Home   News   Article

Bishop's Stortford's Royal British Legion branch marks its centenary



More news, no ads

LEARN MORE


The Bishop's Stortford branch of the Royal British Legion is celebrating its centenary this week.

On Sunday (April 3), members marked the 100th anniversary with a special service at St Michael's Church in Windhill.

This Saturday (April 9) there will be a stall in Jackson Square shopping centre to promote membership of the legion and to raise money for the annual Remembrance Day Poppy Appeal.

Peter Cullen and wife Jean (55836992)
Peter Cullen and wife Jean (55836992)

Veteran Peter Cullen will be selling copies of his short memoir, centred on the Second World War, titled A Flight of Youthful Fancy. The former landlord of the Hop Poles at Bedlars Green, Great Hallingbury, has also recorded songs on a CD. Together they cost £5.

Peter will be at the stall from 11am to 1pm and will be giving a donation to the Poppy Appeal from any proceeds.

The Stortford branch was formed in 1921. Its first home was a small air raid precaution (ARP) hut behind Bishop's Stortford FC's original ground at Rhodes Avenue.

The Royal British Legion in Bishop's Stortford is synonymous with the annual parade and service of remembrance in Castle Gardens
The Royal British Legion in Bishop's Stortford is synonymous with the annual parade and service of remembrance in Castle Gardens

It was officially recognised on April 6, 1922, when it received its certificate of branch registration from central office.

At the end of the Second World War, several members, including Boyd Gibbins and Jim Fuller, proposed that more fitting premises be found to welcome servicemen home.

Their friend Phillip Rust, who lost three sons in the war, offered them No 28 Windhill, a residential property that would be a nice place to meet, for a nominal sum.

Secretary Jack Gallimore wasted no time in contacting Jack Tissiman, former owner of Tissimans in High Street, Bernard Sparrow, owner of a hardware shop in North Street, and Colonel Grant, manager of the match factory at Hockerill.

The Royal British Legion's former base in Windhill, Bishop's Stortford
The Royal British Legion's former base in Windhill, Bishop's Stortford

Together they found the £3,000 purchase price and the sale was completed on October 11, 1948. The opening ceremony was attended by three film stars of the day: Derrick de Marney, Rosalind Johns and Meg Jenkins.

Now a listed building, the early 18th-century property once occupied a substantial plot of land that stretched northwards as far as Hadham Road. In 1957 the legion sold the land to property developers for £2,000. Now, where there was once a rose garden and two bowling greens, is a housing development named Regency Close.

The club had a branch membership of 950 at its peak in 1958 and the Windhill base was used for meetings and social events until August 2017, when the club closed and the property was sold. It is currently being converted back into a private family home.

The branch now operates from an office at the New Apton Centre in Apton Road.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More