The Lakeside Leisure Complex is a hotel, conferencing, entertainment and associated leisure complex in Frimley Green in west Surrey. It hosted in January the open/men's and women's BDO World Darts Championship from 1986 to 2019.[1]

History

Bob Potter OBE in 2017
Bob Potter OBE in 2017

The complex was established in 1972, when Bob Potter (born 1928) bought Wharfenden House and the surrounding grounds and lake. He soon doubled the hall to 1,000 seats principally for hosting comedians and musicians, sometimes North American and/or internationally acclaimed. The Lakeside had a fire later that decade and re-opened.

Amid the 25th year hosting the World Darts Championship, in 2010 the lake had largely iced over by 7 January. That day the body of a man, a hotel guest for the competition week, was found.[2] Landowner-managers, Bob Potter Leisure Limited, were fined £85,000 for health and safety violations.[3]

Events

The Lakeside became the venue of the World Darts Championship in 1986,[4][5] The Club sponsored the event from 2004 to 2019. It is set to host the new WDF World Darts Championship from 2022.[6]

The venue has hosted acts such as Tommy Cooper, Morecambe and Wise, Sammy Davis Jr, Frankie Vaughan and Bob Monkhouse.[7][8]

The 'Small Business Bureau Conference', held in 1987, was claimed by the organisers to be the largest business conference in Europe.[9]

Facilities

Grand venue

The largest venue is the Main Cabaret Suite which has a capacity of 1,170 with conference and banqueting facilities.

Others

It is a mixed members' club, hotel and selection of restaurants with snooker, pool, darts, ten-pin bowling, squash, bars, an events nightclub and well-equipped gym. Near the village canal barges can be hired for day trips along the Basingstoke Canal and the Borough and adjoining Wentworth/Sunningdale zone have many golf courses.

Heyday as a club

Darts commentator and personality Sid Waddell looked back on the early darts era when Lakeside was "arguably the best club in Britain":

Tom Jones, Jim Davidson and other stars packed the joint, while Margaret Thatcher herself said it was one of her favourite places for Tory jollies."[10]

Potter and his facilities are believed to have inspired Peter Kay's comedic business saga Phoenix Nights, whose character is named Brian Potter.[11]

References

  1. ^ "Lakeside Set To Host Biggest Ever BDO World Championships". UK Darts Magazine. October 23, 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  2. ^ Darts spectator found dead under ice in Surrey lake bbc.co.uk
  3. ^ Edmondson, Nick (5 Jul 2013). "Company admits safety breaches over frozen lake death". GetSurrey. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Darts". The Glasgow Herald. 4 July 1985. p. 23.
  5. ^ "Bristow left in the dark". The Glasgow Herald. 6 November 1985. p. 22.
  6. ^ "Darts is Coming Home! Lakeside World Championship 2022". DartsWDF. World Darts Federation. 6 June 2021. Retrieved 2021-07-23.
  7. ^ Irwin, Justin (2008). Murder on the Darts Board. Anova. pp. 4–5. ISBN 9781906032043.
  8. ^ Rutter, Jason (September 1997). "Stand-up as interaction: Performance and Audience in Comedy Venues" (PDF). University of Saford, Institute for Social Research, Department of Sociology (PhD thesis). p. 102 (pdf p. 117).
  9. ^ "Mrs Thatcher would always ask after our town". Hull Daily Mail. 31 January 2012. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  10. ^ Waddell, Sid (2009). Bellies and Bullseyes: The Outrageous True Story of Darts. Random House. ISBN 9781407030449.
  11. ^ Keogh, Frank (6 January 2004). "Phoenix flights". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 January 2014.

Coordinates: 51°18′11″N 0°43′17″W / 51.3030447°N 0.7214928°W / 51.3030447; -0.7214928