In 1980 work began to convert a former machinery room at the paper mill into a modern social club, complete with bar and games room. A committee was formed to supervise the work and it was reported in the local press that one of its members, Alan “Mac” Murrich was confident enough volunteers were “ready to roll up their sleeves and muck in to build a club for the future. Everyone is keen as mustard to get started”.
With the empty shell of a building already in place and the complete support of the company the project was off to a good start. Colin Harris, Mill Manager commented “The employees are going to raise money to run the club, they are volunteering to do the vast majority of the work and the firm is providing the building at a very nominal rent.” Work started in earnest in May 1981.
Whilst skittles and darts were amongst the activities earmarked for the new club the committee believed that it would also generate greater interest in other social club activities such as fishing, bowls and cricket, if a headquarters is provided where members and their opponents could gather.
It was envisaged that the new club would not only be used for a sports and social club but also the venue for retired employees to maintain friendships and contact with their workmates.
It was not until April 16th 1982 that the Deputy Chief Executive of Wiggins Teape, Mr Alex Halliday, officially opened the Social Club, and on behalf of the company, presented the committee with a surprise gift of a full size snooker table. More than 200 employees and their families packed into the club to witness the special occasion.
Thereafter the Social Club became a vibrant meeting place for employees and residents of Ivybridge alike. Apart from darts, skittles, pool and snooker, there were regular quiz nights and popular evening entertainment provided by both live music and mobile discos. It was always the venue for the mill’s Christmas party held on Christmas Eve, when work at the mill stopped around midday and employees could meet before going home to their families. This was followed by a children’s party and a visit from Santa!