Victoria Working Men's Club

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Victoria Working Men's Club, Kew
Victoria Working Men's Club, Kew.jpg
Exterior view of Victoria Working Men's Club, Kew
General information
Architectural style tin tabernacle
Town or city Kew, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Country England
Completed 1889
Technical details
Structural system corrugated iron

The Victoria Working Men's Club is a working men's club at 275 Sandycombe Road[1] in Kew, Richmond, London which has operated since 1892.[2]

The building[edit]

The club is housed in Victoria & St John's, a building made mostly from corrugated iron, which from 1876 to 1889 had been an iron church on the opposite side of Sandycombe Road, housing St Luke's Church and St Luke's School.[2] It was moved to its present position in 1889 when the current St Luke's Church was built in The Avenue.[2] Its close association with the history of Kew has prompted its designation as a Building of Townscape Merit.[3]

The club[edit]

Alderman James Weeks Szlumper, an engineer and major benefactor of Darell Road School, who had also been mayor of Richmond,[4] was, for many years, the club's president and patron.[4]

The club was renowned for the amount of money it raised to send cigarettes to British soldiers at the front in the First World War.[2] It was visited by four overseas prime ministers and many British government ministers and by members of the British Royal Family.[2] A photograph shows Alderman Szlumper seated between the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.[4] David Blomfield, former Chair of the Richmond Local History Society, says: "In all, the club boasted of visits from 50 such VIPs over seven years – probably a unique record for a club of its size, and most certainly for one set in such accommodation".[2]

Current use[edit]

The building is still used by the club as a billiards hall. It is also used by the Anglo-Japanese Judo Club, founded by Mikinosuke Kawaishi.[3][5] Four planning applications to the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames to redevelop the site[3] have been rejected.


  1. ^ David Richardson (2003). "Victoria and St John's Working Men's Club". Local History and Heritage: Community Archive. London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f David Blomfield (1994). Kew Past. Phillimore & Co Ltd. pp. 116–117. ISBN 0 85033923 5. 
  3. ^ a b c "11/0609/FUL KEW WARD 275 SANDYCOMBE ROAD". London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Roger T Stearn (2007). "Patrons and potatoes: Aspects of an Edwardian council school". Richmond History (Richmond Local History Society) (28): 78–79. 
  5. ^ "History of the Bu’sen (Anglo Japanese)". Bu’sen Martial Arts School. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 

External links[edit]

  • Photograph at Community Archive, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames