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Brief histories of the "RotaryLandMark" Clubs

Rotary Club of York #1000

Rotary International District 1040

The preliminary meeting of the Club took place at the Mansion House (home of the Lord Mayor of York) on the 12th January 1921. The Inaugural Meeting was held on the 4th February 1921 and York became the 36th Club in the British Association of Rotary Clubs (now Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, RIBI ) and the 1000th Club in Rotary International, RI.

The preliminary meeting was chaired by The Lord Mayor,

 

Alderman Edward Walker and attended by 13 guests and Rotarian officers from District. York fell into District 1 (England North), which covered the whole of the North of England  and included only 9 clubs in 1921. The decision was taken to form a Rotary Club and the Lord Mayor was elected President. An interim committee was established to take the project forward and take the membership to 25. They were successful and the Inaugural Meeting went ahead with 25 founder members representing the professional and business leaders of the day.

Our founders developed a committee structure, which bears a similarity to our present format - membership, proceedings (speakers), fraternal and social (fellowship), civil (community service), and  education (foundation). At first they met fortnightly at the Royal Station Hotel on a Friday. Today's club still meets on a Friday, but weekly and at a different venue. The annual subscription in 1921 was two guineas ( 2.10) and the cost of lunch three shillings (15p).

 

Early records are sparse but it appears their community activities were mainly directed to children and assisting ex-servicemen. A benevolent box was passed around at each meeting and donations made to worthy causes. Membership reached 100 by the thirties and has hovered around that mark ever since (2002 = 89). The community involvement became more diverse and the social activities widened. Tom Shouksmith, a keen golfer, organised a number of annual visits to golf clubs throughout Yorkshire and following his Presidential year in 1933/4 presented a trophy to be played for annually on these visits. The same format was followed until the late seventies, when it was changed to a knockout competition, which now attracts around thirty entrants every year.

The war years saw many members involved in active service, but meetings continued with a variable attendance and community service was concentrated on refugees and evacuees with help sent to serving servicemen. Following the war the Attendance rule was tightened and some members resigned, but nevertheless membership moved up to perhaps its highest figure of 138.

Later Developments

The club were involved in "mothering" a further club in  Malton and Norton in 1946. Previously the club had assisted with the formation of the Thirsk club in 1934. These activities were to be followed by the formation of York and Ainsty in 1960 and York Vikings in 1979.

 

International links have been established with the Rotary Clubs of Gorinchem in Holland and Erlangen in Germany with reciprocal visits being made on a regular basis.

The Club's involvement in community service has benefited numerous local organisations and worthy causes over the decades since it was formed in 1921. The club is now committed to a major venture in York in 2003 to raise funds for our local hospice, St Leonards. Our predecessors would, we are sure, have approved the cause but the means - a Dragonboat Race might have raised doubts.

 

As the Rotary movement looks forward to celebrating its centenary in 2005, it is interesting to speculate how our 25 founder members would view the club's achievements over the eighty plus years since our formation. The fact that the club has produced sixteen Lord Mayors, seventeen Sheriffs of the City, three Archbishops, a Foreign Secretary and numerous holders of various honours would give them quiet satisfaction. However the chronicle of the club's history and activities over those years carefully compiled in two volumes by past president Cy Read is a part of the history of York, its business, its professions, and its involvement in the life of the City through the twentieth century and into the twenty first. We hope our forefathers approve, we think they should.

 

A monthly newsletter, the Rotagraph, launched in 1951 would also have had their approval but a club web site in 2002, that's another question? 

 
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