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Dunstable Angling Club

A Brief History

Dunstable Angling Club ( is to some extent an enigma, it is successful in a town that, to my knowledge, never had an angling club, apart from various works angling sections. So before talking about Dunstable Angling Club perhaps we should take a brief look at Dunstable itself.

There was never a town on the sight that is now Dunstable, mainly I suppose because it had a major drawback, it has no natural surface water. But strategically the site was of great importance as it stood at the crossroads of The Watling Street and The Ickniel Way, the main routes north and south and east and west. So a new town was born, and quickly become successful and important.

A huge monastery was built, and things were going really well until one Henry VIII fell out with the Roman Catholic Church, got divorced at Dunstable and subsequently dissolved the monasteries.
However Dunstable continued to exist over the next few hundred years. The town is built on chalk, which is porous, hence no surface water, but there are large underground aquifers, chalk related industries sprang up in and around Dunstable, including whitening works, lime production and more important from our point of view cement production.

In the 1920’s APCM ( as Blue Circle was known as then) started cement production at a site between Dunstable and Houghton Regis. Quarries were excavated and eventually they must have tapped into the underground reservoirs of water, which although not good for them, eventually led to the birth of Dunstable Angling Club.

Dunstable Angling Club developed from the Blue Circle Angling Section. As I mentioned earlier there never was an angling club in Dunstable , but there was and is still an awful lot of anglers in the area. So when the embryonic angling section came into being it was always going to be popular. When The Blue Circle Angling Section came into being it had no waters but other works in the company did have, so coach trips were arranged to various locations. These were always very popular and great social occasions.The angling section was a part of the works welfare association and so had to conform to certain rules, although there was an associate welfare (read social club) membership, associate members could not hold executive positions on the section committees.

Because the workforce was considerable there was never a problem with “outside members” becoming associated members, I believe it was done on a one for one basis. However everything changed in the early 1970’s cement production ceased and the site became a large cement distribution depot. Consequently the number of employees dropped dramatically, therefore the number of sponsors for outside members was greatly reduced, eventually I think that every employee and company pensioner were used to sponsor outside members.

The section continued to flourish, but the size of the depot was slowly shrinking. Eventually the welfare function had all but disappeared and it became obvious that to survive we would have to go “private”. Many long meetings were held to formulate rules relevant to an angling club.
Blue Circle Estates were approached and eventually a lease and rent agreed. With all the groundwork done, in 1987 Dunstable Angling Club was born. Since that time the club has had a change of landlord, this caused much alarm at the time, but passed off well. We are now coming up to modern times and again there are momentous events happening. But these are things of the present and future, and I have no doubt that somebody will be writing about them in twenty years time.

Finally, a club is only as good as the membership and officers and committee who run it. Dunstable has always been blessed on both counts, over the years so many people have given so freely of their time and effort to make the club what it is today. Long may it continue.

Ian Gordon.
(D.A.C. Life Member).

Dunstable Angling Club

The club can trace its origins back to the welfare branch of the Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers Ltd in 1963/1964. This company later became Blue Circle. In those days fishing generally consisted of coach trips.

One of the quarries at Houghton Regis produced by the groundworks was full of water and despite advise that fish wouldn’t live it it, it was stocked in 1973. The banks at that time were unfishable, and to overcome this Wednesday evening matches were held; the condition of entry being that before you could fish you had to dig your swim out. From these beginnings a path around the quarry was created. The main species in the early days were rudd and crucian carp, although in the hot summer of 1976, a lot of fish were lost.

The early coach trips still continued to Collingham and Barnstone.

However, in the mid 1980’s Blue Circle started to wind down its Dunstable operation and to continue to operate as a club, a new foundation had to be laid with the formation of the Blue Circle Angling Club in 1986. Whilst the club still continues, the name was short lived when Blue Circle granted the club a lease but made it out to the Dunstable Angling Club which resulted in the rapid name change. The club didn’t know if it would be able to meet the rental payments, but fortunately membership grew and not only was the rent met, but restocking has also been ongoing as funds permitted.

In 1989, the Club negotiated sharing a stretch on the Great Ouse at Home Farm in Stoney Stafford with the Boxmoor Angling Club.

Today the club is flourishing with a membership waiting list, proving the value of the work done through the efforts of the membership, particularly in the formative years.

Listed below are some of the milestones in the life of the club:-

1989 Lilies and reed were planted around the quarry pumphouse.
1990 Large roach were introduced from Linear Fisheries.
1991 Pike matches were introduced.
1992 160lb of mixed carp were introduced from Whipsnade Park in 2-4lb range.
200 crucian carp were introduced to half a pound
1993 198lb of bream were stocked in the 5-10lb range
100lb of roach, 5lb of perch and 41lb of tench were introduced.
175lb of carp, mainly fully scaled mirror carp were stocked from Alders
Farm at Brickhill.
1994 Five pike were introduced, four double figure fish, the largest 27lb 4oz.
A pike fishing ban was also introduced at this time.
1996 2500 rudd were introduced.
1997 It appeared at that time that the lease would be lost and to maximise time on the water, the close season was abolished.
1999 With the lease granted, the car parking facilities were improved, and a water fund was established to acquire access to other waters should the uncertainty of the previous two years be repeated sometime in the future.
2000 The excavation of two stock ponds was commenced on 10th October. The initial base stock consisted of 150 tench in 4-6” range and 20 carp of the Lenny Dink strain.
Over the following five years 50 carp, 60lbs of tench and 40lbs of crucian carp have gradually been introduced.
2001 The Water Fund match was introduced on 16th June.
2004 Boundary fence around the quarry needed work and Phase I (of II) was started.
A fish survey found the overall population was now good, supported by the stock ponds, however, the roach and rudd were struggling, as was the pike which depend upon the stock of silver fish for their food supply.
The quarry produced its first 30lb common carp, and the catfish have started breeding.
2005 The boundary fence repairs were completed.
14 catfish were introduced from Anglers Paradise in Devon in the 1-3lb range. They have been growing at approximately 1.5lb per years since that date. The largest catfish caught was 27lb 1oz.