Nelson Club History:
The Nelson Club was built by George Nelson's sons, George Henry and Edward Montague. This is an extract from work produced by Anthony Leahy, who has done extensive research into the Nelson family and its descendants. This is what Alfred Barnard said about the club and its founder as published in Round About Warwick 1899.
At the foot of Charles Street, at the south end of the works, stands the Nelson's Workmen's Club, a spacious building of handsome elevation, the cost of which was generously defrayed by the firm of G. NELSON, DALE & Co.
The accommodation provided, includes on the ground floor a spacious entrance hall, an office, a public bar, a smoking and games room, library and reading room, lavatories, etc. A handsome staircase leads up from the hall to the first floor of the building, which contains three spacious and well-appointed billiard rooms, containing four tables by Burroughes and Watts, of the most approved kind and superior quality. At the back of the entrance hall is a fine theater 90 feet in length by 36 in width, which is used as a dining hall in the middle of the day, and has attached to it a large kitchen fitted up with furnaces, ovens and ranges on a very extensive scale, where the work people can cook their own dinners. The theater or hall, which is fitted up to seat from 400 to 500 persons, possesses a stage fully equipped, with scenery which cost over £100. and a drop curtain recently painted by a London artist; adjacent are dressing rooms, lavatory etc. The stage is also furnished with the usual accessories for concerts, and has a fine toned piano by Collard & Collard.
Besides the various winter entertainments, Messrs. NELSON, DALE & Co.'s work people get up annually a theatrical piece, acted entirely by themselves, which is played for two nights. The first entertainment is free to all the firms employees; the second night it is open to the public at a small charge, the surplus, after paying expenses, going to the funds of the club.
Referring to this social club we should here remark that Sir Montague Nelson, K.C.M.G., is the President, whilst the Hon. Treasurer is Mr J Mottram and the Hon. Secretary Mr W Wallin.
The walls of the hall are adorned with many portraits, among them being those of the late Mr George Nelson, the founder, and his partner, the late Mr. Dale, all enclosed in massive oak frames made from the oak taken from the old historic ‘King's School,’ which were carved by Mr T H Kendall. There are also portraits of Mr George Henry Nelson and others of the partners.
The Nelsons :
George Nelson was Born in Nottingham in 1800. He studied chemistry in Nottingham. Both his father and uncle, were said to have been ruined by the American war. His Father and Grandfather were both recorded as Sheriffs of Nottingham and bore the name George.
The business was founded by George Nelson and his brother-in-law Thomas Bellamy Dale. The inspiration for the business came from George, who after studying chemistry in Nottingham, came to Leamington, and opened a chemist’s shop at 3 Union Parade Nelson and White as well as, Nelson and Herring, at 33, Bath-Street. It was there, in a lab in Regent-Place, that Leamington Salts were said to have been first manufactured - by evaporation from the celebrated saline. (not George Nelson)
He later moved to Rock Mills, and whilst there took out his first patent for the manufacture of gelatine in 1837. He set out to improve on the centuries-old practice for making jellies. He set out to create a product that was colourless as well as odourless and didn’t leave an after taste as well as being consistent. He was said to be the inventor of the world’s first table jelly. The sale of his gelatine product increased rapidly and the firm moved to Emscote Mills in 1841. The factory covered over five acres.
George Nelson died in 1850 and is buried in the churchyard at Old Milverton, overlooking Guys Cliff House and the Saxon Mill. He had five sons who survived him.
The end of the oldest firm of manufacturers in Warwick, George Nelson, Dale & Co Ltd., came to a close in 1972. Nelson’s gelatine had been in continuous production since 1837, almost 135 years.
An impressive history and one which the club and its members are very proud.
If you would like to learn more about the history of the Nelson family, Anthony Leahy has made a DVD and you can purchase it following this link:
The Nelson Cycle Club - Circa 1910
George Henry Nelson