Records show that the first suggestion for a Warrington Conservative Club appeared in a letter to the editor of the Warrington Guardian of 16th March, 1872. The writer, a local Conservative, proposed that the local Conservative Association should establish a Conservative Club, thereby supplying all Warrington Conservatives with a long-felt need.


After this lead, local Warrington Conservatives wasted no more time and by August that year spacious premises were acquired in Academy Street. The Club was founded with the object of providing Conservatives with a convenient rendezvous for friendly and social intercourse, and also of furthering Conservative principles in the Borough. Finally, on 26th September, 1872, the Warrington Conservative Club was officially opened and prospective members were asked to submit their names for approval. These premises consisted of a Reading Room, Library, Committee Rooms and four other rooms for Smoking, Chess, Bagatelle, Billiards and similar pastimes.


All went well for a time, but then, we are sorry to relate, things ceased to run according to plan and the situation became so serious that at one time the terrible idea was mooted that the Club should close. However, wiser counsels prevailed; a new Committee was formed and matters took a turn for the better. The whole building was renovated, the rules revised and Billiards and Whist matches with other Clubs organised, with the result that membership figures soared and outstanding debts were paid.


The Committee, however, had other plans. They felt that even better results could be achieved if only more suitable accommodation was provided. So, with this enterprising idea in mind, it was agreed that a completely new Club should be built with a bowling green and tennis court. The first move in this direction took place in 1883 when a lease for the site at the corner of Sankey Street was obtained for erecting the new Club. The services of an architect for drawing up the plans were obtained, and a contract with the builder signed. The builder, Mr. W. Porter, was given eighteen months in which to complete his contract, but within nine months the whole building, including fittings, was complete. Mr. Porter was almost continually on the premises from early morning till late at night and members would do well to remember that much credit in setting their Club off on "the right foot" is due to the constant vigilance and hard work of Mr. Porter.


The building was opened on 5th October 1884 by The Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Assheton Cross MP, KCB, in the presence of The Rt. Hon.Sir Stafford Northcote MP, Lord Winmarleigh, Sir Gilbert Greenall, Colonel Ireland-Blackburne MP, and other leading Conservatives of the district. In drawing up the Rules of this new Club, the Committee inserted one which stated that the Club should promote "by all fair and legitimate means, the success of Conservatism and to support the principles thereof, and also to provide members with facilities for meeting together for recreation and amusement.".


These facilities were plentiful. The Club occupied the whole of the ground floor and bowling green, while the local Conservative Association had its Divisional offices upstairs, with the exception of a Club Committee Room. All political activities were and still are, organised by the Association. For a time after occupying these new premises all went well and the Club flourished, but due to the very high rate of interest on loans and the parlous state of the Club's finances, the situation became less happy, and in 1921 the property was bought by Sir Gilbert Greenall—later to become the first Lord Daresbury—and to him the Club paid an annual rental. Then, in 1940. after the death of Lord Daresbury, his son, who succeeded him. went to live in Ireland, and the premises were taken over by Messrs. Greenall Whitley & Co.Ltd., the brewers, to whom the Club paid rent.


In 1971, the building was subject to a compulsory purchase order as the land was acquired to build the new Civil Service building, Hilden House. The Club then moved to it's present address at Vigo House in Dial Street which was vacated by the South Lancashire Regimental Club and was the former home of Laetitia Aiken, a well-known authoress.


Famous Previous Members

Lord Daresbury. Lt.-Commander G, K. Rylands, Chairman of the firm of Messrs. Rylands Bros. Ltd., which was known throughout the world for their wire products. George Duckworth, the Lancashire and England Wicket-keeper. It was through him that nearly all the famous Australian and South African Cricketers of that era were visitors at the Club.