History of the Great Wakering & District Royal British Legion

Following the formation of the British Legion in 1921, the Wakering & District Branch was formed in April 1922 and began to hold their meetings in one of the local pubs. In 1951 the then Trustees applied to the diocese of Chelmsford to buy the Manse in the High St. The names of the Trustees were Mr Cerson, Mr Stow, Mr Scott & Mr Stebbings. Some of these men still have families in the Village.

They were able to buy the building with the help of a loan from Barclays Bank and then applied for a licence and formed a Club but, being church premises, could not sell alcohol on Sundays.

A small hatch in the front was used as a bar, a small room as a lounge, and a snooker table was located in what is now the Memorial Room. A large room at the front was used for Committee meetings.

The first Steward was Mrs. Nancy Lee who, with her family, lived on the site. Members were asked to lend money to pay for improvements to the building, sums from £10 to £100 were lent, with details being kept in a small note book which showed the date of the loan and the date repaid.

Over the years, improvements were made to the rooms used as a Member’s Club, and the premises have been enlarged with extra rooms built on the sides of the building and the interior altered. The original long bar went round the pillars, a straight bar was then put in, but they could not get rid of the pillars. The current bar was installed a few years back.

Once the Club Bar was making money, it was agreed that they would pay rent to the Branch and meet the costs of running the building.