A formal application for permission to construct a club-house, made from ex-army huts, measuring 60ft by 35ft, on piles which still exist alongside the present compound, proved successful. Winchester College (the landlord at the time) and the Secretary of the War Department, both gave permission for the project. Unfortunately records fail to indicate why the club-house project was never taken up and the scheme was abandoned.
On January 22nd 1945 the membership of the club opened negotiations with the tenant and Winchester College to acquire the old, and almost derelict, granary store attached to the Tide Mill (Visit Tide Mill Site). The present club house building was acquired at an annual rental agreement of £13.0s.0d, a deal which also included the foreshore.
Committee meetings were still being held in a back room at The Anchor Inn whilst a major programme of improvements and refurbishment took place to the recently acquired premises at the Tide Mill. Without even a roof, the building was in desperate need of restoration, most of which was carried out by club volunteers. Finally, and with great satisfaction, club members were able to take possession of their own club house, complete with modern electricity on 1st June 1945, a year in which Eling Sailing Club really moved forward, setting the foundations for the following years of continuous development.
It was also around this time in 1945 that the club decided to make major changes in policy, first the name of the club was considered, resulting in a decision to drop the name ‘boating’ and re-name the club ‘Eling Sailing Club’. Also in this year the club adopted the design of the Burgee, selected from several submitted during a member competition.
Club minutes dated 12th February 1945 record another major step forward, when the committee voted in favour of ladies being accepted as members, but for ‘sailing and water events only’. In 1945 membership charges are recorded at five shillings (25p) entrance fee and five shillings (25p) annual subscription.
Eling Sailing Club has long enjoyed a healthy element of water borne competition, also introduced during 1945. The first events taking place on March 19th when the club was able to boast a strong dinghy fleet manned by an enthusiastic group of male and female members. Also in the same year the club introduced the first official rule book, details thrashed out during a committee meeting on 9th April.
Although the prime interest of club members has always been a mutual love of water based activity, a strong social link has also become a major element of developing good relationships between members. Records show that during the year of 1976 a permanent bar was installed and that the committee of that year decided that a notice should be displayed advising the ‘the piano must be played in a proper manner’. There is no doubt that, although the piano has long since disappeared, the club bar has provided a key role in the overall benefit, and indeed the development, of club membership over the years.
In the late 1990’s the club acquired three brand new sailing dinghies thanks to a lottery grant, to be joined later by a further three. These six small sailing craft are used by the thriving ESC Cadet Unit, which is manned by a small dedicated team of fully qualified instructors.
A number of further developments have been successfully completed in recent times, all with the aim of improving the general facilities available to members. One major improvement has been the installation of a ‘walkway ramp’ replacing a rather ungainly ladder to the main pontoon by the Tide Mill. Berths situated along the Quay wall now have the benefit of electric shore power and fresh water and the main mud berths enjoy safer mooring facilities since the installation of deep piles at each end of the trots, ensuring strong anchorage for all craft, and also becoming a navigational asset for craft approaching the Creek via either of the two channels.
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