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Est 1858 Wimbledon village club

26 Lingfield Road, Wimbledon, London, SW19 4QD

Tel: 020 8946 5223 enquiries@thewvc.org.uk The Oldest Social Club in England

The Club also underwent a period of change; the books from the library were transferred to the newly-opened public library and the John Evelyn Society (now the Wimbledon Society) opened their museum (they use part of the building and pay rent).  However, the early years of the 20th century saw a decline in the Club’s fortunes.  Closure was considered in 1916 for financial reasons and was only avoided when a group of 44 Ordinary Members attended a Committee Meeting and voted to increase subscriptions.  This kept things going until 1918, when closure was again considered; at this point events overtook the Club as it was requisitioned by the Army on 16 November, and did not open again until 10 May 1919.  Thereafter the Club enjoyed a rapid revival, which was to be reversed again in the late 1930s when the financial situation again was bleak.

During the second World War the Lecture Hall was used from time to time as temporary accommodation for bombed-out families, and the Club itself received minor damage from bombing raids.  The War years did however see a period of greatly increased membership which was to be the saviour of the Club.  During the period of social change following the War the two types of Membership were seen for the anachronism that they were.  This was soon changed as, after advice from Counsel, new Rules and Bye Laws were published which laid down only one type of Member.

The Club remained much the same for the next 40 odd years but the Lecture Hall, sank into disrepair.  In 1988 a new Charity Scheme was drawn up with a new Charity Council being set up under the Presidency of the Rector of Wimbledon; the administrative arm of the Council (the General Purposes Committee) administers the building  That Committee immediately undertook the restoration of the Lecture Hall which then became available for letting; it immediately started to earn its keep.  Today we have a Montessori School throughout the year, Wimbledon Light Opera and martial arts clubs using the Hall to such an extent that it earns £40,000 + per year.

The Club has an elected Committee of up to 12 Members, three of whom sit on the Charity Council, two of those also sitting on the GPC.

In 2003, in order to comply with the Charity Laws, there was a major reorganisation of how the administration of the whole structure works.  The Club became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Charity, Wimbledon Village Club Ltd. (WVCL)  Its 3 Directors are appointed by the Charity Council but to all intents and purposes will always be those three Members of the Club Committee nominated by that Committee as members of the Charity Council.  WVCL pays rent and a management charge to the Charity, which itself had a change of name and is now Wimbledon Village Hall Trust.

The arrangements seem complicated, but in essence everything works just as it has since we first opened the doors in 1859.

Two books have been published of our history from 1858 to 2008 and are available from the Bar.  The glossy book is free of charge to Members it is also available on line here as a PDF fileThe more serious history, A Victorian Legacy, is £5.

Our History