The layout of the old building was quite different and much larger than in use today. The Ground floor had two entrances. The main central double doors with the glass motto
As Dogged As Does It was only used at functions. As you went through the doors there was a little magazine room on the right with a small window used as a ticket office for Gang Shows. On the left there was the workshop used by the 'Works Panel'. The side entrance was our normal entrance for everyday meetings.
Into the main hall which went from front to back a stage was built across the back wall. The old concrete floor of the large ground floor hall was let for television rehearsals outlined in coloured sticky-tape to note the positions of scenery during the daytime. The early science-fiction serial Quatermass and the Pit was rehearsed here. The serial was broadcast live by the BBC in 1953. A later series of Quatermass was filmed, with some scenes at the Club.
Actors could often be seen entering the premises for rehearsals with their scripts in hand trying to remember their lines, as the Hall was let out to various TV productions units & companies. The pub across the road Heroes of Alma did a roaring trade from all that visited the Mansergh.
Weekends in the evening saw the hall full of smoke whilst Whist Drives operated to raise funds for the Group and keep Diehardia united. To the left was the Canteen and areas which led out to the plunge pool area (which contained all our camping kit - empty of course!) and round the back to the outside Gents toilets and stage door.
A mezzanine balcony above the hall at the front contained the library and the Sanctum. The Sanctum was created to honour those that had made the ultimate sacrifice in WW2; services on special occasions were held and it was where all investitures took place. At show times the Sanctum was half closed down so that the balcony could be converted into 6 boxes seating 6 in each. Adjacent to this and looking out of the front facade was the 'Cabin', a leaders room with all Group records, meeting room and Diehard magazine production house.
The ladies loo could be found on the way up to the top floor where there were 4 rooms plus a caretaker flat. The 'Troop Room', a smaller hall, more than adequate for most of Cub and Scout meetings, with patrol boxes in each corner, stave racks, flag pole (the one mounted in the new Mansergh today). The 'Rover Den' and 'Barn' for Senior Scouts and the Cub Lair whose walls were eloquently painted with Jungle Book characters by Old Scout artist Les 'Lollo' Lawrence.
The upstairs hall was often used by Rex Grey and his dance Troop of Girls rehearsing whilst on other days classical ballet classes took place when Scouting activities were not taking place. Happily from the late 1950's the building was also used as a temporary dormitory to put up visiting Scouts coming to London and Gilwell Park from time to time.
Importantly on the Ground Floor there was also a kitchen and canteen that feed many hungry mouths over the years and was often staffed by the good ladies of Diehardia who additionally provided much support in the Costume Department at the time of the Annual Shows.
In the late 1950's or early 1960 BBC broadcaster and Presenter Huw Wheldon filmed and presented the 8th St Marylebone Scouts at work in his then popular magazine programme All your Own. This show cased the youngsters of the Country displaying their talents and discussing their hobbies.
1965 saw the hall filled with bags of milk bottle tops as The Diehards coordinated the BBC Blue Peter aluminium foil appeal.
Read the programme of the last ever event at the Old ManserghClick here to download
Read the complete historical story of 'The Mansergh-Woodhall Club' by Brian PriceClick here to download
Read the Historical Jubilee Appeal booklet from late 1920sClick here to download