History of the club
The Club was founded by an enthusiastic group of teachers and friends, brought together by a series of innovative mountain leadership courses and schools' activity holidays during the post-war austerity years. During the following fifty years the Club has grown into the diverse, vibrant organisation that you see today.
Among the early members of the club were Bert Wright, an adviser to West Bromwich Education Authority, Geoff Robinson, Ted Hutton and Martin Bessell, teachers at West Bromwich Grammar School, Hughie Young, a teacher at Bratt Street School, and Rev Keith Treacher of Lodge Road Unitarian Church. Other early members included Peter Woodward, Ray Vaughan, Mike Thompson and Wally Cheeseborough. The club's first outing was to the Long Mynd in Shropshire in January 1952 and the club held its first meeting at the West Bromwich YMCA on 31st January, 1952.
The next significant step for the club was the acquisition of a club hut in Snowdonia; a place of warmth and shelter that would be the base for mountaineering weekends nearby. In 1957 West Bromwich Council bought Plas Gwynant, the former home of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman - Prime Minister 1905-1908 - as an outdoor activity centre. The Club used the site for camping, but after a few years was offered a disused Dutch barn in the grounds for conversion into a hut.
Work began in January 1961 to dig out and level the floors, and club members volunteered their time and labour to convert the barn into a practical base. It opened in 1961 with basic amenities. Electricity was connected in 1967 and a new toilet block was built in 1975.
The full history of the club is covered in detail in the book "WBMC: The first 50 years", which is available in paperback and hardback.