Sir Richard Hill 2nd baronet of hawkstone ( 1733-1808)took over his fathers estate in 1783 and as part of extending the follies , engaged land scape gardener William Emes to build a vast manmade lake called THE HAWK RIVER. ( also the wind mill )
In the late 1800s till at least 1901 the lake was farmed ( lake is in three sections and each section could be drained ) and produce grown , this would be done by draining a section ploughing, growing food , then flooding that section and draining another, this is why the depth of the lake is similar all the way up.
WEM ANGLING CLUB was formed in 1949 just after the 2nd world war in the Horse & Jockey ( the pack ) pub Wem by Den German, Jack Brown, Tom Porter, Jim Edge, Arthur Bailey, over the years the headquarters moved to the Talbot, The Castle, The Old Post Office, and then to its present HQ The Conservative Club.
In those days they fished Hawk Lake, Three Gate Pit, River Roden from the wem mill up stream to TILLEY and for several years the prees arm of the canal at whixall.
In those days hawk lake contained Pike, Tench, Roach, Rudd, & Perch NO Crucians the crucians were introduced to the lake by anglers fishing for pike and using them as live bait, and not taking them home.
In 1964 wem bought the lake off Mr WADE who owned Hawkstone Park Hotel, a loan was taken out with Barclays Bank, but not for the full amount . The balance was loaned to the club by Mr Wade on condition the club paid his tax interest on repayment.
After a few years Barclays bank for closed the loan and the club moved the loan to Nat West then in 1972 Nat west wanted the loan cleared this is when the club sold 50% of the lake to GKN Sankeys sports and social club.
WEM & SANKEYS formed a trust to run the lake on behalf of both clubs, this is when the associated tickets came in to being, 100 tickets for none members of both clubs.
The trust continues till 1980s when sankeys social club was closing down and they wanted there share back, and WEM bought there share back, and has been in WEMs ownership ever since.
Club member albert Minshall bought the hotel and golf course in the 60s and being a local builder we had the free use of his JCB and pete Edwards the driver, and complete access over the golf course, some of the work done then would be impossible now with todays health and safety, bring back the old days.
In 1968 the lake bank broke on ralphs side just before the start of the fishing season june 16th , a small leak started in the early evening and with frantic efforts to stop it by the ralphs family they stopped at dark and returned at first light the lake was empty with the exception of a few small shallow pools.
The wem members turned up in there wellies and collected as many fish as they could from the fields and put them in to what little water there was, due to disagreement with who was responsible for broken bank , the club formed the causeway at the end of monastery bay were there was a large island and was the narrowest point, the members filled bags with clay and silt the other side was filled in with albert minshall’ JCB the island was made smaller by digging it out and using it to fill on top of the bags as it settled and a pipe was added as a over flow to get our half filled up ( this is why our water level is 6’’ 150mm above ralphs side ) and this has always remained the same since.
Up to the early 70s there were fishing punts on the lake, and the club sold day tickets with local bailiffs tom porter who walked the lake morning and evening seven days a week collecting the money.
Up till the very early 70s the lane from the hotel was just bare rock in places and only a few cars could go down it and we often had to walk to the lake from the hotel and our car park was at the bottom were the lane splits, the hotel did surface the lane when they built the second golf course, the club also did a land swap with the hotel to get a new car park by the wind mill, this is now over grown and unused at present. ( those were the days anglers were anglers and would walk the full length of the lake to catch fish)
In approx 1970 the lake was covered with Canadian pond weed and garden rakes had to be used to clear a swim to fish, but the fishing was great then with the help of the river authority the lake was sprayed and we’ve not seen the pond weed since.
The club had a large support for its matches with a many trophies to give out at the annual dinner / dance presentation nights ( list at end )
At roughly the same time the over grown bottom end was cleared out and opened up to an extra 28 pegs, the work was done by Parrys of shawbury.
The lake was designated a reservoir and came under the RESEVOUIRS ACT 1975 and the club has to comply with this legal requirement, work to keep the club compliant with the law has been an on going thing and will be in to the future.
The lake at the beginning of the 70s did not contain any bream or carp ( except crusians ) this was rectified with the introduction of some 200 small 1 to 2 lb carp, and in the mid 70s bream were added, also at the same time roach and rudd were introduced from trawsfynydd lake.
In 1990s the club built a road way up the length of the lake.
In 2003 the club purchased land and gained planning at tilley wem and constructed three new pools which opened in april 2005, which has become a great asset for older and infirmed club members who would probably have to give up fishing, and a easy place to teach kids.
Trophies juniors 1980/81
DON WOOLAM TROPHIE
SENIOR TROPHIES 1980/81
MAJIOR HARVEY TROPHY
VICE PRESIDENT CHALLENGE TROPHY
PHILLIPA HARVEY TROPHY
DAL HOLLAND CHALLENGE TROPHY
SHREWSBURY AND WEM BREWERY CUP
VIOLET GROCOTT TROPHY
- MORRIS TROPHY
GKN SANKEYS TRUSTESS TROPHY
RIVER TEME CHAMPIONSHIP CUP
Details are correct as best we know march 2017