A PLAN to knock down a long-standing venue in Chippenham and use the land for homes was refused recently - delighting those who have fond memories of the club's long history.

The Gladstone Road Club, in the middle of Gladstone Road, is a 112-year-old building which was once a thriving space for parties, groups and skittles tournaments.

Thousands of people from all across Wiltshire have used the club at some point in their life. It was first opened in 1897 called the Gladstone Liberal Club, a name which lasted until its refurbishment 90 years later.

The club's hall was often used for Christmas works dinners, christenings and wedding receptions.

The Gladstone Road Club came to an end in September last year when it formally closed. The hall is now vacant, surrounded in fencing.

Karen King, from Chippenham, fondly remembered her wedding reception at the club in 1996.

She said: “I have good memories of the club, even though it was quite a while ago now! The people there were very friendly and it seemed nice and modern.

“I was very sorry to hear that it closed - it was used by lots and lots of people.

“I think it is missed, and will continue to be missed, by locals who were members of the club and others who just knew it to be a good venue. I would personally like to see it open up again.”

The club was named in honour of Lord William Ewart Gladstone, who served for four terms as Prime Minister between 1868 and 1894.

At the time the club opened, his nephew John Gladstone, who lived in Bowden Park, Lacock, was the High Sheriff of Wiltshire. The house was bought in 1849 and extended by Captain John Gladstone, the Prime Minister's older brother, but it is not known if the 'Grand Old Man' of Victorian politics ever visited the club. Surprisingly, the club was named before the road. This was called Blind Lane when it opened, but the name was changed to Gladstone Road in 1930.

The recent plan to knock down the club and replace it with30 flats was refused by Wiltshire Council on the grounds that it would “ruin the character and appearance” of Gladstone Road.