By William Broadhead (OC 1953–1960)
In the 1950s, the Old Caterhamians RFC played next to St Mary’s Church on the Dene Field where there was a small shed with a crude boiler and a shower. Refreshments were taken in the Caterham Country Club in Stafford Road on a site now occupied by flats. Sites for a permanent base were considered, and negotiations with the Board resulted in a lease for land adjacent to the Hill Field (note the use of the singular!). Constructing a pitch on the adjoining piece of scrub land (part of a former golf course) for which the School had no plans was also discussed. Prodigious effort by members resulted in the first clubhouse being constructed in 1958, followed in 1960 by the clearing of the scrub and felling of trees. After filling of enormous hollows, Roger Hamberg and his farm implements cleared stones, dug drains, then smoothed and seeded – hence the ’Hamberg’ pitch.
In 1965, the acquisition of an army hut to serve as a bar and clubhouse (noted in the following account by Peter Osbourn, OC), enabled the contiguous original building to be redeveloped to provide updated changing rooms and showers. The hut suffered severe damage in the hurricanes of 1987 and 1990, and spurred the construction of the replacement clubroom and bar in 1991. This was followed in subsequent years by the construction of new changing rooms, forming the clubhouse as we knew it until its demolition in May 2017, and the advent of today’s magnificent pavilion.