Miranda Jessop gets her foot in the door of a private members' club in Church Street which describes itself as 'Twickenham's best kept secret’.
A simple wooden plaque on the wall outside no 7, Church Street reads 'The Twickenham Club' but, like me, you may have walked past countless times without really noticing it. Behind the unassuming front door, however, is a longstanding private members' club where, in years gone by, it wouldn't have been possible to buy an alcoholic drink and where, up until twenty years ago, a woman would not have been allowed to become a member. Although you may not even be aware of its existence, The Twickenham Club has recently celebrated its 150th anniversary.
Founded in 1865 by the Reverend David Anderson, it is thought that The Twickenham Club was originally situated under the railway arches near Twickenham Green before moving to its current location in Church Street in 1897 and later becoming a Working Men's Club. "It started out as a Temperance club," explains Martin Wright who has been managing the club for over thirty years. "There was no alcohol available. We read in some of the old documents that, on one occasion, the people from Bovril came to hold a tasting, bringing their own kettles and mugs," laughs Martin as he pulls another pint for one of the regular members who is enjoying a quiet lunchtime drink.
Fortunately, The Twickenham Club has moved with the times. Women members have been allowed to join since the mid 1990s and there are now two licensed bars as well as five snooker tables. The function room, with a capacity of 100 people, is also available for members and non-members to hire.
So, if you feel like something a little stronger than a mug of Bovril, The Twickenham Club may be just your sort of place.
The Twickenham Club, 7 Church Street
For membership enquiries and function bookings, call 0208 892 2193