Burpham’s clubs, societies & organisations

Moira MacQuaide’s history of Burpham

People are, on the whole, social beings. We enjoy getting together with others of like mind to do a wide range of things, including sports. Over the years, Burpham has had many clubs, societies and organisations, all offering various activities for those who live in the area.

Some met in pubs, some in village or church halls, some in dedicated sports venues. The oldest club found in the Surrey History Centre records was for the Burpham String Band, proved by a membership card that had been printed in the 1890s. It was still going in 1905, but had been re-named the Worplesdon String Band. I wonder what happened to that?

Burpham String Band card.

Burpham Village Hall was built in 1922, and in the early days was used by the Women’s Institute and the Mothers’ Union for meetings. Strong drink was not allowed, although this was changed to let wedding parties enjoy sherry and champagne! The Church of the Holy Spirit hall on New Inn Lane, built in 1961, has provided facilities for Brownies and Guides, as well as the very popular Drop-in Club for pensioners in the parish.

Mrs Bidwell ran a Scout group at one time, but it seems that today Merrow is the place for Cubs and Scouts. Today, one of the biggest users of the village hall is Guildford u3a, a self-help learning and social organisation for those no longer in full-time employment. Group meetings include local history, digital living, genealogy, language groups, music, philosophy and many others.

Burpham Boys Football Club c.1970 (E Voller).

WI medieval banquet 1989 (Gill Grainge).

The WI, which started in Canada, moved to Britain in 1915, and Burpham opened its own WI in 1931 as an afternoon group. They enjoyed wide-ranging activities and talks, and in 1936 were reported in the news to have decided, after a debate, “that married women have a better time than single women”. Such organisations rely on volunteers to make things happen, and the afternoon WI group closed down in 1991 as they were unable to find a Treasurer. However, in 1989 the Burpham Evening WI group was set up, and is still thriving today – a lively group, which provides for a range of interests for Burpham ladies. Other clubs for ladies have been the Burpham Ladies Club and the Burpham Women’s Guild.

Burpham Garden Club started in about 1960 and ran two shows a year, with trophies awarded for the best-kept summer front garden. John Boon keeps residents informed about gardening issues in each issue of Burpham Pages.

Burpham Community Association was set up in 1973 and represents the community whenever there are matters of general concern, or needs to bring issues to public attention. It liaises with the local MP, borough and county councillors, on topics such as flooding, traffic, drainage, and protection of amenities. Again, more information in each issue of Burpham Pages. Burpham Neighbourhood Forum was the first community to prepare its own neighbourhood plan, which has been adopted by the borough development plan.

Burpham Church runs several youth activities, but 60 years ago there was just Sunday School to look forward to. Then there are all the sporting organisations in Burpham. Football, for both adults and juniors, Tennis, Bowling, Table Tennis, and Darts. All have been popular in the last 70 years. With all this going on, there should be no complaints about boredom in Burpham!

u3a meeting in Burpham Village Hall.

If you are willing to share your memories and/or photos to tell us more about Burpham then please contact Moira MacQuaide, either by e-mail (moira.macquaide@gmail.com) or by phone or text (07963 756543). My book, Burpham – A Gateway to Guildford is still available from me for £10 (free delivery locally) or on Amazon, but the History of Burpham Primary School 1908-2014 is now out of print (available to borrow at Guildford Library).