Colchester’s Premier Members' Club
The Club stands on the site of the 11th century Benedictine Abbey of St. John which was founded in the late 11th century by Eudo, Steward to William the Conqueror. The Abbey was dissolved in 1539 by Henry VIII and its fabric fell into disrepair and decay. The only building currently remaining is the imposing 15th century gateway which forms the entrance to the Club.
The abbey grounds were acquired by the War Office in the mid-19th century and subsequently the Club was founded in 1887. Initially known as the Abbey Garden Club it provided tennis and social facilities for Garrison Officers and families. It was one of many similar clubs around the world for the use of serving Officers. Sadly it is the last surviving in the UK.
Although membership was originally restricted to serving Army Officers and their families, the privilege of membership was gradually extended to civilians who eventually became the majority. In 2001 the Army relinquished control of the Club and in July 2010 the club members purchased the freehold site. Unfortunately shortly afterwards the clubhouse was destroyed by fire.
The Club has since been rebuilt and reopened its doors in July 2013 almost three years to the day after the fire.