Waterloo Drums was the brainchild of Reg Sheldrake. During the war years he entertained the troops stationed locally with recorded music above his pharmacy in Appletongate, and in conjunction with a few friends the idea of a club was born. 68 years later the club continues to flourish and the connection with local pharmacies is maintained by Elizabeth Whistler, a retired local pharmacist, who has been chairman for the past 35 years. 

Many celebrated musicians have been associated with Waterloo Drum Music. Benjamin Britten was one of the early presidents and the club’s 50th anniversary was marked by a lecture recital from Sir David Willcocks. Visiting performers have included Isobel Baillie, Heddle Nash, Victoria de los Angeles, Alfred Brendel, Paul Tortelier, the Beaux Arts Trio and the Lindsay String Quartet.

The club (which is also a registered charity) is dedicated to promoting live music in the Newark area. It is one of the largest in the country with an active and growing membership. Its principal focus is to organise six live concerts every year but there is also a programme of regular recorded music evenings together with social events and excursions.

Although the club is primarily concerned with classical music, there is growing interest amongst the membership in encouraging other types of music. New members and new ideas are particularly welcome. The club also actively fosters young local musicians and is increasingly involved with local schools.