The Club started around 1955 when new residents moved into the area, comprising such roads as Woodham Park Road, Nursery Close, Queen Mary’s Drive and Wendly Drive.
Most of the new houses in these roads were self-build and a strong Residents' Association started up. Amongst many new local groups, a small number of gardening enthusiasts decided to set up a fledgling garden supply facility, open to members on Sunday mornings. Basic items such as fertiliser, compost and canes were sold from private garages at the back of two members' gardens. A large shed was then utilised at the end of a member’s garden and this enabled the Club to increase its stock and attract large numbers of new members.
Today, we have many commercial garden centres but 60 years ago there were none and there was a real need for a gardening club which enabled residents to economically buy gardening requisites. The Club was successful for many years in providing a much needed, local supply line for many keen gardeners who appreciated the well priced goods available and the opportunity to buy quantities suitable for their needs. Many of our founding members were employed by Vickers at Brooklands and were able to turn their hand to almost anything. The Club always was a source of gardening know-how and banter and a ‘must visit’ on a Sunday morning. Yes, sometimes there was even a queue!
First Trading Activity
The 1970s was the next step forward for the Club when a lease of ground was obtained, at the west side of the site where the Community Centre is today, and the Club erected and converted a large garage for use by its members. The garage served well for several years until 1996/7, when the re-development of the Woodham & New Haw Community Centre required the demolition of the garage and the building of a new, larger purpose designed shed for the Club.
The Club continued to trade on a Sunday and sometimes on Wednesday evenings until 2005, when it became clear that garden centres were seriously impinging upon the Club’s activities. Also, the cost of goods was escalating fast and suppliers were now charging for deliveries, which made Club prices uncompetitive. Times were changing fast and the Club was required to consider its future carefully: It was with great regret that the decision to cease trading was taken and the doors closed in September 2005. What was to become of the 50 year old Club? Luckily, sufficient funds had been prudently amassed over the years and it was decided to continue and expand the Social Activities of the Club. Not only was a cash distribution made to qualifying ordinary members of the Club but there was sufficient to give a dowry to the ‘new’ social Club which has enabled the Club to continue and succeed in a manner which few could have predicted in 2005.
Current Day Operations
Thus, in 2019, the Club continues to operate and enjoys the support of many members who enjoy the Friday evening seminars and Talks, Coach Trips to interesting venues, which often include gardens, and the Annual Show in September.
We try to provide a wide variety of topics for our Friday evening Meetings and, whilst there are several horticultural based talks, we have had sessions on Indian Railways, Gibraltar, a major Seed Company, Bees and the Environment, to name a few. Annual Show is a traditional Open Flower Show which continues to attract considerable entries of flowers, vegetables, homecrafts, floral-art, domestic (such as cakes and jams) and photographs. We are one of the few clubs remaining in Surrey to hold an Annual Show and we are indebted for support from the Mayors of Runnymede, who have attended and opened our September Show. Our Show is our Flagship Event, is open to all to enter and enjoy and maintains our long standing and proud connection with the New Haw area. Today, members live in a wide area around the district and we welcome new members.
We were an associate member of the New Haw Community Centre and played a part in obtaining Millennium Funds to modernise and expand the Community Centre in 1996/1998. Seeing the Community Centre go from strength to strength is a delight for us and we have a good ‘home’ for our meetings and events.
People are vital to us and we now have a website that will enable us to project our activities and offering to a wider audience. We hope that people will use this website to comment and exchange views and information. You will also find details of the Committee Members on this website so please contact any of them if you want information, or would like to visit us to experience what we are about.