Westwood Works 1903-2003
The Westwood Works Sports Club emerged in name, if not in its later constitutional form, out of a meeting held on the 14th April, 1910, to consider the state of finance of the existing Works Cricket and Football Clubs. The original Minutes of that meeting make interesting reading. One of the first acts was to propose and carry the formation of a Quoits Section, and it is recorded later in the year that "two loads of clay and two tons of railway sleepers be purchased at the cost of twenty-five shillings" for a foundation bed. Costs and interests may have changed since then but the Club expanded over the years to embrace almost all of the sports and recreations of the Westwood Works employees.
The Company employed a permanent Secretary responsible for day to day administration but the general policy was controlled by a General Committee elected annually. This Committee consisted of representatives from the various Sections and one from each Department of the Works. In addition, each Section had its own Officers and Committee to look after its particular interests (from Westwood Works Sports Club Booklet - 1955).
The Alma Road Clubhouse and Sports Ground
The wide range of leisure activities open to employees
Raising funds for the Sports Club
Various sports events and a great day out
The Apprentices get in on the act
Commemorating exceptional service to the Sports Club
To the Winners the Spoils
Memories of the 21st, 50th and 75th Anniversaries of the Sports Club
Volunteers gave disadvantaged children a Christmas treat
1991 sees the end of the Sports Club House
62 years of Amateur Dramatics
1985 was the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the Sports and Social Club and the Summer 1985 issue of "Contact" carried the following history of the Sports Club's development during its early years:
Thanks to all readers of Contact who took us down memory lane after the article on the club in the last issue.
It was 75 years ago on 14th April that a small number of employees met with the idea of forming a club with a minimum of 100 members. Today there are 1500 members, fine sports grounds, pitches and an attractive clubhouse. There are 24 sections, among them motoring, caravanning and camping, football, rugby, cricket, tennis, angling, bowls, hockey, snooker, ladies’ keep fit, horticulture, photography and retired members.
In the 1904-5 season, employees started a football team. Not to be outdone, the cricketers established The Panification Team (Panification : the process of bread making).
By 1910 it was decided to form the Westwood Works Sports Club. The officials appointed were: F.C. Ihlee (chairman), C.J. Hayward (secretary), G. Sellicks (assistant secretary), W.A. Sandover (treasurer), and H.B. Fairclough. Mr Ihlee was chief executive of the company and Mr Hayward was known to everyone as ‘Father Hayward’.
Among the vice presidents were C.E. Pointon, J.E. Pointon, J.G. Booth, W.H. Beans, B.A. Collenette and Messrs Bar, Jones, Wagstaffe, Laidler and Shephers, whose initials have disappeared in the mists of time and are thought to have been sales representatives.
Subscriptions were fixed at one old penny a week for seniors and one penny a fortnight for juniors. Honorary members paid five shillings a year. The club colours were red and white, as they are to this day.
The two teams started at the Paul Pry ground at Walton. When the sports club was formed, the footballers used the G.N. Railway ground at the bottom of Westwood Bridge.
In 1911 the railway company gave the club notice to quit – footballs kicked against wires upset communications between Werrington and Crescent junction signal boxes.
A move was made to the Peterborough showground, then to Millfield. But the owner discovered he had no right to let the ground in the first place.
A new ground was found right opposite Westwood Works. Owned by Johnson, the butcher, it was rented for £16 a year. It was used for about eight years.
The first annual general meeting was held on 30th August 1911. Chairman F.C. Ihlee reported that the club had a small deficit of £1 7s 5d. The football section was champion of the Peterborough football league, and was unbeaten. The reserves were only beaten into second place in the second division on goal average.
A bowling green came into being that year. A swimming section also received the committee’s blessing, and the promise of a ten shilling water polo ball.
It was in May 1919 that the AGM decided that every effort would be made to acquire a sports ground. Only three months later the Alma Road ground was acquired.
In the following year Mr Gordon Lewis was elected chairman of the general committee, Mr Ralph Smith treasurer and Mr W.G. Davies secretary. For the next nine years they did much to enhance the status of the club.
Mr Alf Jones, now living in retirement, was appointed general secretary in 1929. an excellent cricketer, he had joined Baker Perkins as a junior draughtsman and immediately took an interest in the sports club. He was to remain as a vigorous and enthusiastic general secretary until retirement in September 1965. The post had become full-time salaried in 1946.
Mr P.W. Baker took over as chairman of the general committee at a time of expansion.
The 1930s saw four tennis areas converted to hard courts, the laying of a new bowling green and cricket square and the construction of new bowls and tennis pavilions. And an outdoor rifle range was opened at a site at the works.
Then on 12th February 1938 president F.C. Ihlee officially opened the new clubhouse.
The following year Mr Ihlee died and was succeeded as president by Mr Josh Booth, works director. He was to die in 1942, and was succeeded by Mr J.S. Baker, who, after two years, handed over the reins to Mr L.H. King.
Another article - "The Past 25 Years" - in the Winter 1985 issue of "Contact" brought the history of the Club up-to-date to 1985:
The swinging sixties had its impact on the Westwood Works Sports Club, though it continued its policy as a family club with enterprising events and improvements.
In the 1960s the club celebrated its golden jubilee. By then there were 2000 members. All twenty sections put on a match, show or display. The star attraction was Godfrey Evans, the Kent and England wicket keeper, who gave a talk on cricket and his experiences.
The first influence of the 1960s era was the popularity of jive dancing, so popular, in fact, that a special committee was formed to organise jive sessions. These mid-week dances became famous in the area, an attraction for many miles. The jive section held a Christmas dance in 1962; the following year they increased the length of each session by half an hour to allow sufficient time for two hands to play.
A big change in the 1960s was the advent of fruit machines, which were to be a major factor in raising revenue for club improvements. The clubhouse committee turned down the introduction of these gaming machines in 1962; members had to wait three years before they were installed. Takings in the first week were £19.
Another sign of the times was the lack of interest in billiards and snooker. The three tables were taken out. One was given to the City Youth Club and the other two were put into store after a failure to negotiate with E.J. Riley for an exchange for a bar billiards table. This was a stroke of good fortune, for the two tables were put back in use.
In 1962 there was a group sports day, complete with the election of Miss Baker Perkins, Freda Scholes from Forgrove. Film shows were popular at the clubhouse, and the new corporate film was shown. In May of that year the company’s annual general meeting was held in the ballroom.
It was also the year when employees started Christmas parties for children in need, generous work that is much appreciated in Peterborough.
There was a series of demonstrations by local traders of sportswear, cosmetics, hair styles and ladies’ fashions.
There were alterations to the premises, with improvements in the bar areas, the kitchen and, perhaps most notably, the creation of a car park which was made possible by the purchase and demolition of adjoining cottages. Until the 1960s there had been no demand for parking, but the increasing use of cars changed that.
For the three years starting in 1967, the Northamptonshire County Cricket Club played major matches at Alma Road. Television coverage put the pitch on the national map, and these events were a tribute to the ability of groundsman Ken Morris.
Family days were held at the sports club in 1968 and 1969, and meanwhile, the very successful fireworks nights were started as a regular November 5th event. Jive nights once coincided with the date and the clubhouse committee recommended that special safety precautions should be taken so that excitable jivers did not interfere with the Guy Fawkes celebrations. By 1967, however, jive had lost its popularity, and the following year saw the start of the disco.
In 1971, the general committee began to review the facilities provided by the club in the light of changing leisure time requirements. It was decided that if the clubhouse was to continue to be supported, the surroundings would have to be made more attractive and be able to accommodate a greater range of activities.
A plan was drawn up for a large and elaborate scheme, including a full-sized sports hall. In the event, this proved too costly and finally a more modest plan to develop the social facilities, and costing £36,000, was drawn up and approved.
The work was completed in 1976 without the clubhouse having to close. At the same time, the club started to build a new motor club and better facilities for the rugby club at the Westfield Road ground.
The cost was met by the accumulated funds of the club plus loans from Green King of £5,000 and Lloyds Bank of £30,000. In addition, the brewery made a gift of £1,000 towards the motor club building at Westfield Road.
Much else was accomplished. The rules were re-organised and the name was changed from Westwood to Baker Perkins Sports & Social Club. The finances of the club improved. Family use of the club was encouraged and the committees were streamlined. A manager was appointed and Ken Knight, who succeeded Alf Jones as general secretary, also worked as assistant manager during the 18 months of rebuilding and change, giving invaluable assistance and advice.
On Sunday 14th November 1976, Coronation Street barmaid, Betty Driver, pulled the ‘first’ pint to declare the refurbished premises well and truly open. Two new bars, committee rooms, toilets and kitchen – and a refurbished ballroom – gave the premises a look of luxury.
After the completion of the 1976 extensions, the club continued to expand and improve. There was the addition of changing and shower rooms for football and hockey teams, a vastly improved and enlarged ballroom; a bigger bar with two snooker tables, which were pre-war models rescued and made as new; a darts room; a refurbished entrance hall; the conversion of the steward’s flat into extensive new committee rooms; upgraded toilets, a cricket pavilion returned to its former glory.
All of this was made possible by financial assistance from Baker Perkins, Greene King and Ind. Coope. It was made possible by satisfactory club profits and the very hard work of members who carried out many of the tasks of refurbishing. Last, but not least, by the Supporters’ club, whose weekly draw has enabled them to make generous and sizeable gifts to the club.
PLEASE NOTE: For a more complete history see Jim Farrow's book - "Memories of the Baker Perkins Sports and Social Club" - published by the Baker Perkins Historical Society in June 2008.
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