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Social club in need of urgent repairs

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The building that is home to Stansted Social Club is shrouded in scaffolding because part of the structure is in danger of falling down.

The tower and top section of the property in Lower Street, which is not listed, has been shored up until the costly urgent repairs can be carried out.

Club chairman Alan Snook said they now needed to fund the £100,000 project - of which they have already paid £11,000 for the scaffolding.

Stansted Mountfitchet Social Club, Stansted Mountfitchet. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (16058846)
Stansted Mountfitchet Social Club, Stansted Mountfitchet. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (16058846)

The club has been at the heart of village life since the late 1880s and is a vibrant and popular centre with almost 500 members from within the community.

But as a non-profit making organisation it is seeking the support of villagers to restore the prominent building.

Mr Snook said he hoped that villagers would be willing to help. “The tower is in desperate need of repair and we need to urgently raise funds to start the work,” he said.

“We have paid to have the scaffolding erected and make the building safe, but please donate anything that you can and keep the club standing for future generations to enjoy as much as we do!”

He described the social club as a “friendly” meeting place where both newcomers to the area or those who have lived in Stansted for years would receive a warm welcome.

Run by a committee of members, it has darts and pool teams in the local leagues, holds bingo nights on Tuesdays and regular live music events on Saturday evenings.

“We are also proud of the quality and selection of our beers. We have a Cask Marque certification for our ales,” he added.

The building itself was erected in 1888, funded by Henry Parry Gilbey, eldest brother of Sir Walter Gilbey, on land leased by William Fuller Maitland. It was originally home to the Stansted Liberal Club, later becoming the Working Men's Club, and was officially opened on 25th July 1888 by the Rt Hon Lord Rosebery, who had been Foreign Secretary and was to become Prime Minister for a short year in office from 1894-5.

But according to Stansted Mountfitchet Local History Society, the building was a source of annoyance to Conservatives at the time, who described it as “huge and hideous excrescence’ and suggested that the promoters hoped by a generous supply of beer at or below cost price to win over the Conservatives in the place.”

Society chairman Peter Brown said its opening would have been a grand event. "It was a very spectacular building at the time and still is a very imposing building. The upstairs where the snooker room now is was once used as a parish room so saw lots of functions there."

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