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Brief histories of Rotary's First 100 Clubs

Rotary Club of Belfast 67

RI District 1160


 


President Trevor Hinds and Judy with RI President Richard King

Full 90th Anniv. story

Trevor Hinds ...President

"Welcome to the Rotary Club of Belfast  If you are a Rotarian visiting Belfast, then we would be delighted to meet you at one of our club meetings."

Luncheon Meetings: MONDAY 12.45pm
EUROPA HOTEL, Great Victoria Street, Belfast BT2 7AP
Tel: +44 (0)28 9032 6500

Origins

Paul P. Harris ... Founder of RotaryRotary began in 1905 in Chicago through the efforts of Paul Harris.  In 1910 the 16 Clubs which existed in the USA formed a National Association of Rotary Clubs.  This led to a rapid expansion in numbers, and in 1911 there were 35 Clubs before Rotary made its first appearance in Europe.

The Rotary organization in America had no active part in the establishment of the Clubs in Ireland and the news of the formation of the Belfast Club was of intense interest to American Rotarians.

The person credited with the formation of the Rotary Club of Belfast was Stuart Morrow. Born in Dublin in 1855, Stuart was a law graduate and a gold medalist from Trinity College, Dublin. He subsequently enrolled as a student in the Middle Temple, London, but failing eyesight prevented him from pursuing a career at the bar. He returned to Dublin and engaged himself in the commercial and civic life of that city, becoming then, the youngest man to be commissioned as a Justice of the Peace.

Towards the end of 1885, Stuart Morrow emigrated to California, making his home and becoming involved in a business in San Francisco. In 1909, a few months after the formation of the Rotary Club of San Francisco, Stuart joined that Club under the classification "Collecting Agency".

Stuart Morrow returned to Ireland in 1911. He arrived in Belfast on 13th July 1911 and quickly set about making contact with potential members for the new Club, which he hoped to start in Belfast. As the self-appointed organizing secretary, he convened a meeting of interested gentlemen in the Royal Avenue Hotel, Belfast, on Monday 24th July at 1.15pm. At a subsequent meeting, on Monday 14th August 1911, which was attended by 16 men, Will Wallace was elected the first President of the Rotary Club of Belfast. The Club, which was to cover a radius of 40 miles from the City of Belfast, was declared in the first roster of members to be "a business organization conducted on business lines for business purposes".

At that time, Belfast was a thriving industrial city of 400,000 inhabitants. It was the principal port, serving the predominantly agricultural community, and was intensely proud of its world renowned linen industry, the world's largest rope works, together with the largest tobacco factory. Understandably, Belfast was also proud of its Portland stone City Hall, its excellent hospitals and its famous Queen's University.

Here was the fertile soil for the seeds of Rotary to grow, and Stuart Morrow quickly secured 132 members to join the new Club. In the year 1911, in which Belfast and Dublin were formed, so too were the London and Manchester Clubs and together the four Clubs collectively maintain an informal association of 1911 Clubs.

In the early years it was custom for members to bring their ladies to a monthly meeting. About a year after the Club was formed, it discussed the advisability of electing ladies to membership or allowing them to attend weekly luncheons, the records indicate it was undesirable to elect ladies to membership or have them at weekly luncheons. It was not for another 80 years in 1992 that the first ladies were elected to membership of the Club.

Read about Rotary's Founder's visit to Belfast. Click here

VOTED BEST DISTRICT 1160 WEB SITE 1998-99
The Rotary Club of Belfast

 

Northern Ireland
Ireland District 1160  
Chartered 24 July 1911

 

Belfast City Hall


Belfast Celebrates 90th Anniversary (click here)

 

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
Glasgow  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
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