In 1963 a group of swimming enthusiasts who were employed by Ilford Films Ltd at the company’s factory in Ilford Essex, became interested in scuba diving. They subsequently expanded the company’s sports club swimming section to encompass the sport and formed BSAC special branch 177. A talented member at that time created the branch’s unique diving duck logo.
Over a 20-year period the branch consolidated its membership and extended its facility when its activities were relocated to the company’s main production factory situated in Brentwood Essex. It was here that the name of SELO was added to the branch’s descriptive title, for the factory was known as the SELO works. Once it was established in Brentwood, the branch was invited to represent scuba diving on the Brentwood Sports Council, a role that perpetuated for many years.
In 1983 when the parent company decided to close all of its Essex based factories, BSAC branch 177 was at threat of closure. However, a group of its members who were being made redundant, negotiated a financial deal with the company’s sports club executive committee, which enabled not only the branch to continue to operate as a ‘special branch’, but also they retained all of its valuable equipment which included a compressor and rigid inflatable diving boat. Importantly the retention of ‘special branch’ status meant that the training pool facility located at Gloucester park pool in Basildon could be continued. This shared facility with the Basildon Town BSAC branch was enjoyed by BSAC 177 branch for over 20 years.
In the year 2000 a forward looking branch committee initiated the relinquishment of the ‘special branch status’, in favour of becoming an ‘open branch’ with all of its facilities based in Brentwood. The title of the branch was changed by adding ‘Brentwood’, however, in respect of the unique history of the branch, it was decided by the membership that ‘SELO’ should be retained along with the diving duck logo.
The success of the move of the branch’s training facility to the Brentwood Centre was reflected in the year 2003 when the branch’s revitalised membership celebrated the 40th year anniversary, a year in which coincidentally the British Sub Aqua Club celebrated its own 50th anniversary.