Following the end of the Great War, the rich businessman Hector Hoadley was looking to start a new leisure venture close to home in Chelsea, London. His endeavours failed several times and the name Hoadley became somewhat of a laughing stock on the streets of London. He put his plans on hold indefinitely.
On the 19th June, 1923, Hoadley attended the Royal Ascot and crossed paths with two gentlemen who would reignite Hector’s plans, Victor Rowlands and Archibald Beddall. These men had experience of the business world as well as some other skills that would later prove useful. They quickly became Hector’s closest and most trusted companions.
Hoadley, Rowlands and Beddall purchased an abandoned warehouse on Putney Embankment and installed a new form of leisure activity called ‘miniature golf’. Alongside this, they also served food and drink and named the establishment ‘Putt Above the Thames’.
To begin with, no-one wanted to work for Hoadley due to his previous failed projects so they would hire people off the streets and offered them food and shelter in return for work.
On the 7th November, 1924, a bank on Putney High Street was robbed by a band of people wearing hoods. By the time the police arrived, the thieves had escaped with £23,000. The search for the culprits went on for weeks but they were never found.
The day after the robbery, Hoadley found the missing money in the basement of Putt Above The Thames and discovered that his staff had been persuaded to carry out the heist by Victor Rowlands. From this, a new “side-business” venture was born.
The members of the Putt Above gang became known as the Putney Putters and were easily identifiable by their plaid, often orange attire and they would often carry a putter with them around the streets of London. These were often used as weapons during street fights or were hollowed out and used to conceal important documents within the shaft. The Putney Putters reputation quickly grew and they became a real force within the Putney district.
Hoadley and his partners looked to expand their business across the country. First, they opened a new location in Newcastle which they called Putt Above The Tyne. This became their hub for operations in the North of the UK. Later that year, they also opened Putt Above the Severn to become their hub for the Midlands. These locations saw an upturn in crime in the years following the opening of Hoadley’s leisure venues.
On the 19th February 1927, Putt Above saw a co-ordinated effort from police forces across the country when their venues were raided in relation to multiple crimes across numerous counties. Venues were searched from top to bottom and every employee was taken in for questioning but the police were unable to find any evidence of wrongdoing. News of the raids spread like wildfire and suddenly everyone in the UK knew the name ‘Putt Above’.
Since opening, the Putt Above chain has advanced in almost every aspect thanks to the incredible investment from Hector Hoadley. No-one really knows where he gets his fortune from but it has allowed Putt Above to install new, state-of-the-art lanes which almost look as though they’re from 100 years in the future. Come and experience the leisure activity that everyone is talking about!