Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022

The First 100 Years - 1885 - 1985



An all male establishment must expect from time to time to be accused of discriminating against the fairer sex. On the other hand we don't feel it unfair that we males are not welcomed to the Mothers Union, or invited to join the Soroptimists let alone the Association of B.&P.W.

As far back as 1935, believe it or not, the addition of lady members was discussed. The suggestion was rejected as "facilities were already provided". I'm not quite sure what they had in mind.

In 1949 a Ladies Rest Room was planned and discussed. In the following year an open ballot was taken but the proposition failed. Two years later Alan Gotelee proposed and Harold Hooper (I wouldn't have judged him as a feminist) seconded another attempt to be rejected. For almost 20 years the club has been open to ladies in the afternoon for tea. Drinks are available in the Adam Room in the early evening. The bar is available to accompanied ladies on Saturday evenings. In practice very few ladies choose to avail themselves of these facilities. I can't remember when I last saw a lady visitor in the building at any of these times. In 1969 the Suggestion Book sought permission for seats to be put into the hall for waiting ladies. I am sure any lady visitor is made welcome and due courtesy is paid to her without embarrassment.

The Sex Discrimination Act was put to the test on the first day of the new legislation. A young lady journalist phoned Geoffrey Utting offering herself for membership. The Secretary informed her of the procedure. She must first obtain a proposer and then a seconder, but we heard no more from the lady applicant.

Ladies have always been most welcome at Ladies Nights, mixed private dinner parties and of course the Centenary Celebration Dinner.

For the past 8 years our administration has been carried out by a duet of most capable ladies. It would not be an exaggeration to say that never before has the day to day administration been carried out more efficiently. Rosemary Cocksedge is our Secretary. She was joined as Manager by Kate Wiseman, a young lady qualified in management and catering who has been responsible for bringing our catering up to date and adding the feminine touch to the decorations. Kate went on to larger challenges. We now have in the driving seat another lady. Yvonne Mawford who occupies the residential flat. So there is no sex discrimination in the Management!