During the 1920's and 30's there were at one time over 30 Night Clubs along the Thames or close to from Maidenhead Bridge to Cookham. The Thames and Maidenhead were at that time was the place to be seen at weekend's by the London Social Set. During those lazy hazy summers any boat that was afloat and could be hired could be found anywhere between Bray and Cookham Locks. There are many photographs of a very crowded Boulters Lock on a summers afternoon, with the men in their whites and blazers and straw boater hats. The ladies in dresses that looked as if they were going Ascot with large brimmed hats and always a parasol.
"Fred's Club." was not the resplendent building that you now see in the photo above, it looked like a very quiet suburban house, but it was the last to exist till the end of the war. It was run by a Mrs. Betts, a very quiet person, who when the war came and the other Night Clubs were forced to close due to the fact that the majority of the staff were considered to be aliens because of their German or Austrian background. Mrs. Betts then kept it running and opened it up as a club for locals in the Maidenhead Court area. To keep it as a club and under the licencing laws, she charged them a small membership fee. This allowed her to have flexible opening hours.
I remember when during the war one evening the air raid warning had sounded and the drone of enemy aircraft could be heard. So she suggested that her patrons stay and have another drink till the all clear. All of a sudden there were three explosions as bombs fell in the orchard at Sheephouse Farm. One of her patrons was a farm worker by the name of Stanmore. He and his wife were both there, when after the all clear he got home to find that all his windows were blown out by the blast and when he went to bed he found a large piece of shrapnel in his bed right where he would have been lying.
With the return of peace and the change in peoples habits, Mrs. Betts retired and closed the club, and so ended an era.