Years of Discretion
A RECORD OF TWENTY-ONE YEARS
OF ACTIVITY OF THE
ROTARY CLUB OF ST.PANCRAS
THE ROTARY CLUB OF ST. PANCRAS
BIRTHDAY MESSAGE Paul Harris
THE SOIL Frederick Sinclair
THE SEED Stanley Leverton, J.P.
THE HUSBANDMEN Their Contemporaries
THE HELPMATES Mrs. Herbert Briers
THE PRODUCE John Heal, J.P., Arthur Pilgrim & Gordon Barry, B.Sc.
WORLDLY POSSESSIONS Tom Hawes
THE PROSPECT Charles Stonebridge
The Tailpiece appeared in the Bulletin for the Club's 700th luncheon which occurred in 1937, and was contributed by John Heal
Inaugural Luncheon .. .. March,
Birthday .. .. .. March, 1925
So the Rotary Club of St. Pancras is coming of age. I am sure that I would never have thought it. Such events creep up to us so softly that they take us by surprise. Ten years would have seemed more like it. Well, we are all advancing in years, more rapidly in years than in wisdom. And yet, we shall not permit ourselves to become pessimistic; appreciable advances have been made even in international understanding.
It's a far cry from the days of Grotius, the Dutch peacemaker, to the day of Versailles and still further to the present day. The mills of the gods grind slowly but they grind exceeding small. We are slowly approaching realization of the fact that reason is more dependable than passion and peace sweeter than vengeance.
Britain knows much which my countrymen do not know of the suffering of war ; and the stoicism of the British people has evoked the admiration of friend and foe, but neither Britain nor America has suffered greatly from the pangs of hunger nor realised the agony of defeat. Win or lose, war is a tragical misfortune and must be banned as a means of preserving peace.
The acceptance of Rotary by representatives of nearly all of the civilized countries has raised the question as to the reason. How has it been possible to advance the cause of Rotary to countries of so many different ideologies ? The question is readily answered. The reason is that Rotary is truly democratic in spirit ; it doesn't attempt to redress all of the grievances in the world nor does it disturb the religious or political convictions of its members ; it hews close to its boundary line. After years of experience Rotarians have demonstrated the fact that the promotion of international understanding and good will affords a platform on which all good men can stand, and it has been left to you and to me to determine how we shall serve our mutual cause. Your way may be the precise opposite of mine.
Our limitation is not always a disadvantage. If you serve your way faithfully and I serve mine with equal devotion, we shall respect each other and in the course of time we may discover that we are not so far apart in our thinking as we thought we were. We must remain tolerant and patient.
At present, we of the allied countries find ourselves in confusion. Principles sacred to one country are anathema to others. Can countries which are working together in a common cause remain friendly and co-operative after that cause has been won ? They can if they will be tolerant and patient.
Differences in forms of government need not be a stumbling-block in the way of progress. Let us think of each country as a laboratory for social experimentation. If we can view the matter dispassionately much good will come of it.
Rotary sees clearly some things which others see dimly or perhaps not at all. Forty years of experience has taught us that it matters not how many points there are on which we disagree, if we can agree in one important matter, that is enough.
If the nations of the world will take a chapter from the Rotary book and center their thoughts and efforts on the one transcendent ideal of international understanding and good will, differences in forms of government will not matter. There is before us an opportunity of advancing civilization far above the high water mark of the past. From the very worst we may fashion the very best if we will it that way.
T H E S O I L
" The life of the husbandman.—a life fed by the bounty of the earth and sweetened by the airs of heaven."
GOOD soil is a prime requisite for the husbandman—so perhaps it is not inappropriate to introduce this modest story of the work of Rotary " husbandmen " in Saint Pancras by some reference to the long and honourable records of those who have, in the past, found our local soil both rich and arable. Farmers often speak of the importance of " keeping the land in good heart " by maintaining it in a productive state. From the days when our own district was actually farming land, down to our own times, the soil of Saint Pancras has been kept " in good heart " by the cultivation and harvesting of a long line of industrious and unselfish men and women.
Sixteen hundred years ago, during the great persecution of Christians under the Roman dictator Diocletian, a Phrygian lad named Pancratius (shortened through the centuries to Pancras) was martyred in ancient Rome for the faith of Christ crucified. The boy martyr became a favourite saint of Augustine, who first Christianised the soil of England. He has been called the " Truthful Spirit " *and has been known as a patron saint of children— fit guardian of that rich soil which has produced such a worthy harvest and which we hope to cultivate further with a view to an even greater " yield " in future.
In the early centuries of the Christian era, and, in fact, until comparatively recent times, the life and worship of the little farming community of Saint Pancras centred round the old church in Pancras Road. With the passing of the years and the gradual change from country to town, a chapel-of-ease was erected in Kentish Town and, in 1822, the old church was superseded by the present parish church of Saint Pancras in Euston Road.
The Free Churches have shared in the spiritual life and welfare of Saint Pancras. The famous preacher, George Whitefield, won fame on the rising tide of religion in the mid-years of the eighteenth century. His eloquence drew enormous crowds and he often preached in the open air at Gospel Oak. The original " Tabernacle " in Tottenham Court Road, built for Whitefield in 1756, accommodated five thousand people and, on the preacher's death in 1770, John Wesley delivered the funeral oration there. Whitefield's reforming zeal found expression in many charitable works and his power for good was felt as far away as America, to which country he journeyed seven times.
Our fellow Rotarians in the United States will no doubt appreciate the many ties that bind our two great countries together. Friends' House in Euston Road—the headquarters of the Quakers in England—is, in a very real sense, a link with the U.S.A.—for, from the days of William Penn, founder of the State of Pennsylvania, to our own times, the Quakers have been held in high esteem for the steadfastness of their religious and social code.
All" through the ages, our area of Saint Pancras has produced sterling examples of selfless devotion. It is, perhaps, fitting that when the ever-increasing population in the southern part of our Borough made inroads into the countryside, one of our earliest institutions should have been a foundling hospital, established in Guilford Street in 1741 by a kindly old sea-captain named Thomas Coram. He was one of General Oglethorpe's associates in colonising the state of Georgia. This example of practical charity was soon to be followed by others : almshouses, as well as orphanages, sprang up in our parish, and the welfare of the aged assumed an importance parallel to that of the young. By the middle of the nineteenth century there were in existence at least four institutions for aged folk.
During the French Revolution our growing parish community became a place of sanctuary for the persecuted and oppressed. Many poor refugees settled in " New Somers Town." To minister to their spiritual needs the Abbe Carron founded (1808) the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Aloysius in Clarendon Square. Among those who found refuge in our midst was the eminent French statesman and writer Rene de Chateaubriand, who resided in Hampstead Road. Nearby lived another refugee from France—the South American patriot, General Francisco de Miranda, who had set up his headquarters at No. 58, Grafton Way. Here, with the illustrious Simon Bolivar, he schemed for the liberation of his native land. World War No. 1 saw the establishment of a Czech colony in London with headquarters at No. 26, Gloucester Avenue, N.W.I ; in this house, on October 24th, 1915, a reception was held in honour of President Masaryk.
It is not surprising that some of the greatest political thinkers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries found a congenial environment in such an atmosphere of freedom. In 1797, William Godwin, living in Somers Town, " stirred the philosophic minds of England," through his provocative " Political Justice." His wife, Mary Wollstonecraft, is remembered as one of the pioneers working for the emancipation of women ; she died in giving birth to the future wife of the poet Shelley, who himself resided in Saint Pancras. The young Mary Godwin and her lover plighted their troth on the hallowed ground beside the grave of Mary's mother in the Old Churchyard in Pancras Road.
Another eighteenth century reformer, Major John Cartwright, living in Burton Place (now Cartwright Gardens), pleaded for universal suffrage and prepared the way for the women's suffrage movement of later years. He had resigned from the Navy, rather than fight against the American colonists.
Robert Owen (whose social philosophy concerning the effect of environment on character formed the basis of reforms in factory legislation) opened in 1832, in the neighbourhood of King's Cross, the first " Equitable Labour Exchange." He promoted communities for the welfare of the poor—notably in Lanarkshire and in Indiana, U.S.A. The " father " of the co-operative movement, George Jacob Holyoake, who was living in Woburn Walk in 1896, joined, in his younger days, one of Robert Owen's communities and was concerned with the Chartist Movement for a wider franchise than was allowed for by the Reform Bill of 1832. He is buried at Highgate.
Of particular interest at the present time is the fact that Karl Marx worked at his social and economic theories during his residence in Saint Pancras for 27 years until his death in 1893. Friedrich Engels, co-worker with Marx, also lived and died in our area : he supported the work of Robert Owen and the Chartists. It is noteworthy, too, that among others, Lenin (founder of the Soviet regime), and Prince Peter Kropotkin, author of " Mutual Aid," had contacts in our district. Our own Edward Carpenter, democrat and idealist, found inspiration in the quietness of St. Pancras Gardens.
Among the most powerful of nineteenth century influences for social reform was the novelist Charles Dickens. All his life he was acutely sensitive to suffering and oppression and here in our midst were laid some of the most valuable foundations of his imaginative genius. Part of his boyhood was spent in Johnson Street (now Cranleigh Street) : this house was at one time the David Copperfield (Children's) Library, founded by the Rev. J. Brett Langstaff, a prominent American divine. Dickens' writings were directly instrumental in promoting far-reaching reforms in local government and social welfare. His realistic novels were a source of encouragement to Baroness Burdett-Coutts, of Holly Lodge, Highgate, in her beneficent work for better social conditions in the East End of London.
In the eighties the soil was ready for the planting of new seed. In 1882 a small but influential group of people met at No. 29, Doughty Street " for mutual enlightenment on the inter-relation of ethics and social reform." Prominent members of this movement, known as the " Fellowship of the New Life," were the psychologist Havelock Ellis and his wife, Olive Schreiner the novelist, and the budding labour politician of those days, James Ramsay Macdonald. Their deliberations led to the formation of the Fabian Society, with which is linked such names as Sidney Webb (Lord Passfield) and his late wife, and Bernard Shaw, who lived in Saint Pancras and served on the Vestry and on the Borough Council from 1897 to 1903.
The reforming spirit of the last two centuries was by no means confined to the sphere of social and economic reconstruction : it also found expression in education, in scientific research and in new forms of art. Robert Owen (already mentioned above) may be regarded as the pioneer of nursery schools : he opened, in 1816, the first British infant school " for children of the age of two." Soon afterwards, educational institutions were established for older scholars.
The foremost seat of learning in our area is University College. Founded in 1826 "as a non-sectarian college with its own secondary school," it was moved in 1834 to its present site in Gower Street. Many distinguished " husbandmen " were associated with its beginnings, notably the philosopher and jurist Jeremy Bentham, and Lord Brougham, lawyer and statesman. The roll of honour of the college and school includes many prominent names, among others Frederick Denison Maurice (founder of the Working Men's College), John Forster (biographer of Dickens), and the scientist Sir Oliver Lodge, who resided, in his student days, in Camden Town.
In its early years education in England owed much to private endeavour. A prominent woman educationalist named Frances Mary Buss sought to extend higher education for girls.
She founded, in 1850, the North London Collegiate School for Girls in Camden Street ; it was later transferred to Sandall Road, where it remained until shortly before the present war. The Camden School for Girls in Prince of Wales Road was an offshoot of the parent school.
Mention has been made above of the foundation of the Working Men's College (removed to Crowndale Road in 1906) by the clergyman Frederick Denison Maurice : associated with him were such eminent men as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Ruskin, Thomas Hughes (author of " Tom Brown's Schooldays") and Charles Kingsley. Ford Madox Brown, the celebrated painter of the Pre-Raphaelite period, joined the College staff in 1858 and Sir John Lubbock (Lord Avebury), who introduced the Bank Holidays Act of 1871, was principal for 15 years. Few institutions of the kind can boast a more worthy or colourful history.
Forty-four years after the foundation of the Working Men's College, the Mary Ward Settlement—a centre of social and educational activities—was opened in Tavistock Place, after a short experimental period in nearby Gordon Square. The Cripple School attached to the Settlement was the forerunner of all such schools. Many classical as well as modern plays have been staged in the Tavistock Little Theatre on the same premises. The Settlement derived its name from Mrs. Humphry Ward, the novelist, who, with the practical assistance of Dr. James Martineau, philosopher and divine, and the financial support of John Passmore Edwards and the late Duke of Bedford, was the chief inspirer of the scheme.
British science also is well represented in the story of the Borough of Saint Pancras. Of its practitioners who found " richness " in our " soil " none is more celebrated than Charles Darwin, who startled Victorian England with his remarkable and revolutionary treatise " The Origin of Species." He lived for a time in Gower Street. His theory of evolution was supported by another famous scientist, Alfred Russell Wallace, who as a boy lived in Robert Street and, in later life, in the Regent's Park area. We are proud also to own the names of Francis Baily, a founder of the Royal Astronomical Society ; Sir Henry Bessemer, who put British steel " on the map " ; Sir William Crookes, .whose researches led to the production of X-Rays ; Michael Faraday, " founder of the electrical industry”; and Sir Ambrose Fleming, inventor of the thermionic valve.
Nor would this list of scientists be complete without reference to the distinguished African traveller, Sir Harry Johnston, a resident of Chester Terrace, to whose explorations we owe the discovery of the rare okapi. Even our modern mastery of the air owes some small debt to early British efforts—many of them made in various districts of our Borough—to secure practical knowledge of aeronautics by means of experimental balloon ascents. As far back as 1785, trial flights by the famous Lunardi and Zambeccari took place in fields in the neighbourhood of Tottenham Court Road and, 66 years afterwards, Charles Green made another ascent from the grounds of the " Adam and Eve " Tavern, then next to the Old Parish Church in Pancras Road.
The development of public health must not be overlooked, and here again our records contain the names of many men and women who, in the " bad old days " introduced a new spirit of enquiry into medical research. As a result of their pioneer work and devotion mankind has won an increasing measure of freedom from pain and new defences against the ravages of disease. We may go as far back as the Great Plague of London, when an eminent Dutch physician, Dr. Coysch, then living in Swain's Lane, gained a big reputation ; it was very near here, later, that Florence Nightingale sought rest and recuperation after the rigours of the Crimean War. In the early eighteenth century a smallpox hospital stood where King's Cross Station now stands ; within a few hundred yards of this spot we now have the modern resources of such great institutions as the Royal Free Hospital, University College Hospital and the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital.
And, coming to a specialised branch of the medical profession, we must not forget that our Saint Pancras School for Mothers was the first infant welfare centre to be established in this country. Nor should we overlook the existence in our midst of the Royal Veterinary College, the greatest of all institutions for the welfare of animals. Before the later years of the eighteenth century, animals were often ill-treated in health and neglected in disease, and the opening of this College (rebuilt shortly before the present war) in 1871 was the first notable step forward in veterinary science.
In the development of London from a straggling town to the greatest metropolis of the world, a high place must be accorded to the question of transport. It was around King's Cross that the new system of " macadam " roads was first tested and it was along the Euston Road that the first omnibuses, introduced by Shillibeer, ran. Then, when the new roads had brought their problems, it is gratifying to remember that St. Pancras Vestry was the first local authority to sanction the use of water carts.
In the neighbourhood of Euston Square was laid the first railway track in London, constructed by Richard Trevithick, the " father of the locomotive." The engine used on this track was known as " Catch me who can." This was in 1808, and 30 years later Euston Station, our first great railway terminus, was built. King's Cross Station followed in 1852 ; its architect, Thomas Cubitt. borrowed the plan for the roof from " a riding school lately erected in Moscow for the Tsar." St. Pancras Station, built in 1868, is also remarkable for its roof, a great feat of engineering at that date : the designer was Sir Gilbert Scott. Railway travel facilitated, to some extent, the institution of the Penny Post, which first came into operation on January 10th, 1840. The originator of the scheme, Sir Rowland Hill, resided in Burton Street.
This short survey of the history of the local" soil " and its past " produce " would indeed be incomplete without reference to some of the great artists and writers among its " husbandmen." The neighbourhood of Fitzroy Square may be regarded as one of the " art quarters " of London : here many distinguished artists and craftsmen, past and present, have chosen to reside and to work. John Constable, whose landscape works are among our national art treasures, lived in Charlotte Street, first at No. 63 and later at No. 76, where he died in 1837. One of his contemporaries, Sir Charles Eastlake, President of the Royal Academy for 15 years prior to his death, settled in Fitzroy Square. In 1848 the Pre-Raphaelite artists Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman-Hunt shared a studio in nearby Cleveland Street, and the whole district is rich in artistic associations including, among other famous artists, Whistler, Brangwyn and Burne-Jones. The practical application of the arts of design was also well represented when, in 1913, the art critic Roger Fry •established his Omega Workshops in Fitzroy Square for the design and manufacture of decorative furniture : Selwyn Image, in the same neighbourhood, achieved success as a stained glass window designer, and William de Morgan worked in stained glass and tiles.
A new phase in the development of art " circles " dates from 1905, when the noted painter and etcher, Walter Richard Sickert, arranged his first " at homes " for artist friends and others on Saturday afternoons at his studio at No. 19, Fitzroy Street. Here gathered many distinguished figures, including Lucien Pissarro, Augustus John and others. Later years have seen the establishment in our Borough of several groups of distinguished artists—the Camden Town Group in 1910, the London Group in 1914, and, still more recently, the Euston Road Group. Neither have the sister arts of music, the stage, and dancing been without representation in Saint Pancras : No. 15, Regent's Park Road was the home of Sir Alexander Campbell Mackenzie, President of the Royal Academy of Music for forty years. Nearby, Cecil Sharp House, headquarters of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, was built in 1929 on a site at the junction of Regent's Park Road and Gloucester Avenue. The stage is fully represented by the colourful history of the original Prince of Wales Theatre, which preceded the present Scala Theatre, in Tottenham Street : here the famous Bancrofts gathered around them a galaxy of players of renown—Sir John Hare, Fanny Brough, Sir Johnstone Forbes-Robertson, Mrs. Kendal and many others. The incomparable Sarah Siddons and Ellen Terry lived elsewhere in our area and the great actor Edmund Kean made one of his earliest appearances in Camden Town.
Lastly, the " soil " of Saint Pancras has proved sufficiently rich for many great workers in the realm of literature. With the march of time, the spirit of man has striven constantly after " diviner things,"—to build a new order of society that shall more nearly approximate to the ideal ; and the philosopher and the poet have given voice to the aspirations of the multitude. Francis Bacon, who died at Highgate in 1626, dreamed of Utopia : his ideas for the government of the new age were expressed in his " New Atlantis." Two centuries later the poet Samuel Taylor. Coleridge lived and worked in Highgate Village in the midst of a literary coterie which included Keats, Hazlitt, Leigh Hunt and Charles Lamb. Thomas Carlyle, historian and hero-worshipper, furious in his denunciation of sham and stupidity, took up his residence in the south of our Borough. Nearer to our own time, H. G. Wells, prophet of a planned world and advocate of the rights of man, began his married life in Saint Pancras, and even to-day finds pleasure in recalling his early years in our midst.
Another great literary figure, outstanding in the world of Irish letters— W. B. Yeats, the poet—lived for over twenty years in Woburn Walk. Here his "' Countess Cathleen " and many notable lyric poems were written. Charles Dickens and Bernard Shaw have already been mentioned. Alas, it is only possible to refer by name to two or three more writers who shall be selected from among the " moderns " :—E. V. Lucas, essayist and authority on Charles Lamb; George Gissing, the " novelist of the luckless poor " ; J. B. Priestley, a writer with a message for to-day. All these and many others have lived and exercised their talents as literary " husbandmen " in our area of Saint Pancras.
The foregoing short and, alas, incomplete account of the abundant fertility of our local " soil" will perhaps suffice to show how rich and arable is the " land," in what " good heart" it has been kept, and how suitable it is for the conscientious labour of Rotary " husbandmen." Not without reason has the Saint Pancras Borough Council adopted the motto " With Wisdom and Courage." Fertilized down the centuries by the selfless devotion and painstaking endeavours of a long cavalcade of wise pioneers and courageous campaigners for the dignity of knowledge and labour and for the rights of man— richer " soil" could not be found for the " husbandman " who works for a great harvest and who really believes in " Service above Self.”
THE SEEDIn the spring of 1923 the Rotary Club of London decided that there was room in our great Metropolis for more than one Rotary Club. It therefore confined its own territory to a radius of roughly 2 miles round its old Headquarters at the Hotel Cecil and proceeded to build new clubs outside that circle. In November of that year the first new club was formed in what has now become known as District 13 of R.I.B.I. That club was Streatham, and as soon as it was functioning we, in London, looked round to find fertile ground in which to plant a second club. As a native of Saint Pancras, I was anxious that some of my fellow citizens should experience the happiness which I had derived from my ten years' membership of our organisation. It was, therefore, in the December of 1923 that I invited half a dozen business friends to meet in my house and discuss the possibilities of a Rotary Club for Saint Pancras. The late J. H. Mitchell was an early member of the London Club and also a past Mayor of our Borough, and so he was the first man I approached for help. Harold Trill, Tom Hawes. Stanley Shaw, Syd Kerridge and Leonard Day accepted invitations and they all proved themselves keen and delighted with the idea.
That evening the seed was sown.
Each one present suggested some other men to whom an approach should be made and when our circle numbered about 20 a meeting was called at the Midland Grand Hotel to meet Ted Unwin; who was Chairman of the District. By a unanimous vote it was decided that a Rotary Club of Saint Pancras be now formed with those present agreeing to become Founder Members. Harold Trill became the first President and Stanley Shaw the first Secretary. Alas, to-day there remain only four of these Founders—Tom Hawes, Syd Kerridge, .Stanley Shaw and John Heal.
The achievements of the Club and of its individual -members will be told by other pens than mine, but the service rendered to our Borough during the past 21 years is indeed considerable. Over a dozen men have joined the Borough-Council (five became Mayors), and six have been appointed to the Saint Pancras Bench of Justices. But apart from public work, the members of the Club have a grand record in organising or assisting numerous efforts which have brought happiness into the lives of many people. If my contribution to Rotary had been none other than bringing into being the Saint Pancras Club, then my membership of the movement would have been worthwhile ; and I may be forgiven the justifiable pride I have always felt in its progress and achievements.
May the years to come find it growing ever stronger in its usefulness: and happiness.
HAROLD TRILL, J.P. (Founder President), 1924-5
Somewhat Falstaffian in build and also in his burly humour Harold Trill came to Rotary with a lifetime of public service behind him capped by the mayoralty of the borough he loved so well. But he found time to lay the foundation stone of the Club in his classification as " Printer " (he never would have it " Printing"). A genial soul with a mind of his own. Speech that was direct, pungent but never hurtful and a heart big enough for all. He was a living example of Emerson's dictum, " The only way to have a friend is to be one," and he had many. The real way to his heart, however, was the " Christopher Robin " way. How he loved children ! To see Harold " buy " the roundabouts and swings for the last hour of the annual cripples' outing was worth going far to see. Assuredly he, like Francis Thompson, will be found " in the nurseries of heaven."
J. H. MITCHELL, J.P., 1926-7
" Joe " Mitchell, as he is known to all, is nothing if not downright and practical. Something of a contrast to his predecessor in method, he was content to " lash the wheel " and let the good ship make her own progress. Unassuming and retiring, he could, by no stretch of imagination, be termed Shavian in his. outlook. During his year of office the Islington Club was sponsored and the possibilities of boys' work were explored. His father was a founder member of the London Club and took a prominent part in the establishing of the Saint Pancras Club, so Joe " specs he growed " up in Rotary, as Topsy would have it.
LEONARD DAY, 1927-8
A gay spirit, alert in body and mind, generous and unselfish to the last degree. He combined the dash of a Dumas musketeer with the knightly brilliance of Sir Lancelot. He had wide interests and he gave wholehearted energy and time to a diversified variety of these. His name will always be linked with that other great soul Father Basil Jellicoe in the anti-slum crusade which resulted in the Saint Pancras House Improvement Society. How apt to those two are these words :—" A glory shone before them of what mankind shall be."
Had he let his fancy roam he would have said with Masefield, " I must go down to the seas again," for he loved sailing. He was, too, something of a pioneer in " movieland," and his films showing slum conditions were used to fine effect. He died suddenly in 1937 just after he had celebrated ten years' perfect attendance. A great Rotarian.
STANLEY G. SHAW, M.B.E., J.P., 1928-9
" On, Stanley, On ! " must have been sung to him constantly as a cradle song ; for he has been on his toes ever since. Secretary of the Club during the " teething " process of the first two years, he proved a most efficient nurse and did not lay down his cap and apron until the infant was thoroughly weaned. He has an unlimited capacity for work and a heart big enough for every form of Rotary service ; in fact, he's " Big hearted Stanley " to many Saint Pancras playmates, especially where housing or prison visitation are concerned. Artemus Ward might have been thinking of Stanley when he said, " There's a good deal of human nature in man," To-day he is an honorary and an honoured member
TOM HAWES, 1929-30
We all know the old saying " A fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind," and practical fellowship is the real source of his bonhomie and geniality. We often wonder why he is not known as " Uncle Tom," so well beloved is he of all. He has a fund of good stories and is a true follower of Mark Twain in his outlook on life. Rumour has it that his favourite author is Dr. Johnson of dictionary fame, for he frequently indulges in wordy sparring matches, especially with Gordon. The same mendacious jade (hear Tom protest at this !) avows that he has three pet aversions :—G.P.O. forms, schoolmasters and foreign quotations ! He finds relaxation in church history and collecting coins. He, too, has done real Rotary work in prison visitation. Tom would have gladdened the heart of Robert Louis Stevenson, who remarked " that he would sooner meet a smiling face than a £5 note any day of the week." Touch him for the fiver and prove it for yourself.
JOHN HEAL, J.P., 1930-1
One of the Founder Members, took a leading part, with Stanley Shaw and the late Leonard Day, in the heavy spade work involved in providing the solid foundations on which the Club was built. Was the second Honorary Secretary in days when there was fortunately no scarcity of paper on which to write up the Council minutes ! Followed up a brilliant year as President by editing the bulletin with success for many years. Coined the phrase " Spend for Employment " and worked hard in the trade revival campaign which Rotary carried on during the depression in the early 'thirties. Collaborated with our Founder President in the cripples' outings and has been responsible for them since Harold's death. Is untiring in his work for Rotary, has never been known to forget an engagement or break a promise. In partnership with his brother Wilfred has extensively developed the building business founded by his father. Is a Past-President of the Federation of Master Builders and during the war has been area leader for Saint Pancras, Hampstead, St. Marylebone and Paddington of the London Works and Buildings Emergency Organisation. Appointed a Justice of the Peace in his middle 'forties, is at present Vice-Chairman of the Saint Pancras Bench. Is a Freeman of the City of London and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Painter Stainers. Keen on Kipling, can make a good speech, sing a good song and enjoy a good joke. Preserves his youthful figure, and is a credit to his tailor.
Personality ? Think of the name by which we all know him. " Mr. Heal" would be too formal and " Jack Heal" just a little too free and easy " John Heal " is just right as the name, and " just right " is a fitting description of the man.
CHARLES FOX, M.B.E., 1931-2
Outstanding for his vocational service work on the J.A.C. and for 30 years its Chairman. In recognition of this work he was made an additional member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. His year as President stands out for the valuable help and encouragement given to the ladies of Rotarians who formed the Inner Wheel—Mrs. Fox being the first President. Charles has done yeoman service for all the social activities of the Club, especially in connection with the ladies' festivals held regularly each year until the outbreak of the war. Youth service has taken up many of his leisure hours in the past and it is to this service he now devotes much of his spare time. Solid, dependable, a true friend to youth, may he still progress from strength to strength.
TOM SIMS, J.P., 1932-3
Invariably known as " Tom." Essentially a worker, prompt in decision and action with a capacity for cutting out non-essentials and getting at the root of a problem. Full of energy and drive, intolerant of red-tape, and possessing a keen sense of humour, he has the happy gift of saying the right thing at the right moment. Often had a boyish look in fun in his eyes and in his puckish smile. Inevitably the old rhyme came to mind, " Tom, Tom, the piper's son." He must have had many escapades to his credit in the days when " all the world was young," and proceedings were invariably livened when Tom got going. We have missed him much during these last few years.
ARTHUR MORTIMER, O.B.E., 1933-4
No one who knows Arthur would ever liken him to the sluggard in life's race for he is nothing if not industrious and energetic. There is nothing of the tramp-poet about him. " To stand and stare " comes not within his philosophy, and few would deny that Arthur in his way is something of a Jekyll and Hyde. He was in days of yore a chemist in Harrogate and incidentally, in his spare time, chairman of the Education Committee. But this was not life's cup pressed down and running over as Arthur saw it. His restless spirit like Alexander's of old, pined for fresh worlds to conquer, so he changed both his abode and vocation. He came to London and qualified as a barrister. Now his training in both professions serves him well in the unique post he occupies as adviser to the Government on medical supplies.
To the ordinary man this might seem a quiverful ; not so Arthur ! Rotary claimed both his attention and interest ; he became President of our Club, then Secretary to the District, then its President for two years, then—but we are not Old Moore and cannot say what new honours lie ahead of him. His very speeches give a clue to his passion for efficiency and for the uncommon. What is the source of those brilliant metaphors, those sparkling epigrams, those hot " wisecracks ? " Ask Arthur ; only he can tell.
He would have made a first-class journalist too, for he has a flair for the news. Was he not blown out of bed by a German bomb ? Has he not flown the Atlantic in a bomber and been made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by the King ? What else is there in store for his Caesarian ambition ? Who knows ? but we wish him well in all that he does for so many causes, both Rotary and otherwise.
SAM WATSON, 1934-5
Another of the cherub-faced band with sparkling eyes and rocking laughter. He was indeed a genial, lovable character, a glutton for work and a splendid administrator withal. As President, as Secretary, as Council Member, as Club-mate, as your neighbour at lunch, he always seemed to fill the bill and to be in the forefront of the picture if there was anything doing. But he brooked no slackers, he could not in biblical phrase " suffer fools gladly." His Rotarian spirit perhaps enabled him to achieve the " suffering " but certainly not the " gladly." His deep-throated bark in later years made us apprehensive for his health and his untimely passing made a sad gap in our ranks.
EDWARD WELFORD, 1935-6
Somehow Edward Welford and " toujours la politesse " are, to those who know him intimately, synonymous terms. In olden times he would indeed have formed the Chaucerian conception of " a very parfit gentle knight." In that way Edward kept to his high standard of conduct right through his presidential year. He worked and planned and organised here in Saint Pancras but he lived in the country. There you saw him in Sussex in his role of country squire interested too and active in the village doings. Of such sterling stuff is the background of our country made. May you long continue in such fine tradition, Edward !
OLIVER JONES, J.P., 1936-7
Oliver came to the chair ripe in years and rich in experience for he had delved into the intricacies of both banking and estate management. When he retired—no life of slothful ease for him ! Like his famous namesake in Dickensian pages he " wanted more." So he knows something of life and of the strangeness of the human panorama behind the scenes. What a subject for a modern dramatist: " Scenes in a Bank Manager's private room." Oliver, too, has held office as one of the District Vice-Chairmen and he had to exchange the hideousness of bombed-out Hampstead for the peaceful tranquility of Peterborough. But he is of the homing type, so he is once more with us, genially chaffing the comparative youngsters in Rotary as they want to make things hum. You have made your own niche, Oliver, and it is one you fill with credit.
KINGSLEY MAILE, 1937-8
Kingsley is not one of those whose fame is spread from the housetops ; he prefers the quietness to be obtained " far from the madding crowd." He, himself too, is quiet and unassuming though of very definite views on most questions of the day. He is both artist and craftsman in his business and of a discerning taste in books, for serious reading is one of his few recreations. This trait has served him and the Borough well in his position as Chairman of the Library Committee of the Council. Another of his loves is rural England in its Elizabethan simplicity. A generous man, but he will have none of the publicity beloved by the Pharisee. An ideal family man, a Rotarian who believes in deeds rather than words, Kingsley has many wide acres to plough and many rich harvests to gather.
ARTHUR PILGRIM, 1938-9
The Pilgrims in Chaucer's well-loved Canterbury Tales were all characterised by their intense humanity and the Pilgrim of this Rotary tale is every bit as human as they ; for sympathy with the under-dog is one of Arthur's chief traits. He has seen so much of boys and girls who stumble, often through lack of home care, that their cause always lies near his heart. And we honour him for it.
So he is filled with divine discontent for things as they are. True, he is meticulous in his love for the letter of the law—a point of order, Mr. Chairman !
—but there is no asperity in his demands for justice, though a real insistence on the rights of—someone else, usually. He has something of the chirpiness of the London " spadger " (as Tom Hawes would say), for he will not be effaced, squashed or easily silenced. Lucky the man or boy to have Arthur as a champion ; he lives up to the reputation of the Knights of the Round Table. Apathy and laissez faire he detests, but he prizes highly the companionship and esteem even of those from whom he may differ. If he has a motto in life it should be " Excelsior," for he is content with nothing but the best. We watch and share with pride our " Pilgrim's Progress."
Dr. E. A. GREGG, J.P., 1939-40
Somehow " Doc." fits him to a " T." Whoever heard anyone call him " Edward " or " Teddy " even in our most cordial of clubs ? He often has that quizzical look when something has amused him—for he is able, we feel, to criticise human nature with a detached air. Yet we know his criticism is kindly, generous and, above all, fair. He is insatiable for work and how he fulfils his many onerous duties is a secret known only to himself. In speech concise, almost abrupt one might say, with just a delicious touch still of Erin's brogue accompanied by a twinkle of eyes which themselves can speak volumes. Yes, you would say he was certainly alert, sympathetic and broadminded. His taste in literature is typical of his restless energy. He prefers the short, staccato phrases of H. M. Tomlinson to the rolling Ruskinian prose of Garvin. A good man to meet—a better man to know !
GORDON BARRY, B.Sc., 1940-1
To its fame for cats and cheese the county of Cheshire adds, in the eyes of Saint Pancras, other causes for gratitude and not the least of these is Gordon Barry, Past-President of both the Macclesfield Club and of our own. A graduate n science and a lover of the arts, we turn to Gordon for the apt phrase and the happy quotation. Sturdy in physique, profound in learning, zealous in service, conversationalist, orator, raconteur and, when necessary, sesquipedalian. First introduced Tom Hawes to numismatics (Tom thought he was a coin collector before that !). Staunch friend and one of the recognised elder statesmen of the Club. Has lost most of his hair and has been known to lose his hat, but never his wool.
Fit link in a distinguished chain of Past-Presidents.
CHARLES STONEBRIDGE, 1941-2
Yes ! Charles suits him. Somehow " Charlie " would be a bit too rollicking—not that he hasn't plenty of fun in him, but it is of the mellow Gilbertian type, rather than the roystering boisterousness of Tony Weller and his pals. Charles is one of the pillars of the Club. There is something almost statuesque in his bearing, not in the manner of Epstein, mind you—far from it. Alfred Southwick might have defined the correct style. He is efficiency personified, careful in all that he does and says, tremendously interested in everything he undertakes and neglectful of not the smallest detail to make anything he puts his hand to a success. He reminds an observer somewhat of Neville Cardus, who used to sprinkle his delightful cricket accounts in the " Manchester Guardian " with equally delicious and apt musical metaphors ; for " The Song of the Willow " and " Tit Willow " and his confreres have given Charles a rich sauce to life's ordinary fare.
Sport and music ! A rich heritage to bestow on your progeny, Charles. The world would be the better for many like you.
ERNEST NEALE, 1942-3
" Can't hear ! " How often in years gone by, when Ernest stood up, would this call sound through the Club. For Ernest used to be nervous in speaking, even to his fellows. Now see what the Club has done for him— brought him out of his shell—given him confidence. And what hasn't Ernest done for the Club ! As President, Treasurer, Editor, benefactor^ few know the extent of his personal " Club service." For Ernest's outstanding traits are his modesty, his absolute selflessness and his transparent honesty of thought and purpose. He is a worthy descendant of those old mediaeval craftsmen who founded our City Guilds, were proud of their work and so laid the foundation of sterling merit attaching to the words " Made in England." Ernest has many hobbies : gardening, photography, travel, but his chief is his work. So he has solved the greatest of life's problems—making your work your pleasure. We agree with Wilde on " The Importance of being Ernest." We could not do without him.
REV. SAM ROWLEY, 1943-4
Something of the devotion and earnestness of Samuel of Holy Writ, of the learning and worldly wisdom of Samuel Johnson, of the wit and humour of Sam Weller and of the obstinacy and determination of Sam, the creation of Stanley Holloway, are all to be found commingled in our own inimitable Sam. And what a lovable mixture they make. Look at him ! A veritable living counterpart of one of Dickens' Cheeryble brothers. Benign in appearance, rubicund of face (it's indigestion, Sam says), glowing with optimism and a belief in the eternal goodness of things, he literally carries with him an aura (no hats for Sam) of good fellowship, religious tolerance and Christian purpose. He believes that Rotary is Christ's message put to everyday use and he carries that out in all his actions. No primrose path for Sam ! When King's Cross was bombed day and night and he could easily have been transferred to safer areas—for he had done more than his quota of service there—Sam's answer was " I'm stopping here," and so said Mrs. Sam. No quitters, they !
But he's very human. See him at the Arsenal football ground—what a lad ! Talk to him of Yorkshire cricket and he is more bigoted than old W. G. himself. He was never at a loss for a quip or a crack when in the Chair and he always got on the target. No wonder we love him, for as with Abou Ben Adhem his epitaph on the scroll of life will be " Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”
WALLY BROWN, 1944-5
Billy Brown of London Town courts the limelight Wally Brown shuns it, for though he was one of the very early members of the Club, yet he has hitherto largely hidden his light under a bushel. He is a man of deeds, not words, as befits an engineer. His eloquence lies in the hearty grip of a vigorous handshake rather than euphonious phrases. Words do not come trippingly to his tongue. He practices economy there, but is liberal with his personal service. Alexandra Rose Day without W.B.'s organisation does not fit in the programme. As he resolutely grips his pipe 'twixt set teeth so he tackles problems with set purpose. His calling speaks through him. As Kipling said in " The Sons of Martha " : " They do not teach that their God will rouse them a little before the nuts work loose." Wally sees to it that the nuts do not work loose. He will no doubt be our Peace President and he will see to it that in our Club we face up to the big programme of post-war problems and so prove that " Peace hath her victories no less renown'd than war.”
GEORGE BOYCE, M.B.E., M.C., 1945-6.
" What's in a name ? " is an oft-quoted saying, but we venture that " George " is the only name that fits the subject of this thumb-nail sketch. Ruddy of cheek, blonde in tresses— what's left—and of portly build ; no streamlined will o' the wisp was ever our George. One unconsciously harks back to the days of our Saxon ancestors for his counterpart — a veritable Hereward. We are sure that the dragon would have stood a poor chance against our George armoured and bespurred like Jimmy Welch in " When Knights were Bold." But this is the 20th century and not the 12th, and the subject of our portraiture is the 21st in the Presidential line. So with his air of a connoisseur of good and ample living, we are more inclined to quote the modern—albeit pre-war— tag of " Where's George ? Gone to lunch " (Rotary of course). He is indeed a loving and a lovable soul— one is reminded of Goethe's saying, " There is a politeness of the heart which is akin to love. It gives rise to the most agreeable politeness of outward conduct." There he is— multum in parvo. Drama and amateur theatricals, literature and poetry, tennis and outdoor life ; these are in the foreground, but there are many others behind the scenes, for George does not wear his heart on his sleeve. So he fills the Presidential chair both literally and metaphorically ; cautious in his judgments, giving fairness and impartiality to all arguments and every speaker. He will be remembered for this sane balance of mind, for his ordered outlook on Rotary and on Life generally. We raise our glasses to you, George—a fine specimen of a sportsman and a true Englishman.
THE FIRST SIX YEARS, 1924-1931
In those early years it became a matter of wonder—and I well remember Harold Trill voicing it—that men of like ideals and service, with such capacity for friendship, could have remained so long apart till brought together by Rotary that welded and unified them and set them aglow, like a crystal prism with many facets, sending gleams of light and colour into many a dark corner.
The inaugural dinner, with an attendance of 41, of whom 25 were to become Charter Members, was held on the 25th March, 1924, at the Midland Grand Hotel, which was to become for many years the home of the Club. Genial delegations from the mother Club of London headed by President L. G. Sloan, and the Vice-President, Stanley Leverton, to whose initiative the Club owed birth, and from R.I.B.I. in the persons of the District Chairman, Edward Unwin, and the able Secretary of R.I.B.I., Vivian Carter, came to bless the ceremony, and the first election of officers took place.
It is worthwhile to record them to day, for the years of success which were to follow owed much to their early guidance and zeal :
President .. .. Harold Trill
Vice-President .. .. .. J. H.Mitchell
Hon. Treasurer .. .. .. Walter G. Jeremy
Hon. Secretary . . .. .. Stanley G. Shaw
YEARS OF DISCRETION
Leonard A Day, William Gillespie, John H. Heal, Robert Kendrick, Arthur W. Smerdon, Sydney J. Kerridge, Walter Idris, Harold Leverton, Harry Rolles.
It was a Council built for work, and the records of that first year show steady progress from domestic organisation to service in a larger field. As membership grew, new fields opened out, and within a twelvemonth Community Service was reaching into many new avenues—prison visitation—night emergency motor services—business methods—boy work—the emphasis being placed on personal service rather than financial assistance. Sound Rotary doctrine.
Nearly two years passed before the question of boundaries was provisionally settled with the London Club owing to difficulties connected with the mother Club's earlier membership. Indeed, it was nearly four years before the matter was finally clarified and the Club owes a debt to London for much concession in this respect.
The first monthly Club Notes came into being during 1925, a modest quarto typewritten sheet that was afterwards to develop, first into printed form, and then later into the weekly bulletin with which present members are familiar.
Fraternal activities were well catered for, and we have vivid memories of the Ladies' Nights and the Annual River Outings under the wing of Charles Palmer (now, alas, no longer with us), our genial host and well-loved fellow member through all those years at the " Midland." We are tempted to dwell upon many such recollections of personalities who still shine in our memories as stars of those early years. Some—who filled the Presidential Chair— we shall mention later, and many others serving their fellows and the Rotary cause unstintingly, in less spectacular but none the less vital ways, we shall never forget. Comdr. Comport—Walter Jeremy—Sam Watson—what a host of memories those names bring back to those of us who were privileged to know and work with them. The list could be so easily added to and there are many who cannot here be named, but who still live in our hearts. We are thankful that some are still with us and their work and their comradeship continues.
In 1927 Saint Pancras fostered the formation of the Rotary Club of Islington and to-day proudly claims that thriving club as its healthy offspring.
Co-operation with Le Play House, in which Leonard Day and Harry Denyer took leading parts, resulted in a comprehensive civic survey of the Borough of Saint Pancras being made and published with special regard to boy work activities. Local activities covered new ideas with the inception of Sons' Day—Civic Day—Dickens Day—with special hospitality for American visitors after the Ostend Conference—and every good work in the Borough found the Rotary Club ready to encourage and assist. Indeed,- the minutes of
the Council Meetings of those days (and some of them run into six or eight pages) give ample evidence of a lively and keen desire for every possible form of service and of a healthy success in very many.
Out of that desire, too, came George Kimber's conception and generous endowment of the Ray-Therapy Institute in Camden Road, to this day a centre of healing and increasing service to the people.
Nor during those early years were national and international contacts neglected. We find on record strong contingents of the Club going to Ostend R.I. Conference, to Harrogate and to Bournemouth conventions, touring visits to French and Dutch Clubs and a lively interchange of visits with provincial and with other London clubs then being established.
A close and friendly contact, which exists to this day, was established with the Rotary Club of Winona, Minnesota, U.S.A., which included interchange of letters between members of the same classification in their respective Clubs as well as ultimately some personal contacts. Indeed, those were years rich in service, in friendship, in striving and in attainment, and those of us who were privileged to share them count ourselves fortunate.
THE YEARS 1932-1938
The chronicle of the first six years emphasises the part played by personal service in the programme of the Club, and that guiding principle was loyally followed by those privileged to lead it in the years of " growing up." The foundations had been well and truly laid, and those who now worked as the scaffolding rose saw to it that their work was marked by the same conscientiousness and skill.
Looking back in pensive reverie one can be thankful that men of such character were forthcoming to meet the lean years that followed on the fat. The boom of war spending gave place to tightened purse strings and unemployment was a ghastly spectre, not in this land only, but throughout the world. There is an old saying that " prosperity tries the fortunate, adversity the great," and the Club rose to heights of greatness in those days of national poverty and distress.
Fed by such a Trojan for work as President Tom Sims the " Spend for Employment " campaign came into being. The country had gone off the gold standard arid corporations and individuals were all following the national example of restriction in spending. The result was less work, less money and less food for the workers. Then some in the Bristol Club refused to follow the crowd, they anticipated Roosevelt's " New Deal " plan of later years and said, "Why not start the money circulating and so create employment?"
Saint Pancras was one of the first to adopt the plan, after Tom Sims had called a special meeting of the Rotary Council. A strong committee was formed with John Heal as Treasurer. He coined the phrase " Spend for Employment," and the name counted for much, despite our national bard's enquiry. John's ginger methods quickly raised £500 as a start and the work began. By various methods, persuasive and sometimes forceful, business men in the Borough were induced to spend a certain sum to create employment. The million mark was quickly passed. Nothing succeeds like success and clubs in various parts of the country appealed to the Club for particulars of the scheme and for speakers to show " how it was done."
Leonard Day, Arthur Pilgrim and others travelled much in those days. The Saint Pancras Pilgrim certainly journeyed further and in no such leisurely fashion as did his forbears of Canterbury fame. On one such pilgrimage he found himself at Norwich, where the Lord Mayor in the ancient Guildhall launched a scheme on the lines of Saint Pancras. It was fathered by the local Rotary Club.
Still pursuing the role of St. George, the Club was not yet satisfied with its success in slaying the dragon of unemployment. It adopted with enthusiasm the suggestion made by Mrs. Ethel Wood, the President of the Winter Distress League, that something should be done for the people themselves who constituted the mass of the unemployed. Again President Tom Sims appealed to the Club with the set purpose of opening recreation clubs wherever buildings could be found. Whitefield's Mission offered the use of a large hall and the first club was opened by the Mayor of Saint Pancras—Sir Alfred Davies. Some 300 men speedily joined, the Winter Distress League paid the wages of a superintendent, and the Club was responsible for all other expenses. It was a great success and soon five others were opened in different parts of the Borough.
But the mill could not work without the necessary grist; funds were needed. Here the Inner Wheel stepped in, backed by Jack Le Lievre. Carreras helped by presenting a motor-car as first prize in a draw. This raised £500. Chris Harvey staged a boxing tournament and raised another £200. Stanley Leverton enlisted the aid of the London Rotary Players, who put on a special show. Ron Le Lievre ran several whist drives, and altogether £1,000 was raised for this very practical piece of community service.
Experience showed that the men in these clubs needed something else besides 'mere recreation ; they wanted to do or make something. The Winter Distress League again rose to the occasion and satisfied the men's Tom Sawyer-like proclivities by arranging for vocational training and paying the wages of instructors in handicrafts. Over 10,000 pairs of boots were repaired by the men for themselves and their families. Rug-making was another popular craft and John Rogers provided most of the material.
During these years of stress and strain the whole Club functioned as a community service committee with Arthur Pilgrim acting as leader to those modern knights of the round table. The Council Minutes of those days are a living witness to the hard work and generous gifts contributed by all the members. Activities were varied and too numerous to mention in a comparatively brief summary, but special place must be given to hyelm, to which Edward Welford gave generously in both time and money. The Irish poet, Moore, who wrote, " When I remember all the friends so linked together," he might well have been describing the Club in those days, for service to those around did indeed link us together.
Bertie Briers threw himself wholeheartedly into the work of the Borough ' Council of Youth. Basil Jellicoe, Leonard Day and Stanley Shaw became the gallant three musketeers who fought battles with all and sundry on behalf of the Saint Pancras House Improvement Society. Picture the effervescent Leonard armed with ruthless film instead of flashing rapier, showing to a horrified and unbelieving world the terrible slums of Somers Town, with Stanley gallantly demolishing the first bricks from the topmost peaks of the doomed buildings. As a contrast look on this other picture of the Bishop dedicating the first block of flats and rejoice that social emancipation has somewhat outpaced the progress of nature in natural evolution. As a closing finale to the panorama one has the unforgettable scene of Basil Jellicoe drawing the first pint of beer from the Society's own pub. : as the sage said, "Progress is the law of life."
Among other deeds, less dramatic though equally valued and self-sacrificing, was prison visitation led by Tom Hawes. Apart from the contribution it made to the social good, it certainly added to his fund of human stories. We hope that this goodly fellowship who " did good by stealth " will not " blush to find it fame " in these pages.
A word must be said here as a record of the interest displayed by the Club in the careers of two children who lost their father early in life. The Club assisted in maintaining them in the Shaftesbury Homes and launched them on their careers. Quite recently Bishop Crotty officiated at the girl's wedding, while Ernest Neale, as President, presided at the wedding breakfast. Jack Venmore kept alive the link with " Glarster," and many are the incidents, some respectable, some otherwise, told of the journeys between one club and another ; to quote the B.B.C., " Those were the days."
The friendship with Winona, described earlier on, was kept alive by mutual correspondence. On one occasion Charles Palmer, mine host of the " Midland Grand," sent the ingredients for a Christmas pudding to the States. They were there concocted into the traditional form beloved by epicures and eaten with becoming hilarity. Whether the usual consequences to long suffering digestive systems also ensued has not been recorded in any minutes brought to our notice. At another time a gramophone record of Christmas greetings was made at the Club luncheon, sent to Winona, and then " put over " to that Club. Despite the strain of these outbursts of typical John Bull humour, relations between the Clubs remain of the friendliest nature.
Towards the close of this period of our chronicle, Club Service was called upon to face a most difficult task—that of changing our home. It has been said that " home to a small boy is merely a filling station," and it has also been said that " some Rotary Clubs are merely luncheon clubs." Neither saying was true of us. We had been born and brought up at the " Midland Grand " and we loved it as " home." But the time had come to leave the home nest and so we migrated after much deliberation to our present abode—the "Ambassadors." Here in different surroundings the same spirit prevails and so : Time Marches on !
THE YEARS 1939-1945
Then followed the period of the Club's adolescence ; its growth from the viewpoint of a callow minority to that of the more balanced judgment (in one's own estimation) of a ripened majority. It is the period corresponding in the individual when he changes his schoolboy ambition to be in " the Eleven " to the manly determination to use " the key of the door." Such, then, is the period in the life history of the Saint Pancras Club which now comes under our microscopic examination for historical narration, humorous comment and literary record.
It is the period, too, which coincides with the outbreak of World War No. 2, which took place on September 3rd, 1939. At once Club meetings were cut down ; many members were evacuated ; committees had to be telescoped; luncheon meetings gradually grew more and more spartan. Gone, too, were the social glories of the Club ; Ladies' nights became a pleasant memory of Park Lane ; no more could the President's wife share the dazzle of the eminence he had attained. It was all work and no glory ; there was no " jam " on it. It was a case of Duty, " Stern Daughter of the Voice of God," for President and officers alike. Members who have joined the Club during these war years can have but a somewhat hyphenated view of Rotary Club life in all its ramifications and boundless activities of peace-time days. But that is as it should be. Our national life is sorely curtailed in many of the things we hold most dear ; and Rotary, if it is the living force we believe it to be, must of necessity reflect the enormous change that has come over our whole existence.
Such, then, are the conditions under which our Club comes to " Years of Discretion." Let us more closely examine the passage of these years ; the" ebb and flow of its many-patterned membership. Let us try to recapture some of the mirthful sallies which have been a feature of our meetings and which betoken the absence of conventional barricades ; an atmosphere at once apparent to a stranger coming into the Club. If this record cannot bring back memory of the " quip and crank and wanton wile," 'twere as well not to embark on its compilation, but to be content with the dry-as-dust recording of the Minute Book and the stringent accuracy of the Balance Sheet,
1939-40 was Doc. Gregg's year of Office—the year of contrasts ; the transition from peace to war, from the spacious days when the accounts showed an item " Chocolates for Ladies per Ambassador's Hotel, 11 shillings and twopence," to the spartan statement in the Minutes, " Outbreak of hostilities —no meetings held."
We have grown so accustomed to the curtailed activities of Rotary in war-time that it is as well, perhaps, to remind the neophytes that in the early days of '39 the Club, as befitted a fifteen-year-old adolescent in Rotary, took part in " the District Ball " and looked forward to the histrionic triumphs of the father of the Club, Stanley Leverton, and his colleagues, filling the Scala Theatre to capacity for three consecutive nights. We splashed a guinea on buttonholes for the Ladies' Luncheon ; entertained the Gloucester Rotarians at the Zoo, and recalled boyish jokes and pranks in the process.
Then the sword of Damocles which had been hanging over us for so long fell on September 3rd, and the social side was swept away. Many members were evacuated ; Bert Briers' daughters were sent to Canada for safety and Rotarians in Montreal did their share in " bedding them down." The speakers' programme was abandoned until June, 1940 ; even that extremely fine piece of work " Wireless for the bedridden," due largely to the initiative of Charles Stonebridge, had to shut down.
But there were other avenues of Service.
A minesweeper, H.M.T. Wellard, was adopted and supplied with the three " S's " which the crew needed most—socks, scarves and " sigs " (will that pass the sensor ?). A House of Fellowship was opened at Euston for the service and comfort of the troops on leave, and we helped to staff it in our spare time. We conducted men from one railway terminus to another and incidentally learned our London better ; bade good-bye at the outset to Derrick Leverton, who " went to be a sojer," and took our rota of duty at Saint Pancras Information Bureau for the troops every Wednesday evening from 6 p.m, onwards. Likewise, we gave both Club and personal hospitality to some of the Forces who found themselves in our midst. All this before the Home Guard, Civil Defence and National Fire Service claimed our attention and our hours of slippered ease.
Meticulous secretaries in years to come will no doubt learn with appropriate horror that one official entry in the Club records of this period reads "Notes of previous Council lost—due to enemy action. Memory defective— sense of imagination dim." This candid confession of sin of omission apparently succeeded, for absolution was granted by an indulgent Council. Was it a gallant attempt to gain a quorum which invited all members present to " sit in " at an after lunch Council Meeting to be held at 2 p.m. ? Such originality and devising betokens a determination to carry on despite all odds, and be damned to Hitler and his myrmidons.
One notes with interest that, even in such harassing times, four members present at a District Rally had such high ideals for this event that they reported to the Club that they had been only " partially edified " by attendance. What did they expect—to be transported in a chariot of fire as Elijah of yore ? But the year closed on a note of clenched fists and gritted teeth. We shall endure !
Gordon Barry occupied the Chair during 1940-41, the period of London's worst bombings, the time when invasion threatened, when, as Churchill has so well said, " We stood alone."
Often throughout the pages of the weekly bulletin and even in the more austere pages of Club Minutes are to be found records of these times, of danger and sudden death. In one bulletin we read " London and Londoners have had a trying time this week, but they are coming through the ordeal well." Some of our members had miraculous escapes from death : Arthur Mortimer, Tom Hawes, Doc. Gregg, Syd Kerridge, Stanley Leverton and Oliver Jones. Everyone suffered in some way or other.
On September 24th no bulletin was issued owing to enemy action, and on October 1st Edgar Bentley offered up prayers of thanksgiving for escape from death. The previous week had been one of heavy bombing, yet no member was killed. The spirit of the Club, as indeed of the one and only London, is to be found reflected constantly in the Club records. In the bulletins of July 9th and 16th the heading ran as follows : " Please understand : there is no one depressed in this house and we are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They do not exist." This was quoted by the B.B.C. as a saying of Queen Victoria's. In the issue of July 30th, the spirit of the times was well illustrated in the concise saying, " Act Victory, Think Victory and Speak Victory, otherwise DAMN WELL SHUT UP ! "
All regular Committee Meetings had to be cancelled ; the affairs were conducted by the officers, and Council Meetings were called after the Club luncheons. Even these were suspended from December, 1940, to March, 1941, owing to heavy air raids.
For the first time in Club history the Annual Meeting was held as an appendix to the lunch ; it was thus shorn of ceremony, loving cups, speeches and votes of thanks. It would almost have suited Carlyle as an example of taciturnity. Yet, as the President said, " This trial by bombing has established new bonds of brotherhood." An excellent example of this was given by Bishop Crotty, who lent his Church (Anglican) for Sam Rowley's anniversary servic (Methodist)—Sam's Mission having been bombed out.
In quite another direction the same spirit of friendship was shown to our " John," who waited on us each week. He and his wife celebrated their golden wedding and live in the same house in Bermondsey where they went as a young married couple. His gratitude for the special collection for him was something to be remembered. The bulletin comes into the picture here. It celebrated its tenth birthday. John Heal was the first editor and three keynotes he gave the Club in that No. 1 issue were : Comradeship, Vision and Service. We cannot improve on these to-day, but we hope we have lived up to them.
Then the 500th issue of the bulletin owed much to its editor, Ernest Neale. It is dated November 19th, 1940, and contains a Club photo (Madame Tussaud's, please note !). It enshrined a history of the foundation of the Club by Stanley Leverton, and snapshots from the founder and old members. Its publication was a real landmark in Club history.
We were still losing members to the Forces—Reg. Downes and Tim Donovan joining the " wavy Navy " and Gordon Abbott the Army, much to the regret of the Services Welfare Committee which manned the Trafalgar Square kiosk. A red-letter day was the sinking of the Bismarck—a small thing to-day, but a very large crumb of comfort in those days of " blood, sweat, tears and toil."
Saint Pancras played a notable part in the formation in 1940 of the Inter-Allied Rotary Outpost, now known as the United Nations Rotary Outpost. We acted the part of host Club, and its first meeting was held at the Ambassadors Hotel. Jim Ryan was the first President and Casimir Sczienkiewicz, of Poland, its first Secretary. Since then it has gone from strength to strength. Despite our decreased membership and income it is encouraging to note that 126 parcels were distributed to the poor of the Borough ; tangible evidence that the Rotary flame was still burning bright.
As Charles Stonebridge dons the " Presidential Collar," members continue to change from " civvy " attire to that of the services—Tom Marshall is drafted to the " P.B.I." Our travelling ambassador, Derrick Leverton, attains the dignity of Captain, whilst Clifford Pugh goes one better to a " majority."
Whether it be the " blitz " (wretched German word) or the passage of time we know not, but the Charter, the inventory of the Club's worldly wealth, and even the " Club pen," are all posted as missing. After many Committees have duly deliberated, a duplicate Charter is obtained, a fresh inventory is compiled by Tom Hawes and Arthur Pilgrim, but the Club pen refuses to abandon its obscurity. This restoration of the Club prestige causes the reminder that the Charter should be handed over to each new President on taking Office. The custom seems to have lapsed.
The re-awakening of interest in the Club ceremonial is not the only sign that the worst is passing, at least as far as London is concerned. We chronicle with spasms of excitement the fact that a Civic Ladies' lunch was held at this time; there were 111 present, of whom 31 were guests, and the ever-gallant President Charles, in true Beau Brummel style, presented each lady with a posy of flowers. We have made various attempts to change our Headquarters, due largely to overcrowding, but without result. We shared the hotel with the captains and officers of the Dutch Navy, some of whom were occasionally induced to attend the luncheon as guests, but a combination of natural shyness and a heritage from the Tower of Babel usually made them tongue-tied, We note that the exact area of the Club's territory is now definitely settled, and a map showing this has been filed with the records : that should put an end to any poaching, called by some " propaganda."
Inter-club activity, both personal and collective, has by no means died out. An area rally was held for the North at Hendon, and light (some said not so light) refreshments were provided. A visit from our old friend and member, Jack Venmore, recalled tales of and visits to sleepy " Glarster." Word came from both Cecil Chapman and Shoran Singha, down in Cornwall, that " England " still lives in their memories, and Harry Denyer, " the exile in Bournemouth," was made an honorary member for the period of the war. There was even an inter-club luncheon at Islington, a sure sign of the revival of more normal times.
Another note which strikes a careful observer at this time is the keen interest already being shown in post-war problems. The International Committee took two meetings for the discussion of international problems, and Dr. Viola, an ex-Secretary of the Vienna Rotary Club, got a crowded "house " for his address on " The Death of Freedom in Europe."
So the 900th luncheon was held with the twilight giving place to the faint gleams of a dawn as yet far off. But no war-time gloom was allowed to damp our Christmas spirit and we held our usual entertainment in the third Christmas of the war, and we sent greetings to a new Club in Iceland, whose main peace-time export seemed to have been depressions of varying intensity. As a mark of a year not by any means uneventful, Secretary Roy McGregor chronicled that on four occasions official congratulations were tendered by reason of outstanding events to :
Arthur Mortimer, on being awarded the O.B.E. Ernest Minter, on being chosen Mayor of the Borough, President Charles Stonebridge, on being elected Chairman of the local Charity Organisation Society, and an encore to Arthur Mortimer on being elected Chairman of District 13,
Ernest Neale, having ascended the Presidential throne for the year 1942-3, discards the more arduous post of bulletin editor, and Ivor Leverton dons the bard's mantle and, to the immense appreciation of one and all, plentifully sprinkles its pages with quips and cranks and wanton wiles.
Our main social activities still concern themselves with the war effort in one way or another. The girls " manning " (seems wrong, doesn't it ?) a neighbouring balloon barrage site wanted adopting for purposes of friendship and hospitality. Sam Rowley and Reeve Young were sent along to inspect and report. The minutes do not say why they were chosen ; we presume it was because of their " untarnished escutcheons and pristine innocence"— dictionary forward, Tom ! It was eventually decided to send a wireless set and two armchairs. History telleth not whether this satisfied them. Then the men on a mortuary site intimated that they would greatly appreciate a wireless set. They were lonely ! Who wouldn't be ? Their existing set was reconditioned.
But H.M.T. Wellard passed beyond our spate of scarves, sox, etc. She had been transferred to American waters and is being looked after by our Allies. Has the crew learned to chew gum and scoff noodles ? Owing to the large number of non-Rotarians in the dining room, coffee and the talk is now imbibed in the smoke-room, and we rather think that the members enjoy the added intimacy and general camaraderie.
But serious matters still have their fair share in our Club life. We have always taken an active interest in the Samuel Lithgow Social Centre, and it is welcome news that we have agreed to continue that support if the Crown Commissioners decide to open it as a Youth Settlement on the Crown Estate. We have, too, devoted much time and consideration to the proposal for a Rotary House of Friendship in London. The pros and cons were lucidly set out by Charles Stonebridge (now Secretary) and a whole meeting set apart for a debate thereon. The Club supported the proposal in principle. The Community Service Committee had evidently taken a leaf out of the book of the International Service Committee, for they staged a two meeting debate on Juvenile Delinquency. There was a wonderful attendance—was it our love of arguing or was it a furtive wish to indulge in pleasant reminiscences of boyish pranks ?
Indicative of the many countries represented by refugees from all the occupied areas is the galaxy of speakers from Norway, Denmark, Greece, Poland, Austria, etc. One whose talk was particularly vivid was Dr. Franz Burgers, who curdled our blood with his personal experiences of 18 months' nightmare in concentration camps. Two pleasant little gifts to the Club mark this year : a new flag from the London Club, presented by Sir Claude James, and a portable clock from President Ernest.
Sam Rowley picked up his musket, or, rather, the Presidential badge, in his own inimitable style as though to the manner born. Things might have been slowed down badly owing to the illness of Secretary Roy, but P.-P. Charles Stonebridge stepped into the breach in true Rotarian style and took on the job. Reeve Young won golden opinions during the year when he proved a veritable Pied Piper in attracting first-rate speakers on all types of subjects. Incidentally, Sam's presidential address, " Why I am a Rotarian," attained more than Club fame and it eventually blossomed out in pamphlet form.
Two noteworthy developments now strike the careful reader (and there are many) of the weekly bulletin. One is that each week there is a contribution from a different member. How Editor Ivor works the oracle is not divulged, tout we must congratulate him on his result. The other development is the frequent illustrations—in some quarters it might be termed " shooting a line "— we prefer to regard it as a modern medley of Hogarth, Phil May and Heath Robinson. Ivor was also congratulated on some very effective work he had put in on the Vocational Service Committee in connection with schools in the Borough and the employment of boys on leaving ; we feel sure more will be heard of this scheme.
The discussions arranged by Percy Sales through the International Service Committee on the " Fundamental Requirements for World Peace " aroused great interest and whipped up the attendance.
We were glad to get news that the " Inner Wheel " is still running, though only on two cylinders. They are Mrs. Arthur Hoskins as President, and Mrs. Bertie Briers as Secretary. There are other signs of the passing of the war years ; a District Conference was held in the Central Hall, Westminster, with the Archbishop of Canterbury as one of the speakers and the re-establishment of Rotary Clubs in countries once enemy occupied. Every year has glimpses of the grave and gay. The grave was in evidence in February when a miniature revival of the " blitz " hit Ernest Neale hard by largely demolishing his premises. We lost our two pillars (spiritual and physical) of the Church ; Bishop Crotty and Edgar Bentley—the former to Hove, the latter to the wilds of North London—but we do occasionally see our " soft-voiced monumental parson," as the latter was so well described in the bulletin. The gay was certainly in the foreground when they stopped the war for a day and Reg. Downes, Gordon Abbott and Bob Marshall all turned up at the Club together. Our hearts were gladdened on another occasion when we were assured that the old visitors' book and a copy of the Charter were now safely deposited in the bank so that our Loving Cup need now be no longer lonely.
Events of interest concerning old members must be chronicled. Ernest Minter resigned the treasurership after having held it for 15 years, and he was chosen Mayor of the Borough for the third year in succession. Lucky Saint Pancras, both Borough and Rotary Club, in having the services of Ernest. Then Tom Hawes celebrated 50 years in the grocery business—a golden anniversary, though Tom says there is not much gold attached to it. May he keep on to the diamond anniversary—and then some! Yet another anniversary which would have had a right royal reception in normal times was Lunch No. 1,000, on October 26th, 1943, but it passed as a once glamorous film star who had become quite " passee " ; whilst our 20th anniversary bulletin on March 28th slipped by almost unnoticed.
But one great event stirred us all—our invasion of Europe on June 6th. In the absence of President Sam, Bill Rose led us in prayer for its success.
To show that we were not yet through the wood the Nazis loosed another weapon on " London and the Southern Counties " on June 15th, and for 80 days and nights (twice as long as Noah had to put up with the rain !) we endured doses of the " doodle-bug." Then we captured the bomb-sites in France and we thought we really were free, but it was not so. Convulsive spasms of VI and V2 still struck us, but we carried on—sure in the light of victory ahead. One of the speakers who addressed us at least twice during the war, Sir Percy Alden, was killed by this latest terror. We feared that Bishop Crotty's son had also gone, but learnt that he was a prisoner of war in Germany. Good news came from another member of the Rotary Club at Woking, but he wishes they would use Christian names and so be less formal. He doesn't agree with Shakespeare, " What's in a name ? "
We are glad that the Ship's Library given by the Club is now installed •on board the s.s. Samcatia. So are they ! We heard that a Rotarian from Winona (our sister club in America) had missed our meeting as he had to get back to camp. We hope that he will establish contact, the first living link in the memories of most of the Club. One vivid, though not living, link was in evidence when Arthur Mortimer presented us with the flag of the Toronto Club which he had just brought back with him.
Those present at the special Rotary Service at St. Paul's Cathedral on October 12th could not but feel that events promised a return of " Peace and all her paths of pleasantness " before another year had rolled by. We have, as a club, never known real peace. We were born under the shadow of the aftermath of World War No. 1, and before we had attained adolescence Work War No. 2 was casting its shadow before. We have now emerged into manhood< and look forward to a period of peace, prosperity and good service. This is the prayer of every one of us ; may it be our firm purpose as well.
The forces of liberation launched against the enemy in June, 1944 gathered speed towards the close of the year, and, in the Spring of 1945, it became evident that the war crisis was rushing towards a conclusion. The sudden rout of the German armies in the east and west was quickly followed by internal collapse in Germany itself and the sensational news of the death of Hitler.
So peace came at last to a war-weary and devastated Europe on May 8th, 1945. We celebrated the occasion in a spirit of sober thankfulness rather than of jubilation and paused for two historic days to pay tribute in thought to those who, in serving their country, had made the supreme sacrifice, and to prepare ourselves to help win the less spectacular but equally desirable victories of peace. Some of us may perhaps be pardoned for a sense of gaiety which took possession of us, but mature reflection quickly convinced us that momentous days of rehabilitation and reconstruction were ahead. In a mood of expectancy, we grew accustomed to the idea of change, and accepted with equanimity the people's verdict in the election of a new Government in July.
One enemy of civilization remained—Japan ; and we steeled ourselves for a prolonged conflict in the Far East. Mercifully, we were spared much suffering by the unexpected surrender of the Japanese war lords—a situation heralded by the use of the first atomic bombs. We were told that the atomic age had arrived, but we were all a little uncertain as to the prospects for mankind, pending a decision as to whether the tremendous possibilities of this new source of power would be available for the welfare of mankind rather than for destruction. However, as citizens and Rotarians, we realised that new doors of opportunity were opening to us, and, appropriately enough, reconstituted Committees got down to business almost immediately afterwards. The moment had surely arrived for Rotary to go into action against the age-old enemies, of fear and want to ensure the dawning of the new day of universal justice,, understanding and peace.
This meeting was held at the Stanhope Institute and it was therefore decided to form a Saint Pancras Inner Wheel Club and to become affiliated to the movement which had recently been founded by Mrs. Golding, the wife of a Manchester Rotarian. The late Mrs. Fox (wife of Rotarian Charles Fox, M.B.E.), was elected Founder President, Mrs. Arthur Mortimer Vice-President, and Mrs. Harold Leverton Secretary. It may be interesting to note that the following were the founder members of the Club :
Mrs. Fox Mrs. Southwick Mrs. Wallace
„ Mortimer ,, Briers ,, Hill
,, H. Leverton ,, Dale „ Jennings
,, Kimber ,, Daniels ,, Saunders
,, Le Lievre ,, Denyer „ Westacott
,, Pilgrim ,, Hadley
Of these, Mrs. Mortimer, Mrs. Le Lievre, Mrs. Briers and Mrs. Daniels are still with the Club and have done much service during these 15 years.
Under the able leadership of our President, who we grieve to say passed away during her year of office, and subsequent Presidents and officers, the Club grew and much service was rendered during the years which followed. Death has removed some of our best members, but we have a memorial to our Founder President in the form of our Presidential badge, presented to us by Rotarian Charles Fox, and our mounted gong from Frank Wallace, in memory of hi& wife, Past-President Mrs. Wallace.
Many and varied speakers came along to our meetings which were held monthly at the Grafton Hotel until the outbreak of the war. Whist drives and dances were organised by our Entertainment Committee at regular intervals and the proceeds were devoted to various charities in Saint Pancras and to deserving individuals. Every Christmas about 40 hampers containing groceries were distributed to needy families who, in practically every case, received no other help. An annual party was organised for a number of aged women who were given tea, entertainment and a parting gift. Hundreds of personal services have been rendered by our members, who perhaps bring a different point of view from men to their work. For example, a number of our members have attended the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital to help repair linen ; coal is given each year to those in need ; the aged and the bedridden have been visited and canteens for the blind and for the Forces have been staffed.
The social side has played a large part in the life of our Club, and members have travelled many miles to attend inter-club meetings and other conferences, where they have made many friends and contacts. Mrs. Le Lievre has also served on the Council of District 13 and was invited to be Chairman of the District, which we considered to be a great honour for our Club. Unfortunately, owing to her late husband's illness, she was unable to accept. Our whist drives and dances were very popular and we learned to know and like the husbands of many of our members whom we had heard so much about but never had the pleasure of meeting before. It was also a pleasure to meet them at many conferences, both district and international.
The Inner Wheel Movement has since 1932 grown into a strong national and international movement and we now have over 200 clubs in Great Britain alone. The Saint Pancras Inner Wheel is proud of the fact that it was an early member of this pioneer women's organisation of which, alas, there are too few.
War has brought many problems to us and it has been difficult to carry on, as members have to travel many miles to attend meetings, but under the capable Presidency of Mrs. Arthur Hoskins a nucleus has been maintained which we hope will once more grow into a large and useful Club. Mrs. Rasey (the wife of a Hampstead Rotarian) is our new President, and is carrying on the work of the Club with energy and we are hoping that, during her year of office peace may come to our country.
Our Club was known in District 13 as one of the most go-ahead and we should like to achieve that distinction again. This, however, can only happen if new members are enrolled. There will be a great deal to do after the war in which the help of women will be needed, and the members of the Club sincerely trust that many wives of Saint Pancras Rotarians will join us and enjoy the friendship of our Club and feel that they are doing something to help in this, distressed world.
During the first year of the Club we had a very beautifully toned Club Bell on a Stand given us ; this was a gift of Rotarian L. G. Sloan, the President that year of the London Rotary Club. This Bell is a constant reminder to our members of the way in which the London Rotary Club gave their time, experience and gifts in helping new Clubs in District 13 to get on their feet.
Soon we had a large Rotary Wheel with the President's name on it ; this was given by our late member Charles Palmer, the genial manager of the Midland Grand Hotel. For special occasions he had it wired up, fitted dozens of small electric lamps, and it looked beautiful with its red, white and blue lamps " all lit up."
It was at the first annual general meeting of the Club that the Founder President—Harold Trill—presented the Club with a Loving Cup. It was the sort of gift that Harold would be delighted to give. When he presented it to the Club, he explained the ritual of the passing of the Cup. All was done in the same way as you would have expected Mr. Pickwick to have done it. Harold loved Rotary, Rotarians loved Harold, and we all think of him when the Loving Cup is passed round. Harold's love of order was also manifest in two other gifts to the Club, the one a beautifully tooled and coloured Secretary's leather portfolio inscribed with the names of the Presidents, and the other a fountain pen which, alas, has been lost.
Most visiting Rotarians admire our Service Box. It takes the shape of a Rotary Wheel and was designed by P.-P. Charles Fox, M.B.E., made at his works, and presented by him to the Club. Our neighbouring Club of Islington, which our members helped to found, were very anxious to have one similar to that of their mother Club and Charles supplied their request.
Our Founder Treasurer, Rotarian W. G. Jeremy, was always ready to help financially any specially hard-up case brought to the notice of the Club, therefore it was not surprising that after his much regretted death we found that he had left a bequest of £500 to the Club. The interest on the money has in the first place been used to defray the education expenses of the Roberts children. Others in this book have written about them, but I think that if the starting in life of these two young people was the only job our Club had done, it would have been worthwhile starting the Club.
Prominent in the propagation and practice of Rotary principles in the Borough during the early days of the Club were two stalwarts and close friends, both of whom became Past-Presidents of the Club—Leonard Day and John Heal. Small wonder then, when on the tragic death of Leonard, who was taken ill at a Club luncheon and who died shortly afterwards, that his friend and colleague, John, should present the Club with a handsome Memorial to him. The beauty and dignity of this memorial keep the memory of Leonard fresh to all who knew him and inspire his successors to maintain the steadfast principles for which he stood. John Heal's passion for deeds and not words is revealed by another of his gifts, which is a speaker's warning lamp. It is operated by the President and shows a green light three minutes before " time " and a red light at " time." No nonsense about John.
Another champion of regularity and order in the proceedings of the Club and a Past-Vice-Chairman of District 13—Rotarian Oliver Jones, J.P.—presented the Club with an Ivory Gavel of classic design and workmanship. This " emblem of power " reminds us of the influence for good which orderly and organised effort in the Club can produce and for which Oliver consistently stands in his long and distinguished membership of Rotary.
When we arrive at the Ambassadors Hotel, on the wall outside we see a Notice Board stating that the Rotary Club meets there each Tuesday. In the Clubroom we see a list of the Past-Presidents on a nicely polished board. At the top table there is the President's Chair with its beautifully carved Rotary Wheel. Ask the majority of the members where these came from and who keeps them in such splendid condition; few would be able to answer because P.-P. Kingsley Maile made these gifts and keeps the boards up-to-date so unobtrusively and efficiently that we never seem to get a chance to thank him. It certainly seems that Kingsley never lets his right hand know what his left hand is doing and it is- typical of him that he gave the Chair at the conclusion of his year of office and that, in fact, he never did sit in it as President of the Club.
Another silent worker of good deeds for the Club is P.-P. Ernest Neale. He made and presented the Club with an Album for the photographs of the Past-Presidents. Kingsley Maile's job is to obtain the photographs, quite a difficult job, as our P.-P.'s are very shy and retiring. Many visitors admire our Visitors' Book, again the work and gift of Ernest, who you will have guessed is a " bookmaker " of the right kind. When he was President he gave us a very nice Table Clock, and being very shy he would just move the clock a little nearer the speaker instead of whispering " Time's up."
Which of us who knew our late P.-P. Sam Watson, the jovial and convivial, could fail to guess that the inscribed Tankard, which ordinarily stands on the President's table, was his gift to the Club, reminding us of Sam's *' roast beef and ale of old England " manner and of his open-hearted generosity.
Nobody seems to know how we came by the Reading Stand which is very useful to the Speaker for his notes. I have not heard of any other Club losing one so 1 presume it was a gift or else was purchased by the Club. The three minute sand glass, which has unfortunately been broken (by the Hotel Cat ! ! ?) was very good when members had to give the report of their Committee, but I am afraid that some, including the writer, were watching the sand run out rather than listening, so as to be the first in calling out " Time ! Time ! " Other Worldly Possessions are the Cupboard and Bookcase. The Cupboard is very useful, but the Bookcase was purchased with the idea of a Club Library. I was appointed the Club Librarian—why me ?—and then given about four books—the only one of interest was promptly borrowed and never returned. Up to the present you could not call the Library stunt a success. The light oak Ballot Box is an assurance that our proceedings are carried out with a proper decorum.
The genius of Alfred Southwick as a carver has caused a beauty and dignity to be apparent in the Attendance Board carved to fit the circular attendance cards, and also in the stands which support the Rotary Banners which have been presented to the Club from time to time. In happier days these Banners and our other possessions, prominent among which are the national flags of our own country and the U.S.A., adorn our lunch room and remind us of the beauty within and the associations without, which are the constant delight and pride of the Club.
What then of the future ? Our tasks are known to us and the machinery for carrying them out has been placed at our disposal. Leadership is not lacking. What then is the plan for the future ? The four objects of Rotary must surely provide it. It has been said that the Rotary movement is too small in itself to be really a power to achieve a better world. Think for a moment ! There are over a quarter of a million men in Rotary, of different classifications, in over 5,000 Clubs spread over 50 countries in the world. If each man is a true Rotarian, practising the ideals of Rotary in his business or whatever sphere he may be called to, the cumulative effect must be enormous. Surely upon this we can build our faith and plan our future, within the aims and objects of our movement.
If we are to develop acquaintance as an opportunity for service, we must see firstly that our membership is of the right quality and that no obstacle remains in the path of fellowship among this membership. This is the task of the Club Service Committee, who place fellowship high up in their list of obligations. Information and membership Sub-Committees, by careful attention to their respective responsibilities, will make fellowship a natural condition and assure the Club of the right basis for the furtherance of activities in its other departments.
The second object in Rotary has much that is personal to individual members, and whilst the Club atmosphere can foster and encourage proper conditions, each Rotarian has a responsibility for the development of this object which can only be borne by himself. In the guidance of youth towards the selection of a vocation, however, the corporate assistance of the members of a Rotary club can provide a guiding hand which is beyond the power of almost any other body, and this is in the forefront of the programme of the Vocational Service Committee. To create an Advisory Committee whose members are drawn from youth organisations, from educational authorities and from the business and professional elements of the Borough, is their immediate task, and progress to this end has already been made.
Then, in the examination of the relationship of employer and employee, this Committee has a task where judgment and perspective in decision and in recommendation can introduce a calming influence, which, properly used, can be appreciated by both parties to a necessary partnership which is liable to be endangered by a lack of appreciation on both sides of the other's difficulties.
The third object of Rotary—Community Service—has long been the pride of this Club in that here lies the opportunity to serve our fellow citizens to the best of our ability. From the past we derive much encouragement for the future, and predecessors have set a high standard in the work they undertook. We desire to be led by the weight of experience rather than by a spirit of speculative experiments.
The work among youth, so well established at the Samuel Lithgow Social Centre, must be maintained, and it is hoped that, in due course, more suitable accommodation will be available to the growing needs of young people in this part of the Borough. The Borough Youth Council, on which the Club is represented, enables close contact to be maintained with the various youth organisations in the Borough, and through this channel many opportunities of service will arise.
Problems of housing are many, and we are sure that those of our members who serve on the Borough Council will deal ably with the major part of the problem. The great work of the Saint Pancras House Improvement Society, started by Father Jellicoe, and well supported in the past, must retain our support in the days that lie ahead.
The motor services which have, in the past, offered help to various charitable organisations at their annual street collections, may be further extended, as there is frequent need for such offers of help—particularly to aged and invalid persons who need personal transport.
The excellent work of providing wireless for the bedridden, started with the intention of proceeding on a national basis, has become inactive owing to the war, but will resume " operations " when conditions permit. It is possible that this effort may soon be restarted, working with the newly-formed Saint Pancras Old People's Welfare Committee.
The work of prison visitation carried on in the past still needs our help to-day, and I am sure there will be a need to encourage and help those who, after their past failures, wish to restart life with a new beginning.
Through the instrumentality of the Cripples' Outing, the pleasure of giving joy to others who suffer physical defects has been an active feature of the Club, and we hope that the temporary suspension owing to the war will soon be terminated.
Our work is often that of co-operating with and co-ordinating existing organisations. In this sphere it is hoped to inaugurate a Community Centre in the Borough as a Peace Memorial. The proposed building would offer a suitable meeting place and central accommodation for all organisations who are working in the interests of the community. From this Centre would radiate the four existing youth centres as well as the various other organisations working for the benefit of the community in the Borough.
Briefly I have endeavoured to outline our future plan of action, and I am sure each member of the Club will contribute his share. Such, then, is the aspiration of Community Service, such are the tasks for worthy men to bring to fruition.
In making their contribution to the fourth object of Rotary, the Club's International Service Committee feel that, while international goodwill must be based on a thorough understanding of each other by Great Britain and the U.S.A., this task is the least difficult of all international contacts owing to the common language of the two countries. With other countries the task is not so easy, and on our side it is largely due to ignorance both of the languages and of the countries themselves. It might have been expected that the establishment of good relations with our guests from the Netherlands would have proved easy, since so many live at the Headquarters of the Club, but this has not been the case, and goodwill on the part of this Club has up to now had only negative results.
Since it is impossible for every Club to cover the whole field of international understanding it is intended that efforts should be concentrated on improving relations with the Dutch, while in no way relaxing co-operation with friends in the U.S.A. and elsewhere. To this end it is proposed to obtain Dutch speakers to enable the point of view of the Netherlands to be obtained, and, as soon as conditions permit, to contact intimately at least one Dutch Club, so that ideas can be freely exchanged. It may be that this will be uphill work. If so, success will be all the more worthwhile when it is attained. At least, it seems preferable to dissipating our energies by " spreading ourselves too thin."
It is desirable that official visits to and from Clubs abroad should again be organised ; while individual members should be encouraged to visit Continental Clubs on their travels. During the war we have made many personal contacts with visitors from overseas and every effort will be made to see that these are maintained. We are already in contact with some prisoners of war, and while the war lasts we should correspond with Service men who visit us, and with their parents.
Having read the foregoing pages, you will, we are sure, be convinced that Saint Pancras has no intention of resting on any laurels it may have earned in the past, but intends continuing its efforts for the betterment of the Club and the community at home and abroad, and we look forward with keen anticipation to those younger men who are serving with the Forces and others who are temporarily out of London returning to our midst, so that we may all, without exception, take our place in the worth-while looking forward programme of the Club and the community which we serve. We proudly show our Rotary buttons ; let us see that each one of us is making his contribution to the aims and objects of Rotary.
YEARS OF DISCRETION
HERE'S TO THE PAST—
rich in memory and achievement—to the men of vision and of action who within this Club have striven to serve their fellows —to the dear memory of those whose friendship we prized and who have passed to the higher service—to the high lights—the great deeds—the lovely memories of the past years.
HERE'S TO THE PRESENT—
to the good comradeship of us all—to the spirit which can take or give hard knocks and laugh at them all—to the friendly grip and the ready sympathy which is always there at need—to the true desire to serve our people and our creed. To the fellows who individually and collectively make our Club a unity.
HERE'S TO THE FUTURE—
dim in prospect—full of tremendous possibilities for good or for evil. To Hope and Courage and Clear Thinking—Here's to you— the men who carry on, to your steady service and high success— the knowledge of work well done, the hope of better things to come.