the Southampton Police Social and Athletic Club at 17, Hulse Road. The premises known as ‘Normanhurst’ were funded by the Force itself and as well as a Social Club, it provided accommodation for single officers. The Club had been formed in 1921 and was housed in rooms above a warehouse in French Street which gave space below for the storage of boats and skiffs with easy access to the water at the Town Quay. They shared these rooms with Edwin Jones. However when Edwin Jones moved to new premises the Police Club took rooms at the rear of a dairy in Above Bar near the Palace Theatre. In 1932, thanks to the great assistance given by local estate agents, solicitors and building societies, the club purchased 156 Above Bar, a fine house situated in Prospect Place, a crescent with Georgian houses. This was opened as the club on the 6th May 1932 by the Chief Constable Mr F McCormac. The new premises included a spacious billiard room, two lounges, one for men and one for women, a bar, and a large entertainment room on the first floor. There was also living accommodation for the steward and his wife. Unfortunately these premises were destroyed by a fire as a result of one of the bombing raids on the city on 30th November 1940. Some sports trophies were recovered while the building was on fire and a shield remains today in the history society which has melted as a result of the heat on one corner.


After the War a nurses hostel in Archers Road had two rooms on the ground floor which were surplus to requirements, the Police Club was given permission to use these for a bar and recreation purposes. Normanhurst had previously been the home of a Mr Misslebrook, a wholesale provision merchant who evacuated in 1939. The house was used by the Police for administration of Air Raid precautions during the war. Significant building work was necessary to make the premises useable as a club; upstairs rooms were made available for residential occupation by the Steward. When Southampton City Police amalgamated with Hampshire Constabulary, there was a proposal to sell the Club to raise funds for social venues around the Force. This was contested by the Members of the Club and it was agreed that the Club would be kept and would be the property of the membership.


There then followed 23 years of prosperous and successful management of the premises under the stewardship of Les and Vera Steward, during which the mortgage for the premises was paid off and the club was free from debt. Len Payne became Chairman of the Committee and during his time, the billiards room was built onto the house along with two other extensions. All of them were paid for without having to take up a mortgage. The large dance floor and improvements to the kitchens meant that Hulse Road could cater for a wide variety of events including live entertainment, social occasions, seated dinners and children's Christmas parties. As a result of declining business and visitor numbers a decision was taken to close the Club for the last time on Tuesday 12th September 2000. It was sold to Orchid Homes for £1,361,000. Since then this money has been invested and the returns are used to fund good causes for serving/retired members of Hampshire Constabulary and their families under the stewardship of Southampton Police Club Trust Fund. The funds are still awarded in line with the articles created at the time of the sale of the Club premises.