Gentlemen’s Clubs summon images of smartly dressed men sipping brandy while sitting in leather wing-backed chairs.
You could imagine princes and kings frequenting them – with, as the name suggests, strictly no women allowed.
This picture was published in the County Times in January 1985 as part of an article to mark the centenary of the Horsham Club.
The club was housed in this ivy covered building next to the town’s post office, before it moved across the Carfax in the 1920s. The buildings in the picture were later demolished and replaced with what it now Grandford House.
In 1985, the club’s chairman was Stan Parsons, 79, who joined in 1939 and had been the top man for 34 years. Stan said of the club: “What we’ve always looked for are members with a decent standard of habits and lifestyle. A man’s job or colour or race does not come into it.”
Joining the Horsham Club was no easy task. A man had to be proposed, seconded and then make it through an interview where his tastes and outlook on life were examined. Men were not allowed to let their standards slip, though, and the ‘wrong sort’ were soon weeded out.
Stan said: “There was one chap who was drinking rather too much and talking too loudly, which is not really on. He also was proposing the wrong sort of people to become members. He was soon asked to leave.”
It could be said, despite its old-fashioned feel, the club was somewhat forward-thinking. It allowed women to join. But only from Friday-Sunday. As Stan said: “There was a proposal women be allowed in on every day of the week but that was never taken up. It is very nice as it is.”
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