This photograph of Clare House in East Street was taken by Charles Wardell in 1965.

Since then, there have been sympathetic extensions to either side, with the brickwork access to the first floor removed, together with the outbuilding to the southern end.

After World War II, it became the Andover Central Working Men’s Club, but is now the simplified Central Club.

Made with Flourish

The building itself is thought to be 18th century and was given Grade II listed status in 1983, but nothing of its early history seems to be recorded.

No doubt it was built as a private house for a local worthy, though its position in what was then ‘Back Lane’ - the access road to the rear of the High Street shops and inns - suggests that it was for a local man of business rather than a gentleman who would surely have chosen a less urban setting.

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In the 1840s it was occupied by James Baker, described as a land proprietor on his census return of 1851, who had moved to Clare House from Winton Place, which still stands today near the bottom of Winchester Road.

By 1868, it was a school for young ladies, run by Mrs Sophia Howard Powning who claimed her establishment offered the "comforts of a well-appointed home, with the discipline of a superior school".

It accommodated about 12 girls, between the ages of 10 and 14 and there was one resident teacher of music and another specialising in French and German.

The school was still in existence in 1875 but closed soon after.

The Pownings moved to Salisbury and whereas Mrs Powning’s husband had worked as an articled clerk in a local solicitor’s office while in Andover, he eventually became the town clerk of Salisbury.

In 1876, it was briefly where the then proprietor of the Andover Advertiser, John Burgiss-Brown, lived but he sold the paper in that year and went elsewhere.

The next occupant lived there for the rest of his life.

This was George Young who was a second-generation grocer with premises at 77 High Street.

Marriage to Lucy Sisley in 1854 produced eight children over the following 15 years.

From living over the High Street shop, he and his family moved to Clare House around 1877. 

As the children grew up, most scattered. One daughter Margaret became headmistress of a school, while Lucy remained at home until the age of 43, when in 1903 she married 74-year-old widower Revd Joseph Hasler who lived in the same street at No 28 and was the minister for the Baptist church. He lived another 20 years.

George Young died in 1912, and by 1918 the house was up for sale at £675.

It was proposed that it become the premises of the Andover Nursing Association for public health purposes but maybe that never happened as by 1927 it was occupied by Alfred Henry Elmes who built a motor garage next door, as well as Clare Hall which was later extended and became the Fiesta Hall.

During World War II, surrounded by layers of sandbags and the windows protected with tape, Clare House became the centre for the ARP service under controller Lt-Col F L Congreve DSP, MC from Abbotts Ann.

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Soon after the war ended, Clare House became a members’ club.

Despite that end of East Street being relegated to a cul-de-sac during the town development period, extensions and improvements since then have helped to ensure its success.

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