Wessex club

Wessex Club

Park Road


In 1947 the Wessex (Yeovil) Social and Sports Club was formed and rented a hut in Princes Street. It soon became apparent that the accommodation would soon become inadequate and it was decided that new, larger premises should be sought.

As a result, the Southern Electricity Board gave the club a former fifteenth-century coach house in Park Road, at the rear of its Princes Street showrooms that had, for many years, been part of its premises.

Conversion of the existing building and the construction of an extension to accommodate a skittle alley cost nearly £4,000 (in excess of £95,000 at today's value). The conversion was not easy since the external mud and stone walls were 2' 4" (710mm) thick and were, in parts, over 8" (200mm) out of vertical. The centre wall, 18" (460mm) thick, was not tied to the outer structure in any way. This wall had to be shored and pinned to allow steel girders to be fitted since it was carrying the weight of the main roof above.

The accommodation on the ground floor included the main club room with a bar in the corner, and the skittle alley (I used to skittle here regularly). A folding partition between the two could allow the rooms to be turned into a single space, complete with dance floor, accommodating about 150 people. Behind the bar was a cloakroom, while upstairs was a television room and a library. Outside was a small car park.

When the Wessex Club closed in (I think) the late 1990's, it became an Australian-themed bar called Alice Springs and was later rebranded as The Beach. It is now Castello's Italian restaurant.

Many thanks to Rob Baker for much of the above.




The partial demolition of the chimney breast in what would become the main club room. It had to be cut through in two places - and it was 5' (1.5m) thick. It was rebuilt and faced in stone to match the rest of the room. Photographed in 1959.


The official opening of the Wessex Club by the Chairman, Mr RRB Brown, in a colourised photograph of 6 August 1959.


Having declared the Wessex Club open, Mr Brown opens the bar (surprise, surprise!).


The skittle alley, photographed in 1959.


The bar area of the Wessex Club, photographed in 1971.


... and the Wessex Club's skittle alley. Again, photographed in 1971.


The Beach photographed in 2012.


... and as Castello's Italian restaurant, photographed in 2022.