With the Club’s future looking very sound, the disastrous fire on 13 th October 1938 completely overshadowed all other events that year. The Clubhouse was razed to the ground after fire broke out at 10 pm causing the loss of some thousands of pounds. The burning wooden structure could be seen from all over East Kent and hundreds of motorists from the district were quickly attracted to the scene. Despite the best efforts of the Fire Brigade, all the equipment and contents of the Club were lost, including hundreds of members’ clubs and kit.
Only a few important documents survived. Fortunately the staff and members had left the building some considerable time before the outbreak was discovered. Two brick chimneys, standing out in silhouette, were the sole remnants of the building to resist the fire. Temporary accommodation was soon provided for the play-off later that week for the Pilgrims’ Cup, but other competitions were cancelled. Immediately, plans were made to rebuild the clubhouse.
At the 1939 AGM the Secretary was able to produce accounts which were “pleasant reading” in the words of the retiring President, Dr C.E. Murphy. Despite the fire, the Club had made a sizeable profit. Mr E. Hebden Phillips was elected Captain, a post he was to hold until 1945.