Nield v Hastings CC 1957 update May 19, 2015 1:19:11 GMT
Post by brianjdenman on May 19, 2015 1:19:11 GMT
My article on the court case between A E Nield and the Hastings CC (2005) was based on the reports that appeared in the Hastings and St Leonards Observer. Recently I have seen the club minutes, which shed new light on the events.
The records of the ancestry.co.uk website indicate that Nield was born in the Edmonton Registration District of Middlesex in the January quarter of 1893. His first Christian name seems to have been Allan, though later the spelling ‘Alan’ seems to have been widely used. He was only 19 when he set sail for Sydney and he eventually arrived in Western Australia early in 1913. In August 1915 he enlisted with the Australian Imperial Forces and saw service in Egypt and France. However, the experience caused him to have a nervous breakdown and by early 1917 he was back in Australia. He moved to Sydney in June 1918.
The court case mentioned the club’s committee meetings of 26th March and 10th May 1955. At the first of these meetings concern was expressed that Mr Nield had quoted a London address, but was attending the club on a daily basis. He was paying ten shillings subscription as a country member instead of the usual amount of thirty shillings for full membership. He had already paid ten shillings for his current subscription, which took him up to the end of August, but the club felt that he should pay the extra twenty shillings as a matter of urgency. It is clear that this annoyed Mr Nield and that he replied in a manner which the committee found insulting. Unfortunately we do not seem to possess any of the correspondence, but the committee clearly felt that it could not tolerate this and at the meeting of 10th May decided to give Mr Nield seven days to apologise or be expelled from the club.
After this letters from Mr Nield’s solicitors were discussed at committee meetings on 18th June and 16th September 1955, but the club maintained its firm stance. At a meeting of 11th November 1955 the subject was raised as to whether to ban Mr Nield from the Christmas Congress. However, it transpired that Major E H Flear and the president, Percy Morren, had already accepted his entrance fee.
Not long before the Congress was due to start the club received a letter from Mr Nield’s solicitors saying that proceedings against the club were being commenced. The committee was forced to seek legal advice and this cast doubt on the club’s decision to exclude Mr Nield. The case had been weakened by the fact that he had already paid his ten shillings subscription as a country member. However, despite this advice from the local solicitors the club decided that there would be no going back.
After this nothing further was heard about the Nield case for some time and the committee probably breathed a sigh of relief. However, at a committee meeting of 30th May 1957 it was reported that a summons had been issued by Mr Nield’s solicitors and a decision was taken by the club to defend the action.
In my earlier article I expressed the view that the club did not suffer too much from the court case. However, that viewpoint was clearly wrong. After the case was lost, a committee meeting was held on 15th July 1957 and an opinion was expressed that the legal expenses should be passed on to the members. However, the club’s solicitors felt that this was unwise. Messrs Morren, Angel and Kennett had been specifically named in the action against the club and the solicitors’ view was that the assent of every member of the club would be required to pass the costs of the action on to the members.
The county court costs came to £151.15s 3d. and as a result the president of the club ordered a cheque to be drawn on his own account – the amount that Messrs Kennett and Angel would have to pay would be decided later. It was felt that the extra cost of employing solicitors and Defence counsel should be passed on to the club. A general meeting of the club was held on 14th August 1957, which approved an increase in subscriptions with only one person disagreeing. At a committee meeting on the same day Major Flear proposed that an appeal should be made to all club members to meet the expenses of the court action. Altogether the total costs came to £360 16s 2d and Major Flear’s fund raised £209 7s 2d. However, what is not so clear is whether all the costs were paid by the club. At a committee meeting of 26th November 1957 Frank Rhoden proposed that £150 should be withdrawn from club money in the Hastings and East Sussex Building Society. This may have been to recover the money previously offered by the club president.
By the time of the next AGM of the club held on 25th October 1958 the secretary was able to announce that the club finances now had a healthy appearance. It is hardly surprising that Nield resigned from the club after the court action as it is doubtful that anyone would have been willing to give him a game. He continued to play in congresses until at least 1967. Unfortunately the ancestry.co.uk website does not give a date for his death, which suggests that he may by that time have left England.