History

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The Club has a long history, inextricably linked to that of the large papermaking site at Aylesford, on the banks of the Medway near Maidstone.


Circa 1900, a paper industry engineer named Albert Reed, bought Bridge Mill in Tovil, Maidstone from BOCM, and established it as a paper mill.  Another mill was then established nearby and Albert E. Reed and Company was on its way to being a multinational conglomerate. Just after World War I, land was acquired on the banks of the Medway at Aylesford, and Aylesford Paper Mills established. Over the years the business and the site grew to become one of the largest papermaking plants in Europe, and Albert E. Reed and Company blossomed into Reed International - one of Britain’s largest and most successful public companies through the 1960s and '70s.


From its inception, the management of Aylesford Paper Mills were keen to foster sporting and social societies among the employees. An active sports and social club was promoted, with all sporting activities being very heavily subsidised. Clubs were only open to employees of Reeds or their families and superb facilities were provided for all types of sport, including small-bore rifle shooting. It is believed that Aylesford Paper Mills Rifle Club was formed in 1917 (the precise date is not known, as the original records were lost due to enemy action during World War II).


In 1950, Reeds Clay Pigeon Shooting Club was formed and had exclusive use of some 300 acres of wood and marshland on the north bank of the Medway, where Reed established its Island Site operations.


During the 1970s the Reed Empire began to crumble and the Company’s patronage of its own Sports and Social Club began to fall-off sharply. Site companies waned or closed, and club memberships declined to such a level that non-employees were allowed to join the various clubs - the rifle and clay pigeon shooting clubs were no exception and relied heavily on ‘outside’ members to survive.


By the late 1980s it was clear that Reed International was intent on withdrawing from the entire Aylesford site; this threatened the very existence of the various sports clubs and societies, and in consequence the rifle and clay pigeon shooting clubs merged to form the basis of the present-day club.


Eventually, Reed International sold the complete site to a variety of new owners, and Reed is now a shadow of its former self, owned by foreign principals.


Reeds Target Shooting Club was evicted from its indoor small-bore rifle range in Aylesford more than 15 years ago, and is now renting range space from several other local clubs. We were evicted from the clay shooting ground in 2002 and are currently in the process of searching for a new piece of land upon which to develop our own facilities. Our clay shoots are currently being held at various local shooting grounds.


Over a decade ago, the Club started full-bore rifle shooting, primarily at Bisley ranges in Surrey. We also shoot pistol-calibre rifles (usually lever action rifles such as Winchesters or Marlins) and muzzle-loading pistols, as well as having access to a dedicated 10-metre airgun range. 


Nowadays, the Club is as popular as ever; we have over 80 members and are very busy with both shooting and our social events. However, there always room for more, and the Club is very keen to attract new members.


We want to grow all of our activities, and at the same time encourage new members, particularly first-time shooters, into the Club. Junior members are very welcome as are veterans - age or fitness is no bar to taking up shooting, which is one of the few sports where the disabled can compete on equal terms with the able-bodied.

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