A Short History of the Club

During the medieval period, the care of the poor was a matter for the church, but by the early 17th century, the poor had become the responsibility of the parish where they lived or originated from. The Parish Vestry was responsible for deciding how to deal with the poor in its parish. The Parish Vestry consisted of the principal and prominent members of a parish: normally the Lord of the Manor, the Rector or Vicar, landowners and farmers. It met in the church vestry which gave it its name. They would appoint overseer(s) to administer payments to the parish poor or run a parish workhouse. This system of poor relief was paid for by wealthier residents of the parish by payment of a local tax known as a 'Poor Rate'.


Money could be given to the poor who remained in their own homes, this was called out-door relief. At varying times most parishes had a workhouse to which, increasingly, paupers were sent to be clothed and fed, and also to work. It made better financial sense for the parish, and it was thought, stopped abuses of the system.

The buildings which house the club were used as a workhouse in the late 1700s/early 1800s housing the poor. 

A parliamentary report of 1777 recorded parish workhouses in operation at Witham (with accommodation for up to 60 inmates), Great Coggeshall (50), Faulkbourn (25), Great Baxted (16), Hatfield Peverel (30), Kelvedon (30), Little Coggeshall (15), Messing (100), Rivenhall (25), Terling (20),Kelvedon's parish workhouse was housed at the north side of the High Street in a building which dated back to the sixteenth century. The building is now home to the Kelvedon Labour Club.

New laws were passed in 1834 which saw the poor moved to Witham.


The master of the workhouse Thomas Arnold then turned it in to Ye Olde Victorian Inn in the same year. The Cranmer family then took over the occupancy of the building in 1870 and it remained in the same family until Walter Eary took over in 1898 and ran the pub until 1925. There is further information at the bottom of the page on all the occupants from 1834 - 1925. Nothing is really known about who ran the pub or if it stayed as a pub between 1925 and 1927. 


We are always interested to hear from anyone with any information or pictures that may depict the building and its use through the years.  

Kelvedon Labour Club was established in 1927.


Miss Helen Corke gathered together a few Kelvedon residents and, with the help of a local business man by the name of Valentine Crittall, purchased the property for £850.



Helen Corke was a local teacher{headmistress}, poet and writer and was a friend of D.H. Lawrence. She thought it might be an opportune time to secure the pub. .


Ye olde Victorian Inn - date unknown.


(if you look close enough you may see the lamp just outside the pub entrance, this lamp now hangs in the corner of the front lounge area)


With five cottages a barn and a meadow for the Labour movement in Kelvedon, the meadow could be used as a playground for the local children.


Clubs of the day focused on libraries, reading rooms and moral improvement rather than the type of entertainment and leisure provided by the club today.


The listed building was the Parish workhouse before being turned into a pub and parts of it are 500 years old. The five cottages were converted into part of the main struture when the local council condemned them as 'not fit to live in'

The Clubhouse has been altered over the years with further extensions giving the members a facility to be proud of.

Below is the time line of occupants from the 1800's. This info was taken from census resources.

 Year/Publican or other Resident/Relationship to Head and or Occupation/Age/Where Born/Source.


Formerly the workhouse just off the High Street, ***

When Witham took over the poor after the act of 1834; the Master, Thomas Arnold set up as a publican.) ****


1870/William Cranmer/../../../Kelly's

1871/William Cranmer/../../../Post Office

1874/William Cranmer Jun./../../../Kelly's

1878/William Cranmer Jun./../../../Kelly's

1881/William Cranmer/Innkeeper/36/Kelvedon, Essex/Census

1881/Mary Ann Finch/Sister, Housekeeper/34/Kelvedon, Essex/Census

1881/William W. Finch/Brother in Law/32/Kelvedon, Essex/Census

1881/Laura E. Finch/Niece/10/Kelvedon, Essex/Census

1881/Walter C. Finch/Nephew/9/Kelvedon, Essex/Census

1881/Mary B. Finch/Niece/6/Kelvedon, Essex/Census

1881/Alice M. Finch/Niece/5/Kelvedon, Essex/Census

1881/William C. Finch/Nephew/2/Kelvedon, Essex/Census

1882/William Cranmer Jun./../../../Kelly's

1886/William Cranmer Jun./../../../Kelly's

1890/William Cranmer Jun./../../../Kelly's

1891/William Cranmer/Licensed Victualler/45/Kelvedon, Essex/Census

1891/William W. Finch/Brother in Law, Seed Grower/42/Kelvedon, Essex/Census

1891/Laura E. Finch/Niece, Housekeeper/20/Kelvedon, Essex/Census

1891/Walter C. Finch/Nephew/19/Kelvedon, Essex/Census

1891/Alice M. Finch/Niece, Barmaid/15/Kelvedon, Essex/Census

1891/William C. Finch/Nephew/12/Kelvedon, Essex/Census

1891/Edwin J. Finch/Nephew/9/Kelvedon, Essex/Census

1891/Thomas H. Finch/Nephew/7/Kelvedon, Essex/Census

1891/Harry Finch/Nephew/5/Kelvedon, Essex/Census

1894/William Edward Bucke/../../../Kelly's

1895/William Edward Bucke/../../../Kelly's

1898/Walter Eary/../../../Kelly's

1899/Walter Eary/../../../Kelly's

1902/Walter Eary/../../../Kelly's

1906/Walter Eary/../../../Kelly's

1908/Walter Eary/../../../Kelly's

1910/Walter Eary/../../../Kelly's

1912/Walter Eary/../../../Kelly's

1914/Walter Eary/../../../Kelly's

1917/Walter Eary/../../../Kelly's

1922/Walter Eary/../../../Kelly's

1925/Walter Eary/../../../Kelly's




Christmas Quiz Sunday 10 Dec



...and lot's more great entertainment

The title Kelvedon Labour Club comes from the desire of  the founders to provide a place of education and entertainment for the LABOURING people of Kelvedon. 

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