THE past month has seen the Chichester City Club celebrate its 150th anniversary.
The only private members’ club in the city was formed by a former dean of Chichester Cathedral.
Walter Farquhar Hook was dean of Chichester from 1859 to 1875.
During his time in the post, the cathedral spire collapsed in 1861 and he set about raising the money required to repair the cathedral.
Throughout the six years in which he was engaged in this task, a number of workers were dealing with the restoration.
To provide some place where the men could enjoy social time together, apart from the numerous public houses in Chichester, Dean Hook established the Chichester Working Men’s Club, which had premises in North Pallant, in 1863.
Between 1879 and 1897 the name of the club was changed to the Chichester City Club, which it is still known as today.
Despite attempts being made from 1949 onwards to open club membership up for ladies, this was not actually achieved until 1961, when ladies became entitled to associate membership.
They were only entitled to use the front bar, now called the Pallant Bar.
The Cathedral Bar and billiard room remained out of bounds to ladies until 2003 – the same year the rules were changed to allow ladies to become full members of the club.
We have the dean of Chichester, Walter Farquhar Hook, to thank for the foundation of the club, so a big ‘thank-you, sir’.
To celebrate 150 years of the club, a buffet was held for all members, with additional entertainment.
This was to be the beginning of celebrations which would last throughout the month.
The celebrations on Saturday, May 25, and Sunday, May 26, ended in spectacular flavour.
The chairman, Tim Grainger, presented a cheque to a representative from the Cherries children’s charity for £1,600.
This was the money members of the club raised over a year from April, 2012, to March this year.
The club is now fundraising for the Help for Heroes charity.
On May 26 the club celebrated with an indoor street party.
Also, a commemorative photograph was taken of members who could attend, which will hang in the club and go with previous photographs taken over the years.
For more information on the club visit www.chichestercityclub.co.uk