OldCiren - Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK
I’ve written about how much there was to do in Ciren when I was growing up – and to an extent this hasn’t changed. As time has gone on, some clubs have gone and many opened in Ciren and today we still have Guides, Scouts as well as Civic and Community groups such as Soroptimists, and one of the oldest; The Air Rifle and Pistol League established in 1932. Shooting was once a widely popular pastime and although the Air Rifle club closed down in 1939, it reopened after the War to cater for returning servicemen who wanted to continue shooting. Before this however, there was (and still is) the Rifle Club situated at the Bingham Hall which formally opened by Mrs Jane Bingham on 14th October 1908.
The Cirencester Wine Club which started about 1974 focusses on wine from well beyond the Ciren horizo, but back in the 60’s and 1970’s there was another sort of Wine club: the Cirencester Amateur Wine-Makers Club which held its meetings in a room at the top of the Corinium Museum. It was fairly dangerous place to meet really – home made wine being what it is in terms of strength and the copious amounts of it drank over an evening of comparing “Parsnip Port” with concoctions made from produce from hedgerow or the Allotment; and then to descend the staircase in one piece!
As far as I know, the Amateur Wine makers of Ciren have long disbanded and gone the way of other specialist interest clubs in the town such as the Caged Bird Society and the Pipe Smokers Club which once hosted pipe smoking competitions for Men and Women. Pipe smoking was a once a very popular hobby and even now although largely outlawed, who can resist the pleasure of smelling a pipe of a fine tobacco – Balkan Sobranie anyone ?