A Short History of the Club
The buildings which house the club were used as a workhouse from 1737. Prior to that it was a private house. We know the front bar by the front door dates from the late 17th Century (maybe older!) The room to the right is late 20th Century as is much of the room to the back of the club. However, the back bar and much of the hall are 18th century additions. They were a series of five cottages which for much of their existence were recorded as Workhouse yard Cottages. During the 1881 census it is recorded that 16 people lived in these cottages and eight in the pub.
A parliamentary report of 1777 recorded the parish workhouses in operation at Witham. Kelvedon’s parish workhouse was housed at the north side of the High Street. It had a potential of housing 30 inmates.
New laws were passed in 1834 which saw a new workhouse built at Witham. You can still see the old and new workhouses in Witham.
In 1837 The master of the workhouse Thomas Arnold then turned it in to The Victorian Inn. 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.
Kelvedon Labour Club was established in 1927.
Miss Helen Corke gathered together a few Kelvedon residents and, with the help of a local businessman 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 structure 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 timeline of occupants from the 1800s:
1870/William Cranmer-1881/William Cranmer/Innkeeper/36/Kelvedon, Essex/Census
1881/Mary Ann Finch and family
1894/5William Edward Bucke