CLUB HISTORY

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ABOUT
BATTERSEA IRONSIDES
SPORTS CLUB

Since 1943,

rugby1st Team 1992 - 93.jpg
 

BATTERSEA IRONSIDES SPORTS GROUND TODAY

  • We own the Freehold of our club together with our freinds The Spencer Club next door. It is heavily covenanted by Feilds in Turst and the National Playing Fields Association - A Queen Elizabeth 2nd Playing Field.

  • See Club Structure for details of internal Leases etc.

  • The ground remains covenanted by Magdalen College.

  • The area surrounding the ground is the designated The Spencer Park Conservation Area which is very restricted from any development.

  • The whole area from the Magdalen Road cemetery through to the Tooting Cemetery is Metropolitan Open Land


The ornate original gates on our ground and the Spencer Ground are much prized, as is the replica hooped wrought iron fencing probably reinstated after the war.

OUR ARTIFICIAL PITCH

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GARRATT GREEN, AKA DSP AND THE SCOUT HUT

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ACQUIRING THE BATTERSEA IRONSIDES SPORTS GROUND

Following lengthy investigations we eventually discovered and befriended our real owners, Morley Investmentment Management, they had acquired our Ground from CU. Aviva Investments advised us in 2010 that they were about to sell the entire Holloway Estate including our ground and the Spencer Ground.  Through a little artistry David GH persuaded them to sell the grounds to the clubs for a fair price, it helped that Aviva were the sponsors of England Rugby. Ross Newby the Chair of the Spencer Club found The London Marathon Charitable Trust.  LMCT agreed to grant the funds for the purchase of both grounds. LMCT asked us to create London Marathon Playing Fields Earlsfield Ltd, a not for profit company owned jointly owned 50/50 by Spencer and Battersea Ironsides. We were greatly assisted by rugby dad, David Roberts, a senior real estate solicitor and a Partner of Jones Day, in this project.

NOVATING BATTERSEA IRONSIDES SPORTS CLUB


To enable the Sports Club to progress, we needed a fresh start, a team from the Sections - Steve Wood, Tall Paul, David GH, Bob Lettman, Kevin & Neil Harman, Jon Slinn and David Solomon negotiated a fresh Constitution and this enabled the release of the BISCL guarantors.  We were much assisted by rugby dad David Kinch of Edwin Coe in this major project.

BATTERSEA IRONSIDES SPORTS CLUB 1983-2010

In 1983 BISC first moved to our “Home” in Openview.

Before 1920, the three sports grounds between Fieldview and Openview and much surrounding housing were owned by  Magdalen College Oxford. In 1920 the ground was sold to Holloways Properties with covenants for sporting & recreation use and restrictions on building. For many years Holloways’ employees used the ground until the estate was sold to Commercial Union (now part of Aviva). 

Then followed leases to local Companies for employee sports and social activities, including Mobile Oil, Mason Scott, Robert Lyons and Brown & Root.


In 1983 Bob Ockenden and Tony Finn, BIRFC 1st skipper negotiated with Brown and Root and the freeholder, Commercial Union [CU], to take over the  lease.  The lease came with onerous undertakings and significant cost. With the desire to get a Home ground for Battersea Ironsides.


David Wright got a £20,000 bank loan, a brewers barrelage deal  raised more cash and in the spirit of the Ironsides 30 members put significant sums into the company set up as one of CU’s requirements. CU also required personal guarantors to back the financial obligations of the Lease. 6 members from all sections signed up with open ended liabilities. David Wright, Bob Ockenden, Sandy Kinnear, Fran Prince, Eric Ferebee &

Max Hellicar.


In 1990 on expiry the Lease, we were presented with a heavy repair schedule. CU were not offering a new lease and took the club to Court for onerous delapidations. 5 years of legal wrangling followed, including a further call for cash help from members  to assist with repair obligations and legal costs.


In 1995 a 15 year lease was agreed at an increased rent that did rise to £16,500 by 2010. Personal guarantors were required but with a maximum individual liability of £45,000 each. The personal guarantors from 1995 were  joined by Tony Szulc & Jean Peddle.


There were many headaches and heartaches between 1995 and 2010 but the Battersea Ironsides Sports Club survived, just.

In 2010 the Battersea Ironsides Sports Club Limited was wound up and a new BISC constitution agreed.  All liabilities were covered by the club. BISOL followed as a new operations company for the novated BISC.


Eric Ferebee was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queens’s Honours list for 2013 largely for his work on behalf of Battersea Ironsides Sports and Cricket Clubs. An honour that  recognised many Battersea Ironsides members who put so much in to the club and took serious risks.


THE ATA GROUND FROM 1970

By the 1970s Battersea Ironsides had got its feet under the table at the sports ground at the other end of Openview, now known as the Ashcroft Technology Academy [ATA] ground. Bec Old Boys and Battersea Ironsides shared that ground via the then lease holder Wandsworth Council.

Ironsides Rugby retain some leasehold rights on the ground along with Bec Old Boys and The Spencer Club who also manage and maintain the ground.

 

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