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Histories of Clubs of RI Presidents

Rotary Club of Battersea, London, England

Rotary International District 1130

Inaugural meeting February 15, 1926

Charter date April 7, 1926

RI 2320


Home of RI President

William C. Carter, 1973-1974 Convention site


President's home page

The Battersea Club was formed in 1926 by the RC of Clapham. The first luncheon meeting to agree on the formation of a new club was held on February 15 in the Banqueting Suite of the famous department store of Arding and Hobbs, with Arthur Chadwick, the District 13 Chairman presiding. Chadwick from the London RC was later to become President of RIBI and a Director of RI. At the second meeting, the meeting day was agreed to be a Friday and the club has met every Friday since then. It was also agreed that the Entrance fee should be 2 guineas (£2.10) and the Annual Subscription a similar amount. In early March the official Inaugural Meeting was held with Chadwick again presiding.

There were 18 founder members and over a hundred Rotarians from at least 9 other clubs came to support. The first President of the interim club was Herbert Arding. In fact, the Battersea Club continued to meet at his store until 1968 although it now meets in the Officers Mess of the T.A.Centre at Clapham Junction.

One custom which still survives from those early days, is drinking a toast to a member at the meeting nearest to their birthday. In response the member acknowledges the courtesy by contributing one penny for every year of their age to the Charitable Fund. Nowadays one pound is more normal than one penny!

The presentation of the Charter to Battersea and 5 other clubs was held at the Hotel Cecil on Thursday, June17, 1926 before a gathering so large that it spread into an overflow room. Over the next few years, numbers grew steadily, peaking at 64 in 1953. This enabled the club to participate in all the normal activities of a Rotary club, ranging from 'prison visiting' to supplying radio sets to the bedridden.

A considerable amount of social work was done in the area of a Battersea, generally agreed to be a 'poor area'. Perhaps it was this which suggested to the Rev Chad Varah (QV) a member at this time, the idea of creating the Samaritans, a voluntary organisation aiding those tempted to suicide or despair which was established in the UK in 1953.

In 1949, Bill Carter, a lawyer from the firm of George H. Gibson, joined the Battersea Club. Carter progressed to the club Presidency in 1954/5, to be the Vice Chair (South) in 1958/60, District Governor, 1960/2, RIBI President 1963/4 and finally to be President of RI 1973/4. In 1999, he completed 50 years membership of the Battersea Rotary Club.

Compiled with the assistance of PDG Stanley Hatton of the Battersea Club.

Basil Lewis Rotary Global History 18 July 2003

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