Sunday 30 May 2010

London Clarion Club House - Nazeing - Essex

London Clarion Club House
Nazeing, Essex
By Michael Walker

The Clarion Cycling Club was established in 1895 by readers of the socialist weekly newspaper the Clarion.
Romford Clarion's were obviously very well organised and used the opportunity of the 1911 coronation to organise a Clarion Cycling Camp (June 22, 1911).
So successful was the Camp that in order to "escape the renewed searching for sites, the Sabbatarian rules and regulations of the English Sunday, and the smoke and turmoil of the Metropolis", the London Clarion Cycling section decided at a meeting on September 15th, 1912, to secure a Clarion
Club House of their own.
The London Clarion Cycling Club entered into possession of the London Clarion Club House at Broadley Common, near Nazeing, Essexat Whitsun, 1913, and very soon established itself as the rallying point for the cyclists and the London Clarion Fellowship.
The London Clarion
Club House is in the hamlet of Broadley Common, near Nazeing, Essex (opposite the Black Horse, with the Sun a few yards away). It was about 17 miles from the G.P.O. and was said to be situated amongst picturesque rural surroundings, (close to mushroom fields) and near to the famous Epping Forest, the open moorland of Nazeing Common, and the historical neighbourhood of Rye House, Waltham Abbey, Waltham Cross, Ware and Hertford.
The club house advantages is being miles from anywhere or anywhere else, having an orchard, a kitchin garden a triangular field - the apex given over in WW1 to growing war potato - a barn converted to dancing and seeping. a lean to shed contacting a baby billiard table and several billiard sharps, a dinning room, a reading room, a kitchen and two stewardesses (Clarion 24th August 1917)
In 1914 the Clarion hadbook stated "Extensive developments on the estate are contemplated, and all interested Clarionettes and Socialist can assist by taking up 2s. 6d. shares in the Society. General
Clarion Romford Secretary : Jack Hinton, 5 Vine Street, Romford 

Romford Clarion Camp 1912

One reaches the Clarion Club House- or at least this one did – in a side car that started life as a cradle, but, developing ambitions, was tacked alongside a B.S.A. three and half horse power motor cycle as a reward for its enterprise. It is a good side car, but cramped. George said – George was my chauffer – George said that if I tucked the cushion well on the small of my back and kept a watchful eye on the nut that was responsible for the perfect companionship of the side car and the cycle, we might probably arrive at the club house together.
In appearance George looks the very perfect model of a prize Sunday school scholar. Instead of which he blinds along the something over the legal, and yet possesses an air of guileless innocence that would deceive a special. In extenuation, I am bound to admit that he disappointed many would be suicides, and that in thickest traffic and along the wood paved tramway track I never felt a qualm, But when we bumped over a nasty stretch at at Hoddeson and swung around into by lanes were the surface showed signs of war weariness, and that cushion had slipped its position, I began to pray that there engine would “knock” or that I was seated in the well sprung side car of my own “King Dick” But we arrived.
When one arrives at the Nazeing Clarion club house one is greeted by a man who is known as “Rick”, “Rich” or “Old man” as the mood dictates. He takes one round the demense and utters little essays on club house management, art, motor cycles, finance or any other subject that comes into his head. He is apparently responsible for seeing that seeing that the stranger shall cease to be a stranger. He also plays the piano when the others want to sing or to dance. his full name is,I believe is Richardson.
Another chap there- worthy son of a worthy sire – is Cyril Hinton – he wanders around as though the whole show was a fearful bore; but is the secretary, chief gardener, finance department and general organiser. You may call him what you will so long as you pay your dues and do not ask for Ritz accommodation at club house prices.
Then there are the stewardesses. I fancy I have mentioned them before. You do not call them at all. They call you. They call you after they have cooked a dinner for twenty five people – with vegetarians thrown in – on a stove and within the kitchen accommodation that was originally intended for a family of five. How they do it I don’t known but you get a second helping if the first is not enough.
They don’t say grace at the Clarion Club house There is no need. The stewardesses would grace any function; and then have enough spare to keep a house cheerful.
For the rest; the members and visitors are Clarionettes with the usual amount of Clarion cheerfulness and sense of responsibility and a determination to get as much out of life as is possible. For London Clarion Club House is in the making, and everyone knows that a club house in the making is the happiest, jolliest cheeriest kind of place that one can go to.
The house at Broadley Common stands in a good position for scenery and there are plenty of interesting beauty spots within easy ride. When theses, are the cyclist are exhausted he can return to the beauties of the Club house and be sure of a good fare and entertainment at their hands
Tom Groom Clarion 24th August 1917

It is claimed this is a photo of Romford Clarion boating party Essex (Nazing ?) 1914 ?

The Romford Clarion Club House closed at the end of 1920. The building still exists, although much altered, as a private residence.

Surely, the house at Nazeing should have some mark of it's previous role - a Clarion sign or Clarion C would suffice and be greatly appreciated.

The Romford Clarion Cycling club re emerged in the 1930's
Dagenham & Romford Clarion Cycling Club 1937
Chairman: Alfred S Haddock
Secretary: C. Ayrton 13 Treswell Road, Dagenham
Asst Secretary: L. Lovelock 126 Flamstead Road, Dagenham
Racing Secretary: E. Penegelley 34 Woodstock Avenue Harold Park, Romford

Details of the Club House are to be found in the National Clarion Club Year Book for 1914 and 1937 Clarion Handbook
Denis Pye book on the Clarion Cycling Club, Fellowship is Life


The Clarion Socialist Youth Hostel was established in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire from the early 1933 by the London Labour League of Youth and was used by the Labour Party until at least the 1950's.
The hostel was set in ten acres of grounds, with two pavilions, tennis courts, sports facilities for lecturers, classes and even a library,
In 1934 over thirteen thousand Labour League of Youth members (The League had over five hundred branches) camped at Hoddesdon.
Grace Oakden states

"We had a great deal of fun in those days as as serious politicking"

"Labour of Youth branches from all over London used to go there at weekends, camping.

There was a big house there we used to have a wonderful times at weekends there. discussions at night, quite a big social programme, dances, a wonderful way of meeting people from London" A picture is available ( of the Clarion Youth Hostel van starts for Hoddesdon (Herbert Morrison on right), 1934.

Herbert Morrison, (1888–1965) was a British Labour Party politician and Cabinet minister. Morrison held various cabinet posts, including Foreign Secretary, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Secretary.