The History of Tring & District Conservative Club

Information about the history of the club, the building and the surrounding area of Tring.

This page also includes memories and anicdotes of existing and former members of the club. If you have anything you would like to contribute, please leave it behind the bar with your contact details.

Tring & District Conservative Club History

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Tring & District Conservative ClubThe club has a long history, records of which are lost in time, but we do have a beginning the Victoria Hall in Akeman Street. Of its many rooms the reading room and library were occupied by the Tring District Working Men’s Conservative Club which at that time had 100 members c1890.

At that time Lord Rothschild was Lord of the manor of Tring, and Joseph Grout Williams esq.JP of the manor of Pendley. In the early 1890s our present club building was being erected and in 1893 an engraved stone with that date was placed above the entrance. From that time we were known as the Tring and District Constitution Club.

It closed in 1924, seriously affected by the death of Mr J.G Williams of Pendley Manor, a patron and friend to the club for many years. Soon afterward on the 10th May 1924 we reopened as the Tring and District Conservative Club. The first President was Major Vivian Williams, the heir to the Pendley Estates.

During the Second World War the club was used to accommodate children for the distribution of vitamin pills - fruit juices and medication.

During 1962 the club opened to the then Sunday licensing laws and in1972 women were allowed as guests into the club, later, in their own right as members. (quite right too).

A few dignitaries have passed through our doors in the past, I presume on their way to Chequers the country residence of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom , including Sir Edward Heath and Denis Thatcher the husband of Baroness Margaret Thatcher.

And so we come to the present time almost, if there is anyone with more history and information that we could add to our web site we would be delighted to hear from you.

Please contact the secretary via email or phone 01442 823118.


As an out of town visitor to this site you may like to visit the Hertfordshire and Tring web sites.

Gordon McAndrew Honorary President


Gordon McAndrewsGordon joined the Tring & District Conservative Club in 1958 and has now been a member for 60 years.

The Highlights of his Council Career
Gordon was instrumental in the formation of the following bodies:   
Formed the first Tring Youth Club.

Started Pendley Sports Centre with the gift to Tring by a very benevolent Dorian Williams of 28 acres of lease land for 60 years at a peppercorn rent of £1 per year.

As a member of the divisional Education Committee when Tring Secondary School became a very successful 6th form Comprehensive School.

Formed the Play School at New Mill in the redundant infant school.

As Chairman of the Tring Urban District Council built a very progressive Council Housing Programme including 102 new council houses at Eight Acres.

Now at 88 years old as a retired Trustee is very privileged to be appointed Honorary President of the Club which has become a very successful social institution for over 100 years.

Club Memories of Fred Smith


Fred SmithFirst Steward that I can remember before the war was a Mr Blundell, who lived in the flat at the top of the club building with his son Charlie; I found them both very friendly. At that time there was a waiting list to join the club with a membership restricted to 630. Club outings were always very popular, Thames boat trips from Westminster to Thames Barrage, Windsor to Runnymede; probably most popular were the race trips to Royal Ascot where we were in an enclosure close to Her Majesty the Queen.We had great trips to neighboring Conservative Clubs, games nights at Leighton Buzzard and Watford and organ music nights at High Wycombe.Rules of the club were always strictly enforced particularly those of dress code; Stan Branwhite a committee member would always insist that coats were removed from chairs in the lounge and placed in the cloak room.

I served on the club committee for 10 years in more prosperous times. The gaming machines were well used and generated a good income for the club along with full member ship. I can also remember long discussions in the house committee regarding the painting of the stair railings; eventually it was decided on black and gold which has stood the test of time!!

We would be pleased to see a few more club memories, a line or two will do just jot them down and leave them behind the bar with your contact details.

All Our Yesterdays - Brian Brittain steward for 36 years


Brian BrittainIt all started way back in 1958 when Brian was a lad and 19years old, that he joined the club - In those days the opening hours were limited with no Sunday opening.

It wasn’t as grand then, the small bar was in the corner, the rooms were smaller and a fire kindled in the grate, a picture of Cyril Goodall another team member of the club for many years, now hangs on that very wall.

We move forward to 1964 when Brian starts to pull his first pint behind the bar. At that time his wife Glynis was the Stewardess until 1969. It was in that year that Brian now takes on the roll as Steward of the club.

Brian over looked many changes to the club over the years and made lots of friends. He participated in the many sporting activities of the club and we suspect his favourite was horseracing, especially ‘Glorious Goodwood’.

So there we have it, thirty six years in total. Brian retired in the year 2000 and members can see in our photo album the presentations, the presents and the people who applauded this very popular man.

What can we say but ‘CHEERS BRIAN’

No longer for men only!

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Someone handed me a cutting from the Bucks Herald of March21st 1958 with the headline “No longer for men only?” said that the club was discussing the admission of women, but by October 31st the same year it reported, “ Tring Conservative Club not to admit women as members. The proposal to admit women was defeated by 28 votes to 18.”

The lady Conservatives formed their own club organising charity fund raising events and many well-known Tring ladies were members including Mrs Marjorie Grace, of the High Street Ironmongers, was a prominent member. But now the club is a popular and comfortable meeting place; these days for women as well as men.

Mr Rodwell the first president

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Many years pass and historical records can be lost and so I was informed that Mr Rodwell who we all knew as Bill was the first president, sadly for less than a year. A member for 69 years and trustee for 26 years.

Always fondly remembered by the trustees, committee and members of the Tring and District Conservative Club.

Latest Articles


Hour’s stay at Conservative Club to open extension.

So says the Tring & West Herts Herald
Dated November 1972.

Yet another chapter has been added to
the Tring Conservative Club’s success story. On Saturday evening the Prime Minister, Mr Edward Heath paid a flying visit to the club to open its new extensions which, with refurbishing to the lounge, cost a total of a £14 .000.
Last year 1971 the profit was £4,585.
Application for membership which now stands at six hundred are coming in at the rate of 20 per month. So it was with a feeling of being on top of the world that the club received Mr Heath at 6.20 pm on Saturday. About 150 people were waiting outside to see him arrive.
Inside were 200 members and guests. They were all men. The club does allow women to be associate members and some women prominent in local Conservative activities were disappointed that, because of space restrictions at the club, the committee had felt obliged to make it an all
male occasion. At the entrance Mr James Allason, MP for the Hemel Hempstead Division, introduced Mr John
Spires, chairman of the club to Mr Heath. Mr Spires then introduced the club’s officers and Dignitaries of Hertfordshire county council. When Mr Heath entered the lounge were the opening ceremony was held, he was given a rousing reception. Clearly, he was in a relaxed mood as he took his
placed at the top table and bantered with the BBC and ITV television crews and BBC engineers. Mr Spires, in his welcoming remarks, said that Mr Heath’s visit was “clearly a landmark in the history of the club and in the history of Tring also.”
Mr Heath said he felt it an honour for the club to ask him to open its extensions. With his residence at Chequers, he was a near neighbour and he intimated that he passed through Tring on his way to the coast for his sailing activities. Laughingly, he said now that he knew the whereabouts of the club they might find him dropping off there sometime in the future.
Mr Heath complimented the club on the way it had developed in the past decade to its present prosperous state.

He then commented in great length on government matters, Only two days earlier the marathon talks at Downing Street at ways to check inflation had broken down. A great disappointment for Mr Heath.

To formally open the club extensions Mr Heath unveiled a plaque. As he did so he said: “This is a happy informal and unofficial occasion.”
On behalf of the club Mr Spires presented Mr Heath with a
tankard as a memento of his visit.
For the last half hour of his one hour visit Mr Heath circulated among the club members.
To the strains of ”For he’s a jolly good fellow” Mr. Heath Radiant with smiles, left the club for another engagement
at High Wycombe.

Dear Reader.
This is an edited version of the original report by the Herald.
All Our Yesterdays- Brian Brittain

It all started way back in 1958 when Brian was a lad and 19years old, that he joined the club - In those days the opening hours were limited with no Sunday opening.

No longer for men only!

Someone handed me a cutting from the Bucks Herald of March21st 1958 with the headline “No longer for men only?” said that the club was discussing the admission of women.....