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Club House History

The Club House of Royal Wimbledon has been in many locations over the last 150 years and in addition until 1932 there were separate Club Houses for the male and female members. The following is a potted history.



The Club House moved from Mrs Doggett’s Cottage to the Iron House.


The Conservators proposed that the golf course should start at the Windmill not the Iron House near Roehampton. The golfers agreed to this providing they could have a cottage near the Windmill as a Club House; however it was 1880 before this was resolved.


In June, notice to quit the Iron House as the Club House was given. Mrs Croft’s cottages near the eight and eleventh holes came on to the market. Although less than perfect the Club took the premises and built its own iron room in the garden.


The Club moved to Camp Cottage on a 21 year lease from Mr Frank Malleson. The Iron room built at Mrs Croft’s cottages was dismantled and re-erected at Camp cottage. Today it is the old Dining room.


In October it was announced in the local press that the Ladies Club was to be revived with one hundred and forty five Ladies and twenty three Men (offered Associate membership). The Conservators allotted ground for a new 9 hole course which was to the west of the long range butts. The club house was a thatched cottage leased from the conservators. Men were forbidden to enter the Ladies' Club House.


The Ladies Club house was rebuilt by September. The men continued to look after the Ladies club until 1893.The Ladies managed the domestic business of the Club House, keeping in touch with the men through correspondence.


The Ladies are allowed to use the Men’s course for a tournament. They were also given courtesy of the Club House for the occasion.


Electricity was connected to the Club at camp Cottage. Twenty six lights and a telephone were installed.


The Ladies installed a telephone in their Club House. Dogs were banned from the Ladies' Club House but Men were at last allowed in.


The Ladies course was taken over as an Army camp. RWGC, after much debate but with gallantry, admitted Ladies to their new course for as long as they are dispossessed by the camp. There were many conditions attached to this concession.

As a result of the many concessions J.L.Ridpath proposed that Ladies should be admitted to the Club on the same terms as men and went so far as to suggest the writing room become the Ladies room. The Captain was deputed 'to put Ridpath back on the rails'. The Committee proposed to allow the Ladies to play 5 days instead of 3 and to introduce lady friends. In April these new arrangements were adopted.


In January the Ladies were allowed to leave their cars in the garage at the Club but only if the Men did not require the space.

In February Norman Foster, who had served the Club as Secretary and had been Captain in 1906, wrote to the Committee stating that, as the Camp did not appear to be leaving the Ladies Course, the Ladies should be extended the courtesy of RWGC until the lease runs out in 1932. In addition they should be allowed to erect their own Club House near the curling pond. In June the Ladies agreed to raise their contribution to £250 and to double their green fee to 2s6d


Mr Malleson , the owner of the lease on the Club House, died. His daughter sold the building to the Club for £6,500.


It was agreed that the Ladies and RWGC should amalgamate; the Ladies having 5 day membership. The Men would only be responsible for finance and catering. The Ladies would have their own committee and elect their own members. The Club's constitution was accordingly changed.


The wartime privilege of allowing Ladies to take lunch at weekends was withdrawn on October 28th.


In April there was a feeling among the male members that they should be allowed to bring wives, daughters or friends into the Club House on Saturdays & Sundays rather than have them wait outside. The Men were sympathetic to this.


A referendum produced a majority of more than two-thirds of the Men in favour of allowing the Dining Room to be mixed, albeit it with separate tables for Ladies.


Major refurbishments were made to the Club House. The 'front' overlooking the course was expanded temporarily removing the snooker room. The new Club House was opened by the Duke of York who was made an honorary member.


The Ladies acquire equal status to men and are made full members.


Major refurbishments to the Club House were made. The Men's changing rooms on the first floor were rationalised; no longer are they a 'rabbit warren' of small rooms which were probably the original bed rooms to Camp Cottage. A new entrance from the 'curling rink' car park was constructed.