Home Activities Entertainment Events History Membership Contact Us

   The Comrades Club
    194, Brighton Road, Coulsdon, Surrey, CR5 2NF
              Telephone: 020 8660 0432


 

A Corrugated Iron Building

This plaque was recently unveiled to commemerate the original building that stood on the site of the club from 1886 until 1920.

It also commemerates the fact that Mrs Pankhurst visited the St Andres's Parish Room in 1911 and spoke about "Votes for Women" which has now been granted to those women who sign up as full members of the club.

The club has, on display, a photograph of the Corrugated Iron Building along with other photographs from that era.

 










 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History of the Club

A Short History of the Coulsdon Branch of the Comrades of the Great War Club, which proudly displays two Blue Plaques on the front of the building.

The Village of Coulsdon

The village of Coulsdon dates back to ancient time, the first Deed for Curedesdone being granted by King Frithwald in the year 675.  The Doomsday Book records that in 1086 there was a church and 55 people living in the village of Colesdone.  Today, according to local records, the correct phonetic pronunciation of Coulsdon is actually Coalsden.

Between 1915 and 1965 there existed the Coulsdon & Purley Urban District with Farleigh joining in 1933.  A coat of arms was granted in 1953 (now obsolete) with the motto: Ad Summa Pergamus (let us press on to the highest).  In 1965 this Urban District was absorbed into the London Borough of Croydon.

The Great War

As troops and other servicemen returned home after the end of the Great War there was severe hardship and poverty across the land.  Many of the servicemen banded together in comradeship for mutual support in these hard times.

A great many ex-servicemen were disillusioned by their experiences during the war and in particular the way their leaders threw men into the firing line without thought of safety.  Many singled out General Haig as the main perpetrator of this callous slaughter of British and Empire troops with the Battle of the Somme singled out as their darkest hour.

Towards to end of the Great War and in the following years, several nonpolitical associations were formed representing the rights of ex-service men and women.  Prior to the formation of the British Legion in May 1921 there were four main associations; The National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers (1916).  The British National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers.  The Comrades of the Great War (1917) and the Officers Association (1920).  The amalgamation of these four organisations in 1922 formed the nucleus of the British Legion as we know it today.

Formation of the Club

In 1919, the Coulsdon Branch of the Comrades of the Great War (1919) Limited was formed on the present site in the centre of the village of Coulsdon.  The first President of the Club was Mr Alfred Patchett and members met in a large wooden shed which was their meeting place for some years.  The wooden hut was demolished in 1933 to make way for the existing frontage of the Club. 

The new building was officially opened by Admiral William  E Goodenough KGCB, MVO who live at Parsonís Pightle in Old Coulsdon.  Admiral Goodenough commanded the Light Cruiser Squadron that sighted the German Grand Fleet leading to the Battle of Jutland.  He is buried at St Johnís Church and a local street called Admiralís Walk is named in his honour.

After the end of the Great War, the now Field Marshal the Earl Haig became deeply involved in the welfare of the survivors of that conflict devoting the remainder of his life to championing their cause.  There was much talk of political unrest in the nation and the government sought to under-mind this swelling of dissent by promoting the unification of the multitude of exservicemenís clubs into a single more controllable body.   With the support of Field Marshall Haig a new unifying organisation was formed in 1921 called the British Legion.  Many ex-servicemenís clubs, including some Comrades Clubs amalgamated with or became affiliated to the Royal British Legion.

In a number of cases the memories of the Great War were just too great to allow some ex-servicemen to be linked in any way General Haig and they decided to remain totally independent of the newly formed British Legion.  To this day that remains the case with the Coulsdon Branch of the Comrades of the Great War Club.  The Club is proudly independent of all other such clubs and organisations and is not a member of the Club and Institute Union known as the CIU.


 

World Famous Runner Remembered

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to sport, by GORDON PIRIE, the legendary medium distance runner, the Bourne Society erected a Blue Plaque on the front of the Comrades Club adjacent to the alleyway leading to the South London Harriers hall. It was unveiled on Monday 17th October 2011 by His Worship, Councillor Graham Bass, Mayor of Croydon.

In attendance was Mr Ralph Dunkley, a local man who was a close running companion of Gordon Pirie and was part of the 1500 metre relay team with him that set a World record.

The nephew of Gordon Pirie was also present throughout.  There was a good attendance by members of the South London Harriers, Bourne Society and the Comrades Club.  Following the unveiling ceremony there were a number of speeches given in the Comrades Club followed by refreshments.

Although the Comrades Club has no direct links to Gordon Pirie it was an honour to be part of this auspicious occasion and fully supported the event.


Copywrite: The Coulsdon Comrades of the Great War Club.