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60 Seconds with Richard Hemingway

60 Seconds with Richard Hemingway

Could you fill me in a little on your career background?

I qualified as a solicitor in 1970 and in 1971 was offered a place at a family firm in Guildford.  My employment led to my membership of The County Club where the senior partner had a total commitment to the Club. I’ve been in Guildford since 1971 and have no intention of moving.

Both my business partner and I retired in 2008 when our firm, which had been in existence since 1815, amalgamated to join a second larger firm. Throughout my professional life I treasured my relationship with our clients the most.

Have you always lived in Guildford?

We moved to our house in Guildford in 1977 – I’m afraid I’m a bit of a dinosaur!  I made a very firm decision back in 1971 not to work in London, although I could have done and I was in line to get a promotion in the firm that I had trained with, but I thought that I would rather be working close to home and close to my family. 

What do you like the most about Guildford and the surrounding area?

First and foremost it is the culture: concerts, the cathedral, ease of travel into London and around the rest of the country. The strong friendships I’ve made here have kept me anchored.

Outside of your involvement with The County Club, what do you enjoy getting up to?  Kevin mentioned that you’re a keen Beagle runner!

Starting in September and right through to the middle of March I exercise twice a week with the Beagles and sometimes up to five hours a day – it keeps the legs moving. Of course, these days everything is very carefully monitored and is in keeping with legislation and wildlife conservation and so we follow trails or hunt rabbits. 

How did you get involved with The County Club, how long have you been involved?

I was 27 years old when I first joined the Club and have been a member ever since.  I joined the Committee in 1988, was the Honorary Secretary from 1988 to 2000 and was made President in 2017.

What changes have you seen over the course of your membership?

During my period as Secretary, women were admitted as full Club members. Previously to this, women were members with restrictions; they couldn’t vote and they were not permitted to go into some areas of the Club.

Originally the whole of the second floor of the Club was the steward’s accommodation, but when we were coming up with plans for expansion it made sense to convert the upstairs into business meeting rooms.

The side of the Doric room on the church side used to be the snooker room.  When I joined the Club, at least four senior members would play a game every day called Slosh. Slosh was a form of Snooker which was only known to the people who played it. Woe betide any unsuspecting member who sneaked in before they arrived!  There was once a team of local barristers who were appearing in the local court. They thought it would be nice to have a game but they hadn’t realised the seriousness of the arrangement from the regular Slosh players! They were not so much invited to leave as told they must go immediately!

As the President, what sort of things do you do?

I take an interest in all Club events but do not expect to be involved in active Board management 

What is your favourite part of the County Club?

The Club has always been a little oasis of peace. The history of the club is also very special – it has been going since 1882 and is actually three buildings knocked into one. It was done in a very harmonious way and my favourite part is the staircase and the Soane architecture leading to the bar annexe. 

Richard Hemingway, County Club President



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