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Chapter 13: The Club Centre

The establishment of the Club Centre at 86 Queen’s Road in 1969 came about after a number of other possible schemes to provide club-rooms had been considered. Probably the most keenly interested in such a venture were the members of the Rugby Section who had, over a period of years, explored several solutions to what they perceived as a real need. In the mid-60s consideration had been given to a scheme which would have provided club¬rooms within the Rubislaw Field site, but the idea was beset with difficulties. The then Chairman of the Executive, Gordon Henderson (1921-34) had given much thought to the possibilities of a permanent home for the Club and its Sections and, having heard in detail about the Heriot Club facilities at Goldenacre in Edinburgh, brought a proposal before the Executive in June 1968 that the FP Club should try to achieve something on similar lines, preferably within easy reach of Rubislaw. The Minute of that meeting records:

“It was clear that the meeting wholeheartedly supported the proposal, and it was agreed to remit the matter in the first instance to the Finance Committee for general consideration. It was suggested that the matter should thereafter be referred to a special Sub-Committee which would go into the details of putting such a scheme into operation and that the various Sports Sections would require to be represented on that Sub-Committee.”

As had happened thirteen years before over the proposed Amenities Fund, these Committees did not waste any time. By the time the Executive met again in September not only had a property in the desired area been identified as suitable and available, but loans had been examined and running costs were being assessed. The Chairman and Secretary were authorised to enter into discussions with the owner of the property, himself an FP. By December, deliberations were far enough advanced for the Executive to decide to call a Special General Meeting of the Club to consider two resolutions, (1) that a Club Centre be formed in Aberdeen and (2) that consideration be given to the purchase of the particular premises which the Executive had in contemplation.

On 29th January 1969 the Special Meeting was held, attended by 150 members. The minute of the meeting records: “The Chairman outlined the background to the proposal to establish a Club Centre in Aberdeen, stressing the advantages which, in the view of the Executive, such a Centre would give to the Club. It was believed that such a Centre could immensely strengthen the Club in general, providing a rallying point for members in the area and a point of contact for members from outside visiting Aberdeen.” The Chairman having formally moved that a Club Centre be established in Aberdeen, the motion was carried unanimously. The property in question was identified as 86 Queen’s Road, then owned by William Wisely (1918-25), details of the premises were reported, projections were given on working costs and income, and the meeting went on to agree in principle, by a substantial majority (twelve members being against and three abstaining) that the premises should be acquired. The matter was then adjourned to be finally decided at the Annual General Meeting when necessary amendments to the Club Constitution could be made.

That meeting took place on 10th March 1969 and was attended by 93 members. After agreeing constitutional changes, the meeting went on to discuss a motion by the Executive “that the Executive be authorised and empowered to negotiate for the purchase of the subjects 86 Queen's Road, Aberdeen, and to proceed thereafter with the establishment of a Club Centre there”. Eighty-two members voted in favour, six against, and four declared themselves as abstaining. The motion was thus declared to have been approved.

The rest is history, and was the subject of an article in the 1985 100th Anniversary issue of the Magazine. “The Club’s Club” was a project far greater than anything which the Club had previously attempted. Let us remind ourselves of the closing paragraph of the 1969 Appeal Brochure: “The FP Club is strong in heart and numbers and the Executive considers that great benefit from the new venture can be derived for the Club’s members individually and for the Club as a whole. The premises, as envisaged, will provide a long-needed permanent social base for the Club and a focal point for its members. Over the years the usage of the Club Centre by FPs has diminished and, at the time of writing, is available for sale.

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