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History of the Westbury labour club and institute ltd
THE original Westbury Labour Club and Institute LTD roughly where the Dorothy House Shop in Haynes road Is now was built during the winter of 1923-24 and was officially opened in May, 1924, bv Mr. F. Hodges, Civil Lord of the Admiralty. He took part with Mr. A. E. Hayward in the first game of skittles on the alley, and a fighting speech was made by Mr George Ward. - There have been only slight alterations to the premises since they were , opened, involving repositioning of the skittle alley unfortunately in April 1952 the club The BUILDING was DESTROYED WITHIN half an hour of fire being discovered in the roof of the Labour Hall in Haynes Road, Westbury on Wednesday night practically the whole of the Labour Club and Institute comprising the hall, club room, skittle alley and smaller rooms was destroyed. The roof collapsed about fifteen minutes after the alarm was given and practically nothing remains except the brick front wall, a chimney slack and the corrugated iron side walls. The fire was discovered within five 1 minutes of the club being locked up, just after 10.30 p.m. The Steward (Mr, T. Butterworth) locked the building at approximately 10.35, and left two of the members talking in the street outside. One of them was Mr. D. Paterson, of 49 Warminster Road, Westbury, captain of the Labour Club skittles team, which had been playing a skittles match with the International Tobacco Company on the club alley. Mr. Paterson was talking to Mr. Frank Blake, of 21 Frogmore Road, Westbury. Mr. Blake called attention to the smell of burning, and humorously asked Mr. Paterson if he was on fire. Looking round they saw smoke coming from the roof of the hall at the rear of the dub building. _ •• immediately ran up the side, Mr. Paterson told a Wiltshire Times reporter soon after the fire had started on Wednesday night, and looking through the window of the Labour Hall saw flames in the roof. broke a window to try and get in to do something about it, hut found this impossible so I ran to the Police Station and gave the alarm." The official time of the alarm given as 10.40 p.m. and within few minutes the Westbury unit of Wiltshire Fire Service was on the scene and attacked the flames with an ample supply of water from hydrants. Other Fire Service units quickly followed from Trowbridge and Warminster, There was little, however, that the ■ firemen could do, for the flames spread with amazing rapidity along the roof, which was of asbestos sheeting lined with matchboard. The wood lining of the building also quickly caught fire and the whole of the building was raging from end to end within a matter of minutes. of the hall. An electrical fault is suggested. . It was the largest fire in Westbury since a portion of the Chedlet Factory on the Ham was destroyed a few years ago, and a feature was the rapidity with which it spread and the speed which the building was destroyed. It was only just over half an hour after the first alarm that crowds dispersed, the street lamps went out, and there was nothing more to be seen. AFTER THE FIRE The premises were a sorry sight when looked around them on Thursday morning, writes a Wiltshire Times reporter. None of the woodwork which completely lined the interior is intact, but together with the beams forms a charred mass. It speaks volumes for the efficiency of the fire service that the woodwork is by no means all burned away, but only extensively charred, showing that the firemen in the short time at their disposal put out the flames and did not allow the building to burn out. It proves, too, the extraordinary rapidity with which the whole building became involved. The ironclad exterior is extensively buckled in many places. The Steward, Mr. Butterworth. showed our representative a curious feature of the fire. The boiler house at the rear is practically untouched. Hanging in- the boiler house only few inches from a tin partition which became red hot and badly buckled, was a waterproof coat belonging to Mr. Butterworth. It was unharmed. Behind the bar there remain four full barrels of beer, the outsides deeply charred, but the beer remaining inside. The same happened to the barrels of beer the rack in the bar.. Cause Mystery When the roof collapsed the flames subsided to large extent and within half an hour of the call being given there was little left except a few smouldering pieces of woodwork. The Labour Club is detached building and there was little danger to other buildings in the vicinity except flying sparks, The cause of the fire is a mystery, which started in the roof
LABOUR CLUB Now Established on the present site Which was formerly the Prideaux voluntary hospital The annual meeting of Westbury Labour Club & Institute Ltd. was held on Sunday evening. The members stood in memory of Messrs. S. Mitchell (late chairman and president), F. Carter, H. S. Sweetman (life members), W. Gait. A. W. Waters and J. Mead, who died during the year. The Chairman and President (Mr. T. Masters) made special reference to the fact that they were assembled in the combined hall and skittle alley, which had been declared open on Saturday, Jan. 30th. He stressed the point that 21 months after the complete destruction of the old premises they were able to congratulate themselves on this splendid addition to the premises, which they entered only the next evening after the fire. From that day, April 17th, 1952, they had made tremendous effort to place themselves in a position similar to that before the fire. Several members voiced the opinion that in spite of the difficulties which appeared in 1952 they were now able to look forward with pride to achievements since that year.
In 1966 the Westbury Labour Club Hall also Known As The Paragon Hall was erected and officially opened on Thursday the 8th of September by A E Hayward J.P
Then In 1986 the two skittle alleys at the end of the Hall were erected and officially opened by J R Keen ESQ.