100 Club - A History

The 100 Club annual dinner was scheduled to occur in concert with the Annual Golf Dinner (ie Burgess Cup night) in 1970. At the annual dinner, J O Gough won the major prize of £500. On completion, Richard Castles organised a roulette game – though this might have been one of the last occasions as such activities were soon to be outside of the Club licencing…
What is not in the notes below is the story of why the 100 Club was formed.

At the time the Club was financially in dire straits. Throughout the 1960’s, the finances were supported by the introduction of two fruit machines – one was an original ‘Dolman’ (after whom the main stadium down at Ashton Gate, is named) and the other was called a ‘Mountain Climber’. There had been some hesitation about introducing the fruit machines. But when the Dolman was trialled, it paid for its purchase within a few months and then returned a steady income stream. The second machine proved even more popular. I have the monthly profit details in the archives… The two machines were installed in the main bar, which now is the Club Room.
The popularity of the fruit machines waned towards the end of the 1960’s and when the licencing board realised that these machines were so profitable that they taxed the profits, so the Club chose to discard the machines rather than to update them.

Having lost its very lucrative fruit machine income, and the 100 Club was introduced to replace this income stream. In its first year, the 100 Club returned to the Club some £370 – a considerable amount in those days.
The fruit machines and the 100 Club helped to sustain the Club during a particularly difficult time. The Roof of the Club desperately needed repairs but the Club had no spare capital. John Collins had been appointed the Club’s architect and he came up with several schemes to alter the Club footprint – including converting the current snooker rooms and Noa restaurant into a ‘Club within a Club’ to attract younger members. Concept drawings of this are currently on display in the Greenway Room (or in the Butlers Pantry). When this idea was rejected, Collins looked at moving the Club into 18 The Mall and renting the main floor out to a restaurant chain – Bernie Brothers. Collins was also authorised to attend an auction of Sundon House on the Promenade with the intention of purchasing the building and relocating the Club to the Promenade. When this fell through, the Board reluctantly agreed to the sale of two of the houses in Waterloo Street (the current Rainbow Café). This occurred in 1973-74.

The 1960’s and 70’s were difficult times for the Club and so we should really appreciate the effect the 100 Club had on our finances and how eventually this injection of income kept the Club afloat.

The 100 Club – Notes from the CC Minute Books
15 October 1968 – The idea of running a 100 Club was first raised in committee on 15 October 1968 and the Secretary was asked to discuss the subject with Mr Gough
21 January 1969 – The Committee is advised that the 100 Club is beginning to get members and it was hoped to begin in March 1969. The committee then debated whether to hold the Golf Dinner and the 100 Club dinner together in March
18 February 1969 – It was considered that at least 65 members would join the 100 Club and it was stated that certain members would underwrite if necessary. The final decision to be given on 20 March when all applications are due.
It was considered that the 100 Club dinner would be held after the 1st march next year (1970) combined with the Golf dinner; dinner and wines to be provided for the 100 Club.
18 March 1969 – A review of applications was made and the Committee arranged to remind members concerned. It was estimated 92 members would have joined by 1 April and resolved to allow two shares for members if necessary up to 100
The £20 draw to take place on the last Friday of each month except March when it would be made at the Golf dinner for £500.
15 April 1969 – 76 applications had been received for the 100 club. Mr Gough thought the final number would be 91. It was agreed to allow members more than one entry and to hold the first draw after the AGM – applications to be received before the draw
Note – the first mention of the Playboy magazine is made at this time in the minutes
29 April 1969 AGM – The 100 Club is formed and underway. The Chairman thanked Mssrs Gough, Castle (Richard), Davidson (Roderick) and Dallas (Neil) for the work they had done in forming the 100 Club and said the 100 draw for £20 would occur after the meeting
20 May 1969 – The 100 Club had sold all the numbers and P H Lucas had won the first £20. The next draw would be Friday 30 May 1969
17 June 1969 – Reported that Mr T J Lalonde (Tim?) had won the second draw of £20
19 July 1969 the 3rd draw was won by Mr R Cooke (Robert or Robin he was to become the MP for Bristol)
16 September 1969 – N J Gibson won the 4th draw
20 October S H Newman won the 6th draw
19 January 1970 It was resolved to hold the 100 Club and Golf Dinner on Saturday 14 March 1970