Founded 23rd September 1912
No. 6 (Founder Club)
Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland
'Rotary Club' was founded by an American lawyer Paul P.
Harris, in Chicago in February 1905. A newcomer to Chicago he wanted two things
very badly - more friends and more business, and he hit on an idea which gave
him both. He formed a small circle of similarly minded men, but took care to
ensure that they all had different businesses so that there was no conflict of
interest. This was the origin of the classification system. They met over the
lunch hour one day a week rotating around each others offices, but soon the
circle became too large for office meetings and regular lunches were
substituted, but retaining the name 'Rotary Club'.
How do we know all this? Well, the foregoing account was
given to us by Paul Harris himself on one of his visits to our club, for he had
a special interest in Edinburgh as his wife whom he called 'Scotch Lassie Jean'
was born and brought up here.
The San Francisco Club followed the Chicago
one and a member of that club, Stuart Morrow, returned to Ireland and founded
clubs in Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Birmingham. The
Rotary Club of Edinburgh first met on the 23rd of September 1912.
was our first secretary, and his successor was to have a profound effect on the
Thomas Stephenson, known as Doctor Tom, took stock of
Rotary and considered that the commercial advantages offered by being a Rotarian
were not only a poor objective in themselves, but could well alienate new
Rotarians. He, along with other office bearers in the club, took every
opportunity to stress this to other clubs and he was instrumental in evolving
the idea of 'service not self'. Soon, the commercial aspect of fellowship was
abolished and replaced with the philosophy of service to the community. Dr Tom
was also responsible for starting our Club bulletin in 1914 and the predecessor
to the Rotary magazine in 1915.
Since then, Edinburgh has played an
important part in Rotary in the UK, setting up in 1913 the British Association
of Rotary Clubs and administering this until 1920. In 1921 the Edinburgh Club
World Convention of Rotarians which included 1100 Americans.
Edinburgh Club is among the biggest in Britain with over 150 members broadly
from business, the professions, civil service, the clergy and the police.
The visits of
Paul Harris and Jean Thomson Harris to
RC of Edinburgh
Please see Rotarian Lucas' photos among the displays in our
More History of Edinburgh
Clubs of RIBI (Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland)
RIBI Club Organized RI Charter Date RI Club # RIBI #
Dublin 22 February 1911
1 May 1913 65 1
London 3 August 1911 1 August 1912 50 2
Belfast 24 July
1911 1 May 1913 67 3
Manchester 1 August 1911 1 May 1913 66 4
March 1912 1 April 1913 60 5
Edinburgh 23 September 1912 1 May 1913 62 6
Liverpool 1 August 1913 1 August 1913 80 7
Edinburgh is celebrating the 90th Anniversary on
the 23rd September 2002 and, in addition to a
Formal Dinner and Church Service, a special
Presentation Envelope is being prepared.
A production of 500 Covers, showing views of
Edinburgh Castle, and bearing a full set of the
Queen's Jubilee Stamps (franked for the 23rd
September) will be available at £10 (including
postage & packing) for Overseas collectors. A
small number will be signed by our Honorary
member, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and will be
available at £25 (including postage & packing).
All enquiries to Derek Pape, 15 Kirk Park,
Edinburgh EH16 6HZ. Cheques to The Rotary Club
Please click on image to enlarge the view
Also see the History of Rotary on Stamps
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