The original founders are shrouded in the mists of time but we do know that in 1904 a suitable building was donated for our purpose by Henry Manley and was well used for small bore rifle shooting. This had been encouraged by Lord Roberts who foresaw the need for better marksmanship as a result of his experience of the performance of our troops in the Boer wars: where the opposition were well used to using centre-fire rifles with devastating accuracy against distant and often moving targets.
This was one the main reasons behind the formation of the “Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs”, which, using the relatively inexpensive .22” rimfire cartridge and its rifles, gave shooting skills and marksmanship a massive boost, more importantly within the reach, at the time, of the “working classes.”
Our original base was in the old gas works on Victoria Avenue. Thereafter, a number of moves saw us in Pring’s Wireworks, Derby Street, until shooting was suspended for the Great War. In 1944 the Club’s name was changed to today’s format and registered as such with the National Small-bore Rifle Association (NSRA). In 1946, the Club moved to a new range at The Drill Hall in Myrtle Street; thence on to Castle Buildings, Heath Street and, penultimately, into Crewe Baths, before finding our existing home range. The premises had been a single storey prefabricated concrete panel primary school building, covered by a Canadian redwood T&G roof on a frame of trusses, with later air-raid type outbuildings. It is believed that these may be the last remaining bomb shelters in Crewe. The property was obtained at very short notice after being seen by Alan Tew and we were competing against others who wanted the building. Fortunately, after negotiations, we obtained the lease. The school buildings had to be gutted, the layout designed and stop butts, bullet catchers, firing positions, literally everything, fabricated All this was done by volunteer labour from the membership at the time, on a shoestring budget.
Some photographic records where thankfully made, which show the extent of works and even several youthful members beavering away who are still at it in the 21st century (i.e. Alan Tew and Harry Hulme). Whilst the original layout remains, the Club has kept up with the times and regulations, and intends staying at the forefront. Over the years superb team efforts have been put in by our members to improve the backstops, lighting and ceilings in the ranges. The Air Range was further improved during 2012 and the Main range was brought up to current Defence Estates (formerly MOD) standards and recertified by the NSRA in 2013. Following which the Clubroom too was renovated, having given 30 years of service with little change. Members of the Crewe Club also use other venues such as Aldersley, Altcar, Baldwin’s Gate, Prees and, of course, the Mecca of shooting: the Lord Roberts Centre and other ranges at Bisley Camp, Brookwood, Surrey.
If you require information regarding other venues don’t be afraid to ask as there will usually be someone available to offer help and advice.