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Twickenham Piscatorial Society

Twickenham Piscatorial Society

Twickenham Piscatorial Society

Twickenham Piscatorial Society


I joined TPS in November 1959 just before my fourteenth birthday, the minimum junior age, having waited a couple of years to join. I was encouraged to become a member by Ron Burtenshaw who was the Treasurer and used to chat regularly with me when we were both fishing the Thames at Isleworth.

TPS was formed in 1920 from, it was said, soldiers returning from the Great War and some of the founder members were still around in 1959, in particular Thurlow Popplewell who was still a formidable force in club matches. When I joined the membership was 400 adult males, a number of wives and a thriving junior section. There was a waiting list for adult members and anyone joining was invited to attend a meeting and be introduced to the chirman, a splendid character call Nelson Price. This applied to juniors also and I was really proud to shake the Chirman's hand and be welcomed in.

The club's headquarters were on the 1st floor of the Albany Hotel in Twickenham and meetings were held every 2 weeks on Thursdays. The club was not run by a committee although there were committees for Finance, Welfare, Social, Membership and Fisheries. The Chairmen of these committees together with the clubs officers (President, Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Club Captain and Match Secretary) formed the General Purposes Committee and met monthly. There were a number of well known local members including the angling author Eric Marshall-Hardy and Angling Times columnist Dave Stuart.

The club had 2 principal waters at Wraysbury and Littleton both of which were gravel pits and both lost to the Society in controversial circumstances. Wraysbury in particular was a splendid water and fished well throughout the season.

Matches were held regularly throughout the season, weekly to Christmas and a few less to 14th March. The fixture list comprised summer and autumn matches at Wraysbury, the complex was enormous and we fished either the Station End of the pit or Hythe End. A few matches were held at Littleton and as the club belonged to the Middlesex and Surrey League reciprocal outings were to the other members (Feltham, Addlestone and Farnham). In addition the league held 3 large matches each year to which all members were invited, 2 of these at Wallingford and a Christmas match sometimes at Wraysbury. Monthly trips to the Dorset Stour from September to February and a number of local Thames matches, Richmond, Twickenham and Teddington all made for a very full fixture list. Coaches were laid on for many trips, the Stour runs for example left Twickenham at 5am travelled into London to pick up members then returned via Staines at 6.30 and down the A30 (no motorways then) for a stop for breakfast at Southampton and on to Christchurch. I remember well at a club meeting the match captain saying that we had a really good run and were on the water by 9.30. Normal matches were walk off following a draw at 8.45 and in the summer fish to 6 or 7pm.

Socially the club held a Christmas Party and an annual Dinner & Dance in May which also incorporated prize giving. The Welfare committee did a grand job of looking after needy members, a friend of mine broke his leg and was unable to work for a short period and was helped financially by the club.

So that was how things were in the 50's/early 60's but of course like many other clubs things began to change. A new breed of angler arrived and this saw the introduction of all-in fishing, pools, peg downs, National Championship and Angling Times Winter League. This was too much for some of the die-hards who had been with the club for years and didn't enjoy the changes.

Through the 1970's TPS were fairly successful in their match performances, for a number of years they fished the 2nd Division National and regularly finished in the top 20 or so, and in the Surrey Angling Times league they held their own with Dorking although 2nd place was their best finish. Also by this time TPS had purchased a 4 acre gravel pit near Newbury and without mentioning figures had struck gold. The seller had assumed that the value was based on agricultural land when it was actually industrial, the very astute President got wind of this and the pit was sold for a handsome profit. For a while TPS scoured the local area for a suitable replacement and a long lease was agreed on a lake at Woking – not long enough however, as the owner refused to extend it and is now running the lake as a commercial business.

Then once agan things changed and by the 1990's TPS were in decline. They still had a number of useful fisheries, Thame, Kennet and latterly Lyne Lake. With the new millenium the situation seemed terminal, the club had a healthy bank balance but few members and it was at this time that a suggestion to merge TPS with Feltham PS was made and agreed and that is where we stand today.

Hugh Edwards

The badge shown was to celebrate their golden Jubilee in 1970

If you know more, I would be very pleased to hear from you.

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