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Southport Rotary Club
Years of
Early History

Early History

Rotary in Southport since 1922!


On Thursday 22nd June 1922, a meeting was held at the Royal Hotel, Promenade, Southport when a dozen businessmen from the town resolved to form a Rotary Club. Their occupations showed the broad range of talents which Rotary encompassed, then as now, with a solicitor, a banker, a newspaper editor; the proprietors of a music shop, a laundry, and an ironmongers; an organist, a confectioner, a builder, and an architect.

This first meeting was attended by three members from the Liverpool Rotary Club, which sponsored the foundation of the new Club.

It was proposed to form the Southport Rotary Club immediately, and the motion was passed unanimously. Southport became, in time, Club Number 3, in District Number 1 which spanned the country from Mersey to Humber. The founding President was Mr R W Brighouse, Solicitor, of Lord Street.

90 Years of Service Early History Marking 90 Years

Where Next?

Service To The Town

Rotary in Southport since 1922


From the earliest days of the Club, the ethos was to provide service to town and community. Our Club’s first public fund raising event was the collection of a Mile of Pennies on Boxing Day, 1922, and the proceeds of this were donated to the Southport Infirmary.

In 1923, the Club organised a charity raffle in aid of the Children’s Sanatorium. Rotarian G Wray, of Holland Motors, donated an Alvis car, and there were three gold watches as consolation prizes. Tickets were sold at one shilling each (5p in modern money) and following the official draw, under the supervision of the police (!) on March 15th 1923, a cheque for £1,700 was given to the Chairman of the Sanatorium.

Our Club Grows

Rotary in Southport since 1922


From a modest beginning, membership of the Club grew by leaps and bounds. By January 1923 the total had reached 81, and by 1924 there were approximately one hundred Rotarians. The principal aim of the Club, then as now, is the giving of service to the community. To ensure that members participated actively in Club events, there was a careful totting-up of attendances. Missing four consecutive meetings without having given an adequate reason rendered the defaulter liable to lose his membership!


Even in those early days, price rises were a problem. In February 1923, the Queens Hotel, where the Club was then meeting, increased the price for lunch from 2/6d to 2/9d, a 10% increase! (Don’t even try to convert it to modern money, it will make you very upset!)

Also In Southport


The foundation of Southport Rotary was not the only major event of the time: Southport Pleasureland opened in July 1922!

Helping Young People

Rotary in Southport since 1922


From the earliest days of the Club, providing opportunities for Young People has been at the top of the agenda. In July 1924, members of the Club hosted a group of disadvantaged youngsters (“poor children” in the non-PC speak of the times) who had been nominated by the members of Wigan Rotary Club. The youngsters were entertained to lunch and tea, with excursions to points of interest around the town. Later in the same year, a party of children from France were provided with accommodation and entertainment; many letters of thanks were received. But the big event of the time was the foundation of a Boys’ Club, headquartered in a room at the Bury Road School. About sixty boys were chosen, to begin with, with meetings every Friday evening under the watchful eye of Gym Master Mr Moscrop. Rotarians volunteered on a rota basis to provide support and assistance.

Twice a year, each boy received tickets to bring two relatives along for a hotpot supper and concert, and many of the Rotarians attended too. During the summer months, a fortnight’s Camp was held at Lathom Park, with Rotarians assisting during the afternoons and evenings. The Camp was under the supervision of a Scout Master from Ormskirk, Mr Mahood.

A Variety Of Backgrounds

Rotary in Southport since 1922


One of the original principles of Rotary was that in order to achieve a wide-ranging and balanced membership, new Rotarians would be assigned a job category, with entry only possible if there were vacancies in that particular category. Although this sounds exclusive, the range of categories was extremely wide. The end result was a membership comprising people who, in one way or another, had knowledge and experience of almost any situation which might arise.


It is interesting to look back at the occupations of some of the early members - taken from the 1925 membership list:

Artist, Antique Dealer, Butcher, Builder, China Dealer, Confectioner, Dancing Master, Dentist, Engineers of varying disciplines, Fruiterer, Glazier, Income Tax Collector, Laundry Proprietor, Music Dealer, Mineral Water Manufacturer, Publicity Agent, Solicitor, Stockbroker, Singing Master, Surgeon, Toy Manufacturer, Tutor, Typewriter Dealer, and Upholsterer. And, as they say, many more besides!

Truly an eclectic collection.

Meeting Places

Rotary in Southport since 1922


From its inception in 1922, the Club had met at the Hotel Victoria but in April 1933 members moved to the Royal Hotel, on the Promenade. Lunch meetings were held at the Royal until just after the start of the War, when hotels were requisitioned by the Government. One of the Club’s founder members, Rtn Percy Woodhead, volunteered the use of his Cafe, Woodheads, in Chapel Street. And meetings continued there until the Cafe closed in 1959. In January 1960, the Club moved to the Clifton Hotel, on the Promenade, next door to the earlier meeting place, the Royal Hotel. Currently, in our ninetieth year, we are meeting at the Royal Clifton Hotel. At least we should know how to get there, by now!