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In the 1930s, rubber bridge was played at Rowan’s in Buchanan Street. Rowan’s was a high class gents’ outfitters and the owner, Harry Rowan, was a bridge enthusiast. He invited friends to join him for coffee and bridge in his shop in Buchanan Street – hence the name of the Club, which was formed in 1932 with Harry Rowan as the first Honorary President.
In 1934, the Club leased premises in Woodside Crescent, and by 1938 it could boast 270 members. Some of today’s teams such as Morison, Buchanan and Ramblers existed in those early times. Many people worked very hard to establish the Club as the premier bridge club in the west of Scotland. By the 1950s, rubber bridge was less popular and Club competitions such as the Winter Pairs and the Manning Foster flourished. At this time, the stand-by system came into being – and everyone took their turn of being stand-by!
Number 4 Clairmont Gardens was bought in 1960 in response to the need for larger premises. At first, the basement was a flat for the Club Steward, but in 1991 it became a children’s nursery, thereby easing the financial situation of the Club. As a Grade A listed building, great care has to be taken with decoration and improvements to the premises. The original features of interior design have been well preserved, and create a grand and unique setting for card play. The property was first owned by David Hutcheson (1799-1880).
In the early years of the Club, there was a very strict dress code. Ties were kept behind the bar for any gentleman visitor who came without one. It was only after one very hot summer that gentlemen were permitted to remove their jackets! Saturday evenings were ‘black tie’ affairs. Friday evenings were informal – only lounge suits were required. Some lady members wore hats at the table. How times have changed!
At the present time, there are around 300 members. There are nine teams from the Club in the West District League, and classes are held for beginners, intermediate and advanced players. In addition to the many Club competitions, members have the opportunity to play in District and SBU events as well as the Club’s own annual congress which is held in May.