I hope you enjoyed your summer! As you know, the club closed for refurbishment at the end of May and should have re-opened at the beginning of September. But things changed and instead of just a refurb, we are actually getting a new club!
As you will see from the photos recording the ongoing work published on this web site the club has more or less been ‘gutted.’ We will have a completely new Kitchen; a new, extended Bar; a smaller Office to accommodate a wider entrance to the Bar and lift exit; a lift from the foyer to Office level and a small stair lift for the last few steps to the Bar. In the Concert Hall we shall have a new extended stage area and new Audio Visual, lighting and sound systems. Other lovely changes include new flooring and panelling. The whole club has been re-wired and other issues such as water intakes rationalised. All our supporting beams have been checked and steel supports especially designed to fit the lift into our small space. The builders have gone back to the original brickwork to ensure we will have a sturdy club that will last another 70 years.
We do have excellent builders, electricians, engineers and consultants working for us and they are paying great attention to detail. The works really are complex! The cost has escalated but, in the scheme of things and percentage wise to what the building is worth, it represents great value. We have also added considerable value to the building. All costs have been carefully monitored and we expect the final expenditure on this project to be near £670,000.
When dear Jack Warner first found our building and Rank was our guarantor for the Mortgage, our members contributed monies and eventually the mortgage was repaid, so that we now own the freehold of the building. Well, dear members, it seems history is repeating itself. As I said at the AGM last March, we need the members to contribute to replenish our reserves to take this unique Club into the future! If our 1,000 members donated £100 each… WOW! Obviously we realise and appreciate that many of our members aren’t in that financial position but ANY contribution, however small, will be gratefully received. We are thrilled that some members have already contributed and we have thanked them.
The Committee suggested that some members may wish to club together to buy individual items e.g. a Chandelier, Stage Curtains, Lighting equipment, the small chair lift, Bar Furniture. Even some wonderfully generous member – The lift! Miracles do happen!! For any more information just contact myself or Malcolm or just send your contribution to the Club.
The Lift has now been installed and is currently being fitted out and tested. It is a small platform lift which will carry one or, at most, 2 people. The maximum weight is 250 kilos (38 stone in old money.) BUT YOU MUST KEEP YOUR FINGER ON THE BUTTON to ascend and descend. It is intended mainly for members who have difficulty in climbing stairs and our more able bodied members should leave it available for them. It will take you up to the office/green room level and then there will be a small Stannah Stair Lift to take you up to the bar. It will not be used to carry barrels up to the bar area. Hooray! It’s all very exciting.
The builders have said that they should be finished by the end of October. The Bar will be the final area to be completed. Initially we will be using the old bar furniture until we have had time to see the finished area and measure up properly. When the Club is handed back we have to bring everything out of two large storage units back to the Club. Please check back to the web site to get the actual first day we re-open.
I must thank all of our regular 40/50 members who have supported the Monday night concerts at the Water Rats Pub during the closure. Great nights full of fun and laughter, giving the opportunity to keep members personally updated on the building progress. We expect our first MONDAY NIGHT at our new Club will be 11th November, then every Monday as usual. Our Grand Opening Night with Dinner, Archive DVD, Music/Cabaret, along with our Architects and Builders will be 22nd November. Should demand be such, we will add extra opening evenings.
I want to especially thanks, Ron Wallace, Chris Hare and Jonathon Brosnon who have attended as many of the regular site meetings with me as they could and Judith Quiney who sorted out the IT and phone links during the closure along with advice on the consultant’s colour schemes and fitments. Indeed, I thank ALL the Committee for their constant support and help. A vote of thanks also to Malcolm and Val, who were uprooted to the fourth floor.
The Committee and myself thank you for all your support and patience. A new era for the CAA dawns!