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History of The Bathurst Club
Fajara Club     History    Page 2
In 1948 the Bathurst Club was then in the premises which later became the British Council Institute and is now the museum at Banjul.

The club had been on this location before 1937, and a squash court had been erected there for the club which was paid for by the colonial government.

The rules of the club specified that the Governor was to be the President with authority to appoint the Chairman. The day-to-day running of the club was given over to the Committee which had the authority to accept or reject requests for membership.

On the 12th of March 1948 the C.L. Page the then acting chairman spoke at the general meeting where he said:

"The Bathurst Club has for many years been allowed the use of the premises it occupies in Gloucester Street, Bathurst. No lease has been entered into, nor has any rent been paid to the government. Most members will, I think , share the view held by Government that in recent years these premises have proved less and less well suited to the purposes of the club"

The Government's proposal went on to state that Government wished to take back the club premises so as to offer them to the British Council for use as an Institute and to make the two tennis courts available to a new joint tennis club to be organised by Messrs. Barnhill and B.O. Semega-Janneh.

The club's use of the premises was terminated with effect from 30th. April 1948. The club was credited with an ex gratia payment of 850 for the two tennis courts and such additions as the club had made to the premises.

May 1948. Bathurst Club was allocated premises known as " Mr. Blake's quarters " on Marina parade with effect from 1st. June on the basis of a monthly tenancy at 2 per month. Government agreed to repair the roof and to give the club time to find alternative quarters.

June 1948. Mr. J Pelly Murphy (Attorney General) appears to have become chairman with a Mr. R.Flight as Hon. Secy. They negotiated with Government and were granted an interest free loan of 1,500, repayable over 15 years, commencing 5 years from the date of the loan. This loan to be used for the building of anew club to be mortgaged against the loan.

The new premises were built in Clifton Street on the site later occupied by the house of Representatives.

The Hon. H. Madi was chairman.

January 1955. Mr. E.C. Buttery (Hon. Secretary) Bathurst Club invited Government to make an offer for the premises of the club, noting that an offer had already been received from the French Consulate. After negotiations it was agreed :-

1)The price to be 6,000 excluding the tennis courts and bar fittings.

2)The club to fence off the tennis courts.

3)The club to cede possession on 30th June 1955.

4)Government to deduct the previously loaned 1,500 from the payment and agree to make a similar provision on mortgage of the new premises.

5)Government agreed to lease land at either Cape St. Marie or Fajara for 50 years at a nominal rent as at present paid.

On 6th April 1955 Mr. H. Madi (Trustee) confirmed the club's agreement and on 1st. July 1955 the club occupied premises at Fajara known as the Old B.O.A.C. Hall while looking for other sites.

Major A. N. Robinson (C.O. The Gambian Regiment R. W.A.F.F) was elected to the chair. The Trustees were C. L. Page O. B. E. (U.A.C.); Hon. H. Madi and R. Jensen (V.Q. Peterson Ltd.)

Dr. S. H. Jones (D.M.H.) was elected to the chair.

Mr. J. D. Barry ( Auditor S. Madi Ltd. ) was elected to the chair by 13 votes to 9. There were 184 members. The club opted to stay in the B.O.A.C. Hall and asked for a 21 year lease. Government agreed to a 21 year lease at an annual rent of 50. This lease appears to have finally been signed on 27th. March 1958.

Mr. D. Niven (U.A.C.) was elected to the chair in his absence but when he did not return to The Gambia Dr. R. D. Ford (M.R.C.) replace him. There were 187 members. A new bar was built in the hall and an ad hoc committee set up to explore the possibilities of creating a golf course in Fajara to replace the existing course at Denton Bridge.

Miss M. M. Cooke (Confidential Secretary to H. E. The Governor) was elected unanimously to the chair. Mr. J. P. Bray (Commissioner of Police) became the first Golf Captain. There were 171 members. The committee allocated 300.00 to the golf course. Cable and Wireless promised a donation and 4 members Messrs. A Draper (G.O.M.B.) , V. Brennan (G.O.M.B.), J. S. Clews (G.F.F.) and J. McPherson (P. W. D.) donated their time. Miss M. M. Cooke, Mr. R. Gourdain (CFAO) and Mr. G. Schultz were made life members.

Dr. J. Bringan (MOH) was elected to the chair. Miss M. M. Cooke left The Gambia on retirement. Two snooker tables were purchased from Gambia Minerals Ltd. Who were leaving the country.

Mr. P. R. Bridges (Lands Officer), later Sir Philip, Chief Justice was elected to the chair.

Mr. E. C. Blake (GOMB) was elected to the chair. Mr. John Clews was Social Secretary. Her Majesty The Queen visited The Gambia and the club during the year.

Mr. J. Austin OBE (Director of Agriculture) was elected to the chair.

Mr. S. G. Trees MVO (Admin. Officer) was elected to the chair. Mr. R. Jensen left on retirement and was replaced as Trustee by Dr. I. A. McGregor ( MRC ). Honorary membership was extended to the Prime Minister , The Hon. D. K. Jawara. The club's tennis courts by the old club in Clifton Rd. were offered to Government in exchange for 2 courts plus a changing room elsewhere. (Clifton Road became Independence Drive, later liberation Avenue ) Mr. S. H. George (Solicitor General) became Cricket member of the committee.

Mr. H. L. Williams (UAC) was elected to the chair. Trustee H. Madi died and was replace by Mr. J. Madi. The cost of moving the tennis courts was estimated to be 2,500 and was still under discussion.

Mr. Keith Williams (MRC) was elected to the chair. The new golf course lease was said to be in the course of preparation, with security of tenure guaranteed apart from tee number 1. This tee was situated in what is now Fajara Hotel and which was then in the garden of the Chief Secretary.

Mrs. M. M. Whalley was elected to the chair. 2,334 was spent on improvements and maintenance. Dr. S. H. Jones resigned as trustee.

Mr. Keith Williams was again elected to the chair. The Clifton Rd. tennis courts were sold to Government for 1,250 and work commenced on a new court at Fajara.
Mr. J. Warren was elected to the chair being later replaced by Mr. S. H. A. George. Stage constructions and the provision of curtains improved the main hall and the tennis court was completed.

The second court could not be built as the site chosen did not belong to the club. A proposal to build a swimming pool was dropped for the time being as it was considered too ambitious.

Mr. R. Madi was elected to the chair. There were 159 members. Mr R. O. W. Carrol (Govt. Dentist) entered the committee as Member without Portfolio.

The second tennis court was under construction on a new site and was scheduled for completion in June at a cost of 1,000. Government donated 3,400 towards golf course improvement, 3 extra holes were constructed and Mr. And Mrs. A. Draper planted 700 casuarina trees. In 1971 the Gambian was replaced by the Dalasi at 1.0  = D5.00.

Keith Williams again took the chair. There were 150 members. Golf course improvements went on apace and the 18 holes were ready by June 1972.

At 31st. March there were 11 life members:- Messrs. Blake E. C., Bray D. M. , Gourdain R., Jensen R., Jones Dr. S. H. O. (72 Gloucester St. Banjul) Madi. J. , Madi R., Rey L., Schultz C., Tenazzi J. and Whalley E. G.

A Mr. D. Dobson was elected to the chair. There were 310 members. The golf course was fully operational. A dining area was constructed outside the bar and the children's playground was improved. Life membership was offered to Dr. I. A. McGregor and Mr. Hubert Berge (CFAO M. D.)

Mr. Arthur Pugh ( PWD Stores ) was elected to the chair. At some point between 1974 and 1977 Bathurst Club became Fajara Club, when Bathurst became Banjul.

Mr. A. E. Rumgay was elected to the chair. The Gambian Golf Federation was formed with the Minister of external Affairs (The Hon. A. B. Njie later to be Vice President ) as chairman, Mr. D. Pillage (British Caledonian Airways) and several other club members as committee members. The principal object of The Federation was stated to be to help improve the golf course so as to bring it up to international standard (at no extra cost to the club) and to arrange the GGF Pro/Am of 36 holes (1st. day ) and 18 holes (2nd. day) . Mr. J. Madi one of the organisers stated that in future improvements to the course would be funded by the Ministry of Tourism and that government had no intention of interfering with the running of the course. The first Pro/ Am took place in March 1977. During 1977 the squash court floor was tiled.

Mr. M. Elliot (Pannel Fitzpatrick) was elected to the chair. The squash court was renovated but the proposal to renovate the back bar could not be implemented due to lack of funds. Mr. Keith Williams became a life member.

Mr. R. K. Hobbs (Central Bank) was elected to the chair. The club land was re-surveyed and a 21 year lease is to be issued for the club premises and car park with a separate annual lease over the golf course.

Mr. J. Rooke (Co-operative Dept.) was elected to the chair. Draught beer and bar tickets were introduced. The main hall was tiled. The perimeter wall, dubbed 'The Great Wall of China', was erected at a cost of D25,560.00. Mr. John Clews became a life member.

Mr. K. Bone (MRC) was elected to the chair but resigned in January 1981 to return to UK. Mr. S.H.A. George (Trustee) was elected to replace him. The cost of the 'Great Wall' left little money to spend but the financial position improved as a result of a drive to collect fees from tourists using the club.

Mr. W. Malia (GUC Engineer) was elected to the chair. The attempted coup of 1981 cost the club in stock looted; most of the silver and pewter mugs in the bar and an unknown number of bar tickets. Messrs. Rey Carrol and Ali Jacobs, club members living next to the club were able to secure the keys and prevent further looting. The aftermath of the coup brought curfews restricting social life. However, by 1983 productions of The Merry Widow and a Nativity play were performed.

Mr. M. J. A. Knight (Standard Bank) was elected to the chair. Once again the club plot was surveyed, all related fees paid and it was hoped the lease would soon be issued. Limited funds restricted the amount of work done. Mr. S.H.A. George and Miss Julia S. T. Williams became life members.

Mr. R. D. Parkin (Marine Officer) was elected to the chair. Competition from tourist attractions in the Kairaba Avenue area affected the finances of the club and the only work possible was the construction of a room for stage clothes off the badminton court. A feasibility study on the construction of a swimming pool was prepared and approved at an Extraordinary General Meeting when a target date was set for 1st January, 1987.

Mr. R. Crowther-Alwyn (Pannels) was elected to the chair. The target date for the pool was not met.

Mr. P. A. Langfield (MRC Transport Director) was elected to the chair. The tender for the swimming pool construction was awarded to S. S. Ceesay Construction Ltd. At a price of D 600,000. Mr. Richard Wright supervised the work for the company, Mr. Bill Mason of Wilber Smith Ltd. Supervised on behalf of the club. Work was completed in March 1988, the landscaping during April. Banjul Breweries contributed D12,500 towards construction of a pool bar. Membership rose to 251. A generator was purchased and installed. Mr. R. J. McEwan (Dir. Forestry - Retired) became a trustee.

Mrs. N. Stone was elected to the chair by 66 votes to 37.By May 1990 the overdraft incurred to pay for the pool had been reduced to nil and the club was D 40,000 in credit. Later that year a gang-mower was bought for the golf course at a cost of 3,555.58 and a second-hand tractor bought from the Gambian Society for the Blind (D6,000). The 2 snooker tables were re-covered and cues, balls purchased. Mr. Mahesh Gopalaney of Chellarams contributed 500.00 towards the cost. Mr. Rey Carrol became a life member.

Mrs. E. Marr Smith was elected to the chair. Membership continued to increase and the number of golf players doubled. Lights were installed for No. tennis court and a new net was supplied to court No. 2. Mr. Harry Lloyd-Evens retired after 14 years as trustee. Mr. John Clews was appointed in his place.

Mr. R. Wright (Wright Construction) who had built the pool was elected to the chair. The so-called "back room " was converted into a new bar, lounge and dining room opening on to a patio near the tennis courts and pool.

Mr. J. Carlin (Atlantic Hotel) was elected to the chair.

Ms. P. Yip was elected to the chair. During her tenure the premises were repainted inside and out at a cost of D47,000. The tractor was overhauled and 2 new tyres fitted. The swimming pool pump was replaced and an additional pump installed.

Mr. R. Hawes was elected to the chair. The number of members fell. Golf course improvements were carried out.

Mr. P. Sarr was elected as chairman of the Bathurst Club.


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