Murray Engine Works
The Round School
The DLI & Chester
Gt. North Road
The Great Flood
CAN YOU HELP?
Shrove Tuesday Football
Donald O Clarke
A Brief History
Murder at Mill
Vincent "Bush" Parker
The Cestrian Club
A Dastardly Deed
The Lumley Warriors
CLS Cricket Club
Meet the Members
WOOLWORTHS - End of an Era
NEWS & EVENTS
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
100 Years Ago
Links for Chester-le-Street Heritage Group
Would you like to see a Heritage Centre in Chester-le-Street
The Cestrian Club
|The Cestrian Club today occupies one of the oldest and most attractive buildings on the Front Street of Chester-le-Street.
The earliest records show that at a sale on the 25th June 1875, the property which was then known as 54/56, Front Street, was purchased jointly by Messrs. William Chatres and George Freeman.
Below the advert announcing the sale - Courtesy The Cestrian Club
|Eighteen years later, on the 4th July, 1893 John William Luccock, (described as a Confectioner and Provisions Merchant), together with George Anthony Fenwick (owner of Chester-le-Street Brewery) and Thomas William Bulman bought the property, which at that time consisted of a public house on the upper floor known as “The Buck Inn”, with stables at the rear and two shops at the front, all for the sum of £2,300.
Below Luccock's Shop with the Buck Inn above - you can just make out the picture of the Stag on each side of the window. Photo courtesy The Cestrian Club
|Now the Luccock family were also the owners of the Sweet and Jam manufacturing factory called the “Stag Confectionery Works”, which had previously been the location of Murray’s Engineering Company in Foundry Lane, later to become Horner’s Toffee Factory. One of the two shops on the ground floor then became the outlet for Luccock’s confectionery.
There is some speculation that the “Buck Inn” and the “Stag Works” were linked by name, particularly as the sign for the “Buck Inn” clearly displays the picture of a Stag.
There are tales that the alley, which separated the Buck Inn from the adjacent properties, and led to a cobbled lane behind the Front Street, gave easy access to the Cong Burn, where it is said, contraband goods used to be conveyed from Sunderland. The route then became known as “Smugglers Alley”.
Less sensationally, there was a period when the upper floor of the premises contained a gymnasium, which provided facilities for dances and other social activities.
The side entrance to the club through what was known as "Smuggler's Alley". Photo courtesy A. Thompson.
|The Cestrian Club Formation.
The Cestrian Club was formed in 1911 by a number of professionals, Trades People and Businessmen from the town, who initially rented premises further up the Front Street before moving into and converting, the vacated upstairs dwellings above Luccock’s shop, again on a rental basis.
When Mr. Luccock died in 1943, the executors of his will sold the property to Henry Thomas Smelt of Whickham for £4,500.
Mr. Smelt was also the owner of the Savoy Theatre adjoining the Club, and probably had plans to extend the Cinema across to the Club and shop areas. However, for some unknown reason, nothing transpired and five years later Mr. Smelt put the property up for sale.
In December 1948, the Cestrian Club agreed to buy the property including the shops for £6,000. At the time, the shops below were occupied by Messrs. Dunns (Footwear) at No.54 and Newcastle & Gateshead Gas Company at No.56.
Mr. Fredrick Mole, a building contractor in the town, having been a club member for 37 years, was elected to assist in the purchasing negotiations, and the premises were secured on behalf of the Club Committee through a mortgage agreement with Martins Bank.
The Cestrian Club above "Shoefayre" after the demolition of the Savoy Theatre. Photo courtesy D.A. Hall.
|The Cestrian Club Today.
Shops still occupy the ground floor, whilst the Cestrian Club on the upper floor is still accessed via a side entrance in the alley. The Club was set up to provide a social venue for men only. The atmosphere today is very relaxed and comfortable. The recently decorated interior is traditional, with a subdued elegance. There is provision for the customary games of Snooker, Billiards, Darts, Dominoes, Cards and daily newspapers.
The Cestrian Club today. Photo courtesy A. Thompson.
|The current Steward and Stewardess, Allan and Shirley Storey have been with the Club for the past three years, having been associated with other public houses as far apart as Manchester, Scarborough, Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees, so they have plenty of experience.
Below the present Steward's Allan Storey and his wife Shirley. Photo courtesy The Heritage Group.
|An article in the Evening Chronicle dated 12th December, 1964, recorded that the Club had 270 Members and new ones were chosen each year when vacancies became available. However, today new Members are most welcome, and interested gentlemen are encouraged to visit the club.
Below Allan Storey & Ray Colley enjoy a quiet game of snooker. Photo courtesy The Heritage Group.
|Should any Gentleman be interested in joining the Cestrian Club, arrangements can be made by contacting:
Richard Hogg (Club Secretary).
The Cestrian Club.
58, Front Street,
Below an old photograph of previous Steward's and Member's posing on the Fire Escape. Photo courtesy The Heritage Group.
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