The Nottingham Bridge Club
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Club history was documented in 1987 by Dr Les Euinton for an article featured in the International Popular Bridge Monthly , written to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Nottinghamshire Contract Bridge Association. Extracts of the article appear here by his kind permission.
Nottingham Contract Bridge Association has a long history -perhaps the oldest in the country? (we await your observations!) It has its origins in 2 clubs. The Crantock Bridge Club and The Nottingham Bridge Club which was in full swing by 1929. In the early 1930s it was located on the Lower Derby Road, but then it moved to Pelham Road then to 401 Mansfield Road - its current home - under the proprietorship of Jack Hammond. The Crantock Bridge Club at 480 Mansfield Road was founded in the early 30s by Mr and Mrs Guy Hemsley. Check the Competitions page - see how we have remembered our founders.
While Reese, Harrison-Gray and many household names were developing Acol in Hampstead, Nottingham players were concentrating on their own 'Nottingham Club' system. Notable amongst the early advocates were Daphne Kieuser and Harold Denman and over the years many more features and variations were introduced. Margery Burns' original book The Nottingham System of Contract Bridge was eventually published in 1954 and rumour has it that a copy of this text eventually found its way into C. C. Wei's possession and helped to spark off the Precision Club boom.
With the EBU's (founded in 1938) historical Acol bias, it is not surprising that there has long been a certain protectiveness of club systems in Nottingham. In the late 60s Jim Thompson led a concerted effort to persuade the EBU to allow us to play the Neapolitan Club in major events such as the Gold Cup. At interview with the Rules and Ethics Committee we made the point that in principle it compared with the Nottingham Club, but the response was 'if we had our way we would ban that too!' More recently, the Club systems have become less popular locally, and most members now play Acol.
The Club and the Notts County Association have always worked closely together, with the County holding most of its meetings at our Club. The County Association formally suspended its activities on the llth September 1939 and it successfully anticipated the cessation of hostilities by resuming in January 1945 - when treasurer Denman was pleased to report that the pre-war funds had been invested in War Savings and now amounted to £13-16s-10d!
The Nottinghamshire Contract Bridge Association reached its 50th birthday on March 24th, 1987. Celebrations were delayed until the enlargement and refurbishment of its present home with at the Nottingham Bridge Club were completed,. by the Annual General Meeting in May an attractive bronze plaque was prominently mounted, accompanied by a formal scroll which read:
Nottinghamshire Contract Bridge Association
March 24th 1937 - March 24th 1987
On 24th March 1937 the Association
was founded and the inaugural
meeting was held in the presence of
Mr D. S. Robinson (chair),
Mrs King, Mrs Broadhead, Mrs Bell,
Mrs Briers, Mr Haddon,
Mr Chapman, Mr Bearn, Mr Bland,
Mrs Bull, Mrs Ford, Mrs Holland,
Mrs Hemsley, Mr Godfrey,
Mr N Hemsley, Mr G. Hemsley,
Mrs Hopewell and Mr Frith.
The Club’s premises have recently (2004) been further enlarged and improved, and it looks forward to more developments in the years to come.
Last updated : 27th Sep 2017 19:59 BST
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