Brief History of the Club and Sir John Bayley


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The Club 

The Sir John Bayley club was formed in 1921 at an address known then as 23, Haygate rd.

The original name of the club was “Comrades of the Great War (Wellington) Club Limited”

The club came into being when John Bayley (The founder of Wrekin College), made a gift to the ex-servicemen of the 1914-18 war of a large timber building in 1920.

The rules for the Comrades club did not permit civilian members and the gift was specifically made to Ex-servicemen of the 1914-18 war. The irony was that Sir John Bayley was barred from the club that would eventually bear his name as he was over 60 years old at the start of the war and outside the age for military service.

To get round that potentially embarrassing problem John Bayley and Robert Gwynne (solicitor), who was also ineligible, had to be granted special membership of the new club. As a point of interest the firm of Gwynne and local branch of Barclays Bank retain an unbroken chain of service to the club since 1921.

In July 1921 John Bayley and Lieutenant Colonel Blockley of Admaston , were credited with buying the land which the club was erected on, with Arthur Pearce acting as advisor.

In 1937 the name of the club was changed to (The Sir John Bayley Social and Ex-Services Club Limited) which would open up the membership to men other than Great War survivors.

In September 1949 the name was changed again to “The Sir John Bayley Social Club Limited” dropping the “and Ex-servicemen’s’ words from the title.


Sir John Bayley

Born on the 21st December 1852 at Ashton Under Lyne 8 miles from the city of Manchester, he was the 7th son of a 7th son,  his father was a coalminer.  John started training as a teacher from the age of 13.

He arrived in Wellington via teacher training school and his first headship in Ashford, Kent where he met and married, Emily Susannah Butler, immediately after arriving in Wellington he was appointed as Headmaster of the Board School on Constitution Hill, he was 24years of age.

John left the Constitution Hill school on the 31st March 1880 and started his own school in Albert rd, Wellington, this later became “Wrekin College”. 40 years later he owned 125 acres of land most of which the present Wrekin College still occupies.

John Bayley was a firm friend of David Lloyd George and became interested in politics and stood for election on the 7th February 1920, but came 3rd in the vote with 4750 votes, a rare defeat for the great man.

At the end of the year 1920 John Bayley sold Wrekin College and retired to his Buckatree home, and  in 1921 he moved to Torquay, returning to Shropshire two or three times a year.       

The New Years Honours list of 1921 contained the name of John Bayley and he was confirmed with the title of, Knight Bachelor, “for services to education” . His wife Emily died on the 4th of June 1928.

Sir John Bayley died in 1952, just short of his 100th birthday, and is buried in the churchyard of St,Tudnos on the Great Orme at Llandudno, next to his wife Emily, where he had proposed some 70 odd years earlier.