Burrington Comrades Club

Open to all in the Burrington Parish, our comrades club runs a skittles league at the Parish Hall, from 7:30-9:00 on Monday & Thursday (men) and Tuesday (ladies) evenings, during the winter months.

 

You can play snooker, pool & darts every night except Sunday in the winter.

 

Contact:

 

Men's league - Graham Short, 01769 520279 or by e-mail.

Ladies skittles - Sue Short, 01769 520279.

Open to all in the Burrington Parish, our comrades club runs a skittles league at the Parish Hall, from 7:30-9:00 on Monday & Thursday (men) and Tuesday (ladies) evenings, during the winter months.

 

You can play snooker, pool & darts every night except Sunday in the winter.

 

Contact:

 

Men's league - Graham Short, 01769 520279 or by e-mail.

Ladies skittles - Sue Short, 01769 520279.

The History Of The Comrades Club

 

The ex-servicemen of Burrington found that they were missing the comradeship that they had experienced in the armed services and conceived the idea of the Comrades Club. In the autumn of 1921, they convened a meeting chaired by Harold Taggart and decided to ballot the 32 ex-servicemen in the Parish to see if a club was a viable option. On 10th December the ballot resulted in the decision to purchase an old army hut that would hold a skittle alley. Those present at the meeting promised donations totalling £38, supplementing a grant of £15. The membership fees for the Comrades Club were set at 5/- (25p) for ex-servicemen and 7/6 (37½p) for ‘others’ with an age limit of 16 and over.

 

General Taggart donated an army hut at cost of £77/10s. Parkers Transport hauled the materials to the land kindly donated by Jonathan Pickard, and voluntary labour erected the hut. The comrades organised a fete to celebrate the opening day on 7th June 1922. Activities included skittling for a pig (the pig cost £1/5s), skittling for fowl and duck and guessing the name of the doll. Two cinema shows were on offer, seats were 1/6d, 1/- and 6d (entertainment tax was £3/10s). Tea was to be served at 4:30pm for 9d. The profit for the day was £5/13s/4d.

 

In 1923 a skittle competition was held with a turkey as the prize. Mr W.E Short was the winner and promised to share the turkey, so Mrs Short cooked a Christmas meal in the club for the members. With the exception of the war years and the 1938 fire, the club has maintained the tradition of a club meal to this day.

 

A more permanent Parish Hall was built in 1930 with a door leading into the Old Comrade’s hall. Many events were held including dances, cinema shows, whist drives and, of course, skittles. During 1930’s an extension was added to hold a small Billiard table given by Mr. Babbage of Hansford House.

 

One evening in 1943, locals and several soldiers from the Searchlight unit stationed at Ley Farm attended a dance held in the Parish Hall. By the next morning, the hall and Comrades Club had burnt down. Rumours abound as to the cause of the fire, including that one of the soldiers, while wooing a local girl, had left his smouldering cigarette on the fire blankets stored in the skittle alley.

 

The Comrades built a temporary structure in 1951 to hold the skittle alley and also a billiard room. A doctor in Torrington offered to give his billiard table to the club for a donation of £10 to his local hospital. Gordon Short responded to an advert for a second-hand skittle alley in Ilfracombe and the princely sum of £11 secured the alley. Parkers lorry was hired and 6 volunteers collected the alley, although they had to cut it in half as it was too heavy even for 6 strong men.

 

In 1960 the 10-year temporary licence expired, so the club building was demolished. Elsie Short donated the site for a new hall and the Club started to raise money for the project – it needed £3,500. The Mens’ Club sold the building, along with the site, chairs and utensils, for £500 and gifted the proceeds to the new hall committee. This would give them exclusive use of the billiard room and skittle alley. A Carnival raised more money and by the end of one year, with the help of money raised at other functions and interest free loans, there were sufficient funds to start building. Dr. Cook, the County Education Officer, opened the hall, the County Council having provided the grant money of £1,750.

 

Over the following years, the hall has seen many improvements and the Comrades Club is still going strong. The members still play skittles, darts, billiards, snooker and pool. The club continues to host a dinner early in the year with prizes being given out to the winners of the various competitions.

All through the years the Burrington people have pulled together to raise money, giving their time and labour to enable the community to enjoy the facilities we have today.

 

The original skittle teams

Minstrels – mostly formed after the carnival to raise money for the replacement hall, from the float of ‘Minstrels’

 

U.N.O. – included two Polish Prisoners of War who were resident in the village.

 

Blackbirds – formed of gardeners/chauffeurs/grooms etc from Northcote Manor.

 

Wasps – mostly farmers who sold milk/butter/cream/potatoes etc.

 

Moorbirds – mostly from the Burrington Moor area.

 

Cornsacks – originally all Pickards staff.

 

Townies – villagers from the centre of Burrington.

 

Odds and Allsorts – self-explanatory!

 

Extreems and Newcomers – also self-explanatory.

 

Wanderers became Roamers – possibly self-explanatory!