Tweedmouth and Spittal are “Suburbs” of Berwick on Tweed.
Spittal is on the south side of the River on the coast. Tweedmouth is on the same side of the River but around a mile upstream from the sea.
The main part of Berwick is on the North side of the River Tweed.
Below is a summary of the above club. It was written by the former secretary.
I have only slightly tinkered with the text to suit the website.
Obviously I understand it may be of limited interest to those who are not local.
However it may have some merit in informing some of the younger generation who may never have imagined the delights of going fishing by train. It may also remind the older generation (me included) of the convenience of the modern age……
A BRIEF RECORD OF TWEEDMOUTH & SPITTAL PRIVATE ANGLING CLUB
From 1926 to 1990.
The first recorded meeting of the Tweedmouth and Spittal Private Angling Club was on Wed. the 27th of January 1926 in St. Cuthbert’s hall in Tweedmouth with a proposal that such a club be formed – this was by a group of keen anglers. The name was agreed – officers elected, and a set of rules drawn up. These rules are basically the same today.
An annual competition on Good Friday – usually on Cornhill and Lennel water was arranged – travel was by train or bus with baskets to be weighed in at Tweedmouth railway station – the fish caught were handed in to Berwick Infirmary.
Members were handicapped at some later competitions – it appears that 8ozs was deducted in some cases and a 1lb start given in others. The prizes were often 5/-, 3/-, & 2/-. Night fishing really was night fishing; starting at 9pm and finishing at 6am , usually with a game of quoits before the start. And so the club continued with credit balances of £7-13/- and £6-18/- considered to be very satisfactory.
The annual subscription was 10/- with 1/- entry fee.
The names on some of our trophies are those of members from early days of the club e.g. J. Russell – 1926 ; J.Whitlie – 1926 ; T.Yourston – 1944 etc. The A.G.M. meetings had been held in St. Cuthbert’s Hall, Tweedmouth, or in St. Johns church old school but during the war they were held in a house at St. Helens Terrace in Spittal.
There is very little mention of the war except to say that in 1940 due to difficulty in obtaining transport the annual competition would be held in Norham and men serving in H. M. Forces would be excused payment of the annual subscription.
In 1947 membership was 13 – this was thought to be sufficient and it was decided not to accept new members. One of the club rules at this time was – One member cannot take 1st prize twice in succession and this rule was applied in 1950 when the 1st prize was awarded to the second best basket.
Dr. James Mitchell joined the club in 1952 and in his 1st competition he had fourteen trout thereby winning the 1st. prize of 10/-, the Whitlie challenge cup and the clubs 25 years Jubilee Medal. In 1953 four anglers were proposed to join the club – unfortunately there was only one vacancy and a name had to be drawn from the hat.
In 1956 the secretary mentions with regret the passing of two of the founder members – J. Watson and J.Whitlie In the following year it was decided that the members – of whom there were now fourteen – could fish the Tweed or the Whiteadder during club competitions.
At the 1958 A.G.M. the Secy./Treas. was ill and Albert Piercy was asked to take on the job. He drew up a rota system for V/president and Committee which was in use by the club until recently. Albert carried on as Secy./Treas. for 22yrs followed by 17yrs as club President.
One outstanding competition mentioned in the minutes is the Good Friday competition of 1962 when 12 members fished and 126 fish were weighed in at the Red Lion, Allanton. The total weight was recorded as 42 lbs.
In 1965 the membership limit was raised to 18 but the clubs funds were getting low -£1:14/-; 15/6 ; & 10/6 in previous years being typical examples and that year there was a deficit of £1:4/3. A contribution of 5/- per member was asked for to create a favourable balance which gradually crept up again and by 1973 cash in hand (now in decimal currency) was £6:17p. That year the J. Menzies Trophy was gifted to the club and funds were boosted again by the raffle of a half bottle of whisky and a box of flies – both donated.
The clubs 50th anniversary was in 1976 and discussions as how to celebrate took place. It was agreed to wait until more members were present at the Good Friday competition but prizes were to remain at 50p ; 37p ; & 25p. – Catches recently had been poor and this competition was no exception as only four fish were weighed in.
Photographs of members and friends were taken then tea was enjoyed at the Red Lion Allanton. The T.Yourston trophy was gifted to the club at this time, to be fished for at the night competition and it was agreed to have a small celebration at the Bridge Hotel at Tweedmouth. The secretary thanked the President Jack Russell for all his work over many years – sadly Jack died the following year and was the last of the clubs founder members. The age limit was reduced to 16, membership limit to 25, subscriptions increased to £1 and trophy winners to pay to have their names inscribed. A sing song with refreshments was enjoyed after business was completed.
When new membership cards were needed in 1978 the rules were gone over very carefully and amended where required. Fishing was again very poor at the competitions with e.g. only 1 fish at the Good Friday competition.
The club president went into hospital and had to resign the following year on health grounds
A.G.M.s were now being held in the Tweed View Hotel and in 1982 the Meadow House was chosen for the weigh in and tea – then the A.G.M. was switched to the Highwayman in 1983 and following the death of T.Hutson, Albert Piercy was elected President.
Catches were going up again – 24 members fished and caught 63 fish at the Good Friday competition and payment for members attending the Hirsel Game Fair over the last few years had enabled the club to cover members subscriptions.
In 1986 minimum fish size had to be 9ins and in the same year Dexters paid £800 each to Berwick and Duns associations as a gesture of goodwill to help restock the river although there were no grounds to blame them for pollution. The Mike Hearne trophy was gifted to the club in this year.
The minutes for 1988 mention a £1000 restocking programme by the Berwick Association to which our club contributed £50. In 1990 the club membership limit was raised to 30 and a proposal that fly only be used at Good Friday competitions was agreed unanimously – this has since been extended to cover all river competitions. There was a long discussion about proposals to move the tidal limit to well below Cantys Bridge – it was decided to resist this strongly.
Since 1990 the club has continued to function well with members looking forward to the clubs 75th anniversary year in 2001.
Frank Robertson–Secy./ Treas.