A Company is Formed
image: Certificate of Incorporation
On April 16th, 1907 a company called Harewood Downs Golf Club Limited was incorporated. The first meeting was held on the following day at Chesterfield Gardens, Mayfair, with Archibald Grove in the Chair. Present were Sir J. Dickson-Poynder, Bart. MP, the Lord S. Oswald, Sir F. Milner Bart., Sir H. Seton-Karr CMG, Sir Thomas Troubridge Bart. and E.L.S. Brunner as Acting Secretary.
The first one hundred members were elected and the Committee considered a report on the condition and prospects for the golf links from Mr Peter Lees. It was agreed that the Rt. Hon. A J Balfour MP (Prime Minister 1902 - 1905) be invited to accept the position of Captain. At the next meeting held on June 14th, 1907 further members were elected. It was reported, however, that the Rt. Hon. A J Balfour was unable to accept the captaincy and the Hon. Alfred Lyttleton MP had accordingly been offered, and accepted, the position.
This company acquired the lease of the land from the Groves for a term of 80 years from 24th June 1907 for a premium of £7,000 and a rental of £10-5s-0d per annum.
Some interesting conditions were attached to the lease. It stipulated that:
- the property be laid out as a golf course
- the Clubhouse be completed within twelve months
- the Groves retain the right of main road access to their Pollards Park property by horse drawn vehicle along what we now know as the ditch in front of the 5th and 12th greens
- his approval should be sought for any “obstructions” created on the course (presumably bunkers and the like) and…..
- his family retain the right to shoot quail over the course!
image: "Someone else hoping for a birdie..."
The money required for the purchase of the lease and the initial working capital of the company was financed by the issue of £10,000 First and £4,000 Second Mortgage Debentures. Sir T H C Troubridge and Busick Pemberton represented the Debenture holders as Trustees. By a Trust Deed dated July 16th, 1907, the Lease was charged by the Company and the freehold land charged by Mr Grove in favour of the Trustees as security for the money due to the debenture holders.
The structure of this funding shows how crucial was the contribution of Busick Pemberton to the establishment of the Club. He provided over 86% of the working capital – approximately a quarter of a million pounds at today’s rates - an act of faith if ever there was one at a time when his entrepreneurial partner was sliding into bankruptcy!