All Our Yesterdays – Things get stormy

Part 8 of our blog series taking a retrospective look back at the history of our community – December 1975.

Back in 2014-5, KLS Member Howard Webber wrote a series of articles for our community magazine casting a light on days gone by. He had been looking through copies of our publications from the inception of our community in 1967 and throughout the Seventies. We are now re-publishing these articles for a wider audience – we hope you will enjoy Howard’s inimitable style as he accompanies us into yesteryear…….(please note, that where individuals are no longer with us, we refer to them by their initials).

Everyone who was around then remembers the long, hot summer of 1976. But the preceding winter seems to have slipped our minds. While nothing like as wet as in recent months, it had the worst gales for many years. There were at least eighteen deaths in Britain caused by gales on 2 January alone, and an RAC spokesman described much of England as ‘a giant bowling alley with trees littered like ninepins all over the roadway’. (You don’t expect the RAC to go in for fancy metaphors.)

NOAA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

I mention this because, despite the weather, the creation of our Rushett Road communal home made good progress through this period; but at the same time, a major storm was brewing elsewhere in KLS. Not for the first time, the Young Marrieds were at its centre.

As to the building, there was an open day for members on Sunday, December 7, 1975 (‘The workers will be there to welcome you!’), while the very first KLS event at Rushett Road took place just three days later. And it was… a Women’s Society jumble and nearly new sale. Surely there should be an inscribed tablet somewhere on the premises to mark this occasion? In the January 1976 issue, FM reported that people began queuing an hour before it opened for business, and that it raised £132 (maybe £1,000 in today’s money).

A further fundraiser for the building was advertised – another in the series of Past Events in Lost Venues: after the Young Marrieds’ Ladies’ Night at the Surbiton Lagoon, a Dinner and Ball at the Esso Motor Hotel in Maidenhead. A pattern is emerging: KLS social events in doomed venues with 1930s names. As with the Lagoon, I’d welcome any information readers can provide about the fate of the Esso Motor Hotel.    

In other news, LB, Services Chairman, wrote about declining attendance at services. Experiments had been tried – ‘we have started both evening and morning services earlier’ – but had not improved matters. Nuff said. And there was an advertisement for ‘OUR VALENTINE’S NIGHT DEBATE on the most appropriate subject of WOMEN’S LIB!’, whose speakers were to be PFJ, WJ, RC and ‘A MYSTERY MAN!’. For the identity of the mystery man, tune in next month.

But I can ignore the Young Marrieds’ revolutionary moves no longer. In the January issue, Nick O announced that on the 14th they would hold an EGM, ‘to discuss whether we wish to remain a YOUNG Marrieds Group, or become a MARRIEDS’ GROUP open to all members of the congregation’. I mustn’t leave this as a cliffhanger. Nick reported the outcome in the February issue: both these options were thrown out. ‘It was reluctantly accepted that the true job of a YM group is to cater for the Young Marrieds… From the next AGM the Young Marrieds will have a maximum age of 33’.

See next month for the fallout from this shock decision.