Gathering of Past 88 Chairmen, 1995

This photo, kindly supplied by Tom Cathcart, is of the past Chairmen who attended the 60th Charter evening on 6 October 1995.

It was held at the Hotel St Nicholas, and included our Dutch guests from Aalten 88 for our regular twinning weekend, held at the same time.

As Tom says, they are standing in date order (nearly):

Back row (L-R): Martin Johnson, Geoff Hill, Jeremy Woodcock, John Poppleton, Mick Thorpe, Geoff Hesleton, Tom Pindar, Ron Huggins.
Middle row (L-R): Mike Holliday, Richard Gretton, Andrew Boyes, Richard Grunwell, John Edwards, Peter Wilkinson, Peter Harriott, Richard Appleton.
Front row (L-R): Andrew Pindar, Steve Brown, Nigel Sheppard, Ian Cocker, David Duggleby, Tom Cathcart, Barry Denton.

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Scarborough 88 AGM 1991

Many thanks to Tom Cathcart who has given us this excellent photo of 88’s AGM in April 1991. This was just before TC handed over his chain of office to DD.

Back Row (L-R): Chris Clark, Nigel Sheppard, Roger Williams, Robin Gray, Ian Rhodes, Eric Jagger, Nick Taylor.
Middle Row (L-R): Neil Beresford, Ian Cocker, David McIntosh, Ian Burnett, Stuart Baines, Peter Calow, Tony Richardson.
Front Row (L-R): Eddie Gregory, Simon Ward, Ian Brabbs, David Duggleby (Vice Chairman), Tom Cathcart (Chairman), John Edwards (President), Peter Wilkinson, Richard Appleton.

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Contents of the Digital Edition

Introduction to the Digital Edition

Front Cover

Letter from Louis Marchesi

Title Page



Chapter 1: The First Year 1934-35

Chapter 2: From National Conference 1937, to International Conflict 1939

Chapter 3: The Ladies, 1937-39

Chapter 4: The Difficult Years, 1946-52

Chapter 5: The Developing Years, 1953-56

Chapter 6: The Second Scarborough Conference, 1956

Chapter 7: Projects, 1957-61

Chapter 8: The Third Scarborough Conference, 1962

Chapter 9: Further Projects, 1963-68

Chapter 10: International, the Three 88s

Chapter 11: Roundabout

Chapter 12: What Now?

Appendix I: Officers of the Scarborough Table

Appendix II: Members of the Scarborough Table holding National Office

Appendix III: Community Service

Appendix IV: The Area


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Chapter 10

International, the Three 88s

TABLE 88 HOLLAND is at Aalten. Table 88 France is in Monaco. The Charter Nights of these tables fell in 1963 and 1964, and it was but right and proper that Table 88 Scarborough should be represented. The following accounts are by Denis Chapman and Mick Thorpe respectively and are here presented in unexpurgated form.

In March 1963 Scarborough Round Table was invited to send representatives to Aalten for the Charter Dinner of Round Table 88 Holland.

Arnold Wilson was Chairman at that time and Mick Thorpe Secretary. A party of seven Tablers, Arnold Wilson, Mick Thorpe, John Ellender, Tom Pindar, Geoff Rhodes, Denis Chapman and Colin Sedgwick, agreed to go for one week. They were to stay two nights at Delft, a useful centre for Rotterdam and district, two nights with Aalten Tablers in their homes and two nights at Amsterdam.

Fellowship was engendered in the party prior to departure, when all decided to learn Dutch, Tom Pindar supplying the gramophone records. Some four or five evenings were spent in various Tablers’ homes and it is believed that the second record was put on the turntable at least once.

Tablers’ wives, who viewed the trip with great suspicion, agreed to drive their husbands to Hull to catch the night boat to Rotterdam. After dinner on board Mick Thorpe suggested a game of pontoon and promptly depleted the others’ stock of spending money. Everyone retired early following a question asked of Tom, ‘What’s the matter?’ Reply, ‘I think I’m getting slightly xxxx actually’. [61]

We left the boat early the next morning and had no sooner set foot on dry land than we were to witness a most serious road accident. A lorry, travelling between 20 and 30 mph. passed the bus queue we were about to join, lost its tailboard, which swung round and hit a woman standing in the queue. After this we checked into the hotel at Delft. The following day we went into Rotterdam sightseeing which we marked by lunch at the top of the Euromast, the forerunner of London’s Post Office Tower.

We had arranged to meet our hosts at Arnhem, after which we all set off in cars at high speed for Aalten, calling for dinner at Doesburg. There were t8 members of the Aalten Table, all of whom spoke English, together with their wives. Needless to say, nobody in the Scarborough Table spoke Dutch.

Eventually on arrival at Aalten we were dropped off at various Tablers’ homes. Mick Thorpe and Denis Chapman stayed with Dr. Hans Hartman and his wife Gees (Je) who had four boys, Hans 10, Burt 8, Yoop 7 and Fred 4. Denis’s and Mick’s initial meeting with their hosts was assisted by their Dutch language lessons; not that they could speak Dutch, but they found Hans and Gees had taken an identical course in English, so at least they could get a laugh out of the subject matter.

The following morning at breakfast, which in itself was an education, Fred aged 4 was to demonstrate how Europeans learn languages, by reciting the alphabet, two-times and three-times tables and colours in English, Dutch, German and French. The day was spent sightseeing, including a trip to a castle the size of Windsor, reputed to be occupied by a member of the Dutch 41 Club.

That evening was Charter Night. It was held in an hotel outside Aalten, set high up in some pinewoods at Montferland. There were about 87 present. Denis Chapman was fortunately seated next to the secretary of the Dusseldorf Table, who taught English and translated most of the speeches.

The procedure was almost identical to any English Charter Night. There was a presentation to the Burgomaster of Rotterdam, which most Dutch Tablers thought a little needless, as Burgomasters are not apparently held in as [62] high esteem as are Mayors in this country, probably because they are paid officials.

After the meal the Scarborough Tablers were invited to the top table, where they were entertained with jokes in English by some of the Dutch National Council members.

The following day Aalten Tablers insisted on driving us to Amsterdam via the Zuider Zee, or Ijsselmeer, as it had then become. We arrived in Amsterdam in time for dinner, after which the Aalten Tablets left for home and the Scarborough Tables set about examining the night life, all but Pindar who had gone off to visit a friend! Needless to say, we saw Canal Street, and Colin was all set to buy a shop in Bar Street when we got back if he could find the right staff

The following evening Geoff Rhodes, Colin, John Ellender and Denis Chapman went to a night club where there was a floor show that Denis, unbeknown to the others, had seen before in the South of France. Table goodwill was a little fractured some 90 minutes later when he told Colin ‘they were all men’. After some moments of disbelief this was confirmed and the party left hurriedly.

The next day we left for home. Denis Chapman bought a very large bunch of carnations as a peace offering for his wife, which all on the dock at Hull claimed they could see before they could distinguish the boat.

In September 1964, an invitation was extended by R.T. 88 France for two representatives to attend their Charter celebrations. It was accepted with alacrity by Geoff Winn and Mick Thorpe, particularly as the venue was Monte Carlo, and the name of the new table ‘Round Table Monaco’. The jet flight to Nice was probably the first occasion on which Scarborough Tablers had taken to the air to attend a Table meeting.

The Charter celebrations lasted about two days. The presentation of the Charter itself was made in the afternoon in the presence of the President of R.T. France and representatives of Table from Belgium, Italy, France and R.T.B.I. At the exchange of banners, there was a particularly warm burst of applause for the Scarborough banner, and the link between the two 88s was made. [63]

The celebration banquet the same evening was a magnificent affair. Tickets were £6.10 each. The Scarborough Tablers were joined by two other English Tablers, and the Bluebell Girls who were featured in the international cabaret were all British. The following day high jinks continued at the Monte Carlo Lido, but £2 for a swim was too much for the Yorkshiremen, who splashed about privately from a free public beach.

Friendships formed during the visit were cemented two years later when two Monegasque Tablers accepted the return invitation to visit Scarborough for the Millennium Week (May 1966). Keeping us in doubt by not replying to letters, the visitors eventually arrived before they were expected, but were accommodated at the Paragon Hotel by Colin Sedgwick and looked after for the week by a variety of Scarborough Tablers.

Efforts to interest them in Community Service have not yet borne fruit; like nearly all French Tables they are solely a fellowship club, and a pretty exclusive one at that.

Scarborough Millennium Celebrations, 966-1966
The return visit mentioned by Mick Thorpe took place from the 23rd to the 28th May 1966. Raymond Saramito and Philippe Richon came to Scarborough to represent Round Table Monaco T.R.F. No. 88. The following was the programme arranged for them:
Monday, 23rd
7.45 p.m. at the Spa Orchestral Concert Halle Orchestra conducted by Sir John Barbirolli.
Tuesday, 24th
12.45 p.m. at the Victoria Hotel Scarborough Round Table Lunch Meeting. Banner Presentation.
Wednesday, 25th
3 p.m. at the Foreshore Millennium Carnival Procession.
8 p.m. at the Athletic Ground, Seamer Road Grand Military Tattoo.
Thursday, 26th
1 p.m. Terry’s Restaurant, York. York Round Table Lunch Meeting.
Afternoon sightseeing in York.
8 p.m. Queens Hotel, Micklegate, York. York Ebor Round Table Dinner Meeting. [64]
Friday, 27th
7 p.m. Meet at Pavilion Hotel for tour of forest and moors including Bickley oil rig. Fylingdales Early Warning Station and selection of English pubs.
Saturday, 28th
8 p.m. at Wykeham Grange Farm Scarborough Round Table Barbecue and Dance.

Return Visit from Aalten
A welcome 3-day visit from the Aalten Table was made in May 1964, when four of its members and their wives, Ad and Yvonne Bulten, Henk and Riek Bruins, Henk and Riek Otten and Wim and Yvonne Westerveld, were the guests of members of the Scarborough Table.

Friendships have continued and there have been subsequent visits to and from Aalten by individual members, ex-members and wives. [65]

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Chapter 8

The Third Scarborough Conference, 1962

AT THE BEGINNING of the present decade the size of the annual Round Table Conferences had grown to such proportions that there were not many towns in the country large enough to house them. Doubts were even being expressed whether Scarborough was big enough. Similar doubts have been expressed from time to time by other organisations, not excepting the larger political parties, but ‘What I said at Scarborough’, has nevertheless become part of the oratorical stock-in-trade of Prime and other Ministers irrespective of their persuasions.

As, by this time, R.T. Conferences had reached the 3,000 mark, these doubts were perhaps reasonable. Nevertheless and in spite of them, Scarborough’s reputation for first-class hospitality and entertainment, and the Table’s notoriety for the originality of its welcome, brought Conference to the town for the third time.

Aberdeen was the venue of the 1960 Conference, and to Aberdeen went five members of the Scarborough Table and their wives with the object of inviting the 1961 Conference to Scarborough. The contingent comprised Neville and Kath Gray, Geoff and Sheila Heselton, Tom and Margery Pindar, Colin and Lillian Sedgwick and Basil and Mary Young, all of whom were to play a large part in the work ahead.

‘We stayed,’ wrote Basil Young, ‘in a small hotel outside which was a large church clock. Geoff and Sheila hardly slept a wink during the four nights because of the noise when it struck the hours, halves and quarters.’

When the invitation was made, Scarborough had a competitor in Blackpool, and to Blackpool Conference went in 1961. Scarborough’s invitation was accepted for 1962 [46] and the Table, therefore, had two years to prepare for what was to be by far its largest R.T. Conference.

The Scarborough Kipper Machine
To Blackpool, too, went a large Scarborough contingent to extend the customary formal invitation and indulge in the customary informal publicity activities associated with it. It so happened that, if the Table were to participate in the 1961 Scarborough Dutch Festival, a successor to the late lamented dragon would have to be found. Here was a chance to kill two birds with one stone.

The Scarborough Kipper Machine was born. A fearful, complicated and colourful contraption, it made its way by road to Blackpool to participate in the final conference cabaret. Perhaps with memories of Torquay in mind (or, on the other hand, perhaps not) it did not fling kippers. At one end it took into its bowels the National President and at the other extruded him in kippered form. Then it came home and won a prize in the Dutch Festival.

The machine’s progress as it was towed from Scarborough to Blackpool and back is no doubt still remembered along the route. By the time it got to Leeds, where Arthur Holmes and the late John Ellender made a stop in Roundhay Park on the way back, it was surrounded by a crowd of admiring children who found themselves the richer by several real kippers, and a Yorkshire Post photographer did justice to the scene. A pleasing sequel was the subsequent presentation of a basket of fruit to Brian Gooch’s mother-in-law for allowing the erection of the machine in her back garden.

The Conference
‘In October 1960 Neville Gray was appointed Conference Chairman,’ writes Geoff Heselton, ‘with Basil Young as Secretary and a supporting committee, many of whom had had experience of the 1956 Conference. Basil then moved to Thirsk, and some reorganisation took place. Eventually Geoff Heselton became Secretary, Arnold Wilson Treasurer, and Basil Young undertook the mammoth task of Registration from his office in Thirsk.

‘Meetings were held almost weekly and an enormous organisation was built up, using all the available Scarborough Tablers and many from Area 15. It was recognised that the [47] numbers would be greater than ever before, and the Spa was brought into service. The bandstand was covered over by marquees, and the decor and presentation of the buffet supper on the Friday night had to be seen to be believed. Art students from the College of Art were enlisted to assist, and the Grand Hall was transformed by massive mobiles suspended from the roof and by many other decorations throughout the building.

‘Nothing was left to chance, and the detailed programme and instructions with which the committee coped (in addition to their normal jobs) was quite staggering. Golf competitions, children’s tea parties and a concert by Sooty, the Annual Meeting at the Futurist Theatre and quick lunches arranged at a number of cafes along the Foreshore, the Arcadia Theatre for the Ladies’ Circle Annual Meeting and separate cafes for their lunch, meeting rooms for this National Committee or that National Committee, rooms at the Public Library for informal discussions, cabaret artistes for the Ball on the Spa and the second function at the Grand Hotel.

‘Outside caterers had to be brought in to provide the meal at the Rendezvous Club, Cayton Bay, and transport also had to be laid on. At the Fancy Dress Party at the Spa both the Grand Hall and the Ballroom and every other inch of available space were in use, and the Corporation catering facilities were stretched to their limit.

‘Finally, car parking arrangements had to be made, and one of the amusing sidelights was that after it was all over, the Conference Chairman and Secretary could be seen early in the morning wearily collecting up the red lamps. Everyone else had gone and left them to it.’

Thirsk and the Conference
Basil Young’s removal to Thirsk, which took place little more than a year before the date of the Conference, had one far-reaching effect. It brought the Thirsk Table right into the front line, and in fact the Registrations, all 3.500 of them (ten times the number of 25 years earlier) were dealt with there. Jim Lister at Thirsk became Deputy Registration Officer, and eventually the members of the Thirsk Table and their wives were all involved in checking, sorting and indexing the forms. [48]

‘Then,’ writes Basil Young, ‘when tickets were printed and received, Thirsk members spent many hours in my office making up the envelopes. The hours worked by them and their wives on registration easily exceeded four figures.

‘Later they helped to man the Registration Office at the Royal Hotel during the period of the Conference. An early arrival at the Royal was Bryan Coker from Grays, Essex, who later in the Conference was elected Vice-President of R.T.B.I. He helped to set up the Registration Office, and as a result of the friendship that resulted, he visited Thirsk Charter Anniversary in November 1963 when I was Table Chairman and he was National President.

In appreciation of the tremendous assistance given by Thirsk, the Scarborough Table, at a joint meeting held later at Pickering, presented the Thirsk Table with a meeting-place plaque lest, as is most unlikely, Thirsk should ever forget the consequences of Basil Young’s removal thither.

We have hitherto looked at the Table floor shows more or less through the eyes of the beholder. Through the eyes of Michael Plows we are privileged to go back stage and see what really happened at the end of the 1962 Conference:

‘The part of the Cabaret that really sticks out in my mind was not the main Cabaret but the single item at the end of the Fancy Dress Ball. It was a fine example of how to get away with something when you never actually do anything that you intended to do in the first place.

‘The idea was to shoot an aeroplane down with a boomerang. It would then crash and the retiring National President would emerge. The rehearsals which took place at Colin Sedgwick’s went reasonably well, and a few days before the Conference all was well. The props were a little more difficult. The construction of the plane, which was not easy, went well at Brian Heaps’s and gradually took shape after a lot of experiments. The main problem was the electrics. The Table expert, Dennis Hart, conceived a plan to link batteries in series under the wing to light up the plane for a matter of seconds. Amazingly it worked, but the weight of the batteries was too much for the wing, and in any case the light wasn’t bright enough. After several evenings following [49] up this system we decided to have a spotlight.

‘The plane, which was to run down a wire, missing by inches the giant-sized roundabout hanging from the ceiling, was tested and all was well. Sound effects were recorded.

‘The time came for the Cabaret. As it was rather late in the evening all taking part had imbibed pretty well. We also hadn’t allowed for the noise and chatter in the hall. We couldn’t hear the record.

‘The natives tottered on the stage after a third of the record had played. The kangaroo hopped on as his footsteps on the record hopped off. The witch-doctor jumped on and the white hunter showed he could throw a boomerang. The plane came down; the spotlight couldn’t keep up with it, and it crashed into the side of the stage not with the explosion that was supposed to take place but with a thud that put some lights out. The witch-doctor was thrown into a tub, but in his efforts to avoid the sharp spear he was holding didn’t protect his head and was knocked unconscious.

‘What happened then is a little vague, for when I came to I was alone on the stage. I tottered off feeling very much the worse for wear. Of the rest of the Cabaret I can remember very little. Surprisingly enough, everyone thought that the whole thing was marvellous and didn’t realise what had been happening.’

We need not, however, leave the scene at this point as Michael Plows left it. The story was continued and concluded by George Ramsay in News and Views the following month:

‘From behind the wreckage emerged Pied Piper – alias National President Colin Firth. At the same time from the far end of the hall entered the Brighton Old Crock, to pick up Colin as he stood thumbing a lift in the centre of the floor. Amid fearful backfiring, and with encouraging pushes, the convoy disappeared towards Brighton 1963; and so, to the strains of Auld Lang Syne, officially ended Scarborough 1962.’ [50]

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Introduction to the Digital Edition

WE ARE ALL VERY GRATEFUL to Mick Thorpe who has very kindly loaned a copy of Scarborough 88: The Story of Scarborough Round Table 1934 to 1968 in order that we can create a digital record of this early history of Round Table in Scarborough.

The book was written by Maurice Horspool, Tabler, historian, author and, very clearly, a gifted writer. He edits the story with a light and deft touch, and a gentle humour mingled with a lot of leg-pulling.

It is 92 pages (or so) long, plus illustrations. I say ‘or so’ because, with typical editorial humour, a bound-in preface to the Index deals with a slight glitch in the page referencing.

The volume was printed and published by G A Pindar and Sons Ltd in Scarborough in 1969.

Mick tells me that he had a large number of copies made when he became National President of Round Table. During his Presidential Year (1971-72) he visited many Yorkshire Tables, and when he was offered hospitality for his visits in the form of staying at the home of a Tabler, he would include in his thanks a copy of the book for his host.

Mick has loaned one of the few remaining hard-backed copies to create this digital edition. The copies he had made to give away were softback bound. He recalls that they cost him ‘about half-a-crown each’. For reference, that is 2/6- or two shillings and sixpence, which amounts to 12.5p in the later and current decimal coinage.

I have aimed to reproduce the majority of the original copy digitally by photographing the page images. Then, using Optical Character Recognition (OCR), converting them to text. I have also attempted to reproduce it as near to exactly as it was typeset in the original. I have not over-exerted on this aspect, though, as there are some necessary compromises for the website and HTML. The main one any reader will see is that a whole chapter is on a single web page. And that any asterixed page footnotes in the original are found at the end of the relevant paragraph itself, rather than at the end of the chapter. Two of the Appendices have been scanned and reproduced as images to avoid cluttered web page tables.

Within each chapter text you will find numbers within square brackets, thus (for example): [66]. These represent the end of each page in the original and are included to help with tracing the relevant section from the original index. There is no web index, but you can use the search facility.

There is evident quality in the original’s proofreading, as there are only one or two typos that I could find and correct. Thus any error you spot in this version is mine and mine only. One of the most egregious you may find is that the OCR tended to convert ‘Tablers’ to ‘Tablets’. I hope I have corrected them all; please let me know if you do spot anything.

The reader may also need to bear in mind that the book is over 50 years old. There are changes that have occurred to humour, morals and even personalities over the intervening time. It is, nevertheless, of its time and I have, under advisement, left it the way it was written with all original content.

The illustrations are as near to their place within the text in the original but, remember, in those days they were placed to suit the exigencies of bookbinding and not necessarily the context. I have scanned the illustrations and some other pages gently, in order not to damage Mick’s book by overly flattening the spine. Despite the equally evident quality of Messrs Pindar’s bookbinding, it is now starting to show signs of the years passing.

But, then, aren’t we all? So maybe it is appropriate, as mentioned by Maurice Horspool near the end of Chapter 11 (and thus well-overdue), to begin to collate the story of the next fifty years or so before it is lost in the mists of time. And, as we all know, Table Time is always different to that used by other mortals.

David G Henderson
May 2020, in the time of the virus

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Appendix IV

The Area

1936-7 S. D. McCloy Area 10
1951-2 W. L. Woodcock Area 15
1955-6 A. Slater
1964-5G. T. V. Pindar
1968-9 C. M. Thorpe (Vice-Chairman)

Note: Eleven Areas came into being in 1933. The North-East Coast was No. 10 with two Tables, soon becoming four: Hull, Bridlington, York and Scarborough. In 1950 the growth of the movement made it necessary to organise existing Area boundaries and to create many more Areas. No. 10 became No. 15, with the addition of an increasing number of new Tables (now totalling 16), extending up the coast from the Humber to Whitby, across to Ripon by way of Thirsk, south to Harrogate and down to Hull by way of York and Pocklington/Market Weighton.

Although this book is intended to be an account of one Table in the great network of British Tables, reference has been made from time to time to the Area of which it is part. In the Area a wider fellowship has developed beyond the confines of the Table. This has affected not only the Area but the Table itself.

In the pre-war years the Area made less impact than it was to do in the post-war years. Area Councillors were duly elected and met at infrequent intervals at convenient hostelries in East Yorkshire. Area meetings, dinners, rallies, golf tournaments and other social events were held, but in those early years most Tables were more intimately concerned with their own development and affairs and incursions into social service.

When war came, the Area was the first casualty (see Chapter 2) and from 1939 any infrequent Area business was conducted by correspondence. The next war casualty was the whole of the Area records, minute book and Chairman’s jewel. The Area Secretary, W. R. Irving, kept them at his office at Reckitts, and on the night of 5-6 May 194 they were destroyed by enemy action, together with much of Reckitts and a lot more of Hull.
Fortunately Rob Irving was on duty elsewhere at the time. [83]

Post War
On the resumption of peace the activities of the Area were largely concentrated on extension (see Chapter 5) and as new Tables formed and began to play their part it gradually became apparent that a new and closer relationship was developing between Table and Area – which is another way of saying between Table and Table within the Area – and between Area and the National body.

At this point Mick Thorpe, present Vice-Chairman of the Area and a member of the National Executive, has been prevailed upon to take up the story, an eventful story in which he has played a great part in more recent years:

* * * *

In the post-war years there began to develop an administrative side to Area affairs, and with it came a gradual awakening to the possibilities of Area as a bridge between Table and National

A significant contribution to this development was the introduction in 1960 of the Area Sales Scheme whereby National publications, badges, ties etc. were distributed through Area Sales Officers and no longer directly by National headquarters to Tables. The Publications Convener responsible for pushing the Area Sales Scheme was Colin Sedgwick. Besides providing Areas with a specific administrative function the scheme provided funds, through the 15% discount allowed to Area, which assisted the financial running of Area affairs and helped to keep down the cost of the annual contribution made to Area by Tables.

Along with many other Areas throughout R.T.B.I., Area 15 developed strongly in the fifties and sixties. Area rallies were resumed, and later the Tom Park Trophy stimulated inter-Table contests*. The more outlandish the game, the better fun for all concerned; but it was not always funny. It was at a Tom Park football match with Beverley that Brian Heaps sustained a serious injury to his wrist, and in the best traditions of closing the stable door a National Personal Accident Scheme, to insure against such mishaps, was instituted a few months later.

*This trophy, presented in 1964 by past Area Chairman Tom Park, of York, is subject to an extremely interesting set of rules. No. 2 says ‘The Trophy shall be competed for between two or more Tables in any competition that the challenging Table shall decide.’ No. 5 says ‘If the Trophy should change hands by any other means than by competition, it shall be returned to the holder at an inter-Table meeting held for that purpose.’ The word any’ in these rules permit many ingenious interpretations, which Table minds have not been how to think up.

Inter-Table visiting prospered and Tablers, seeing one another at Area meetings, had in all likelihood met already at a respective Tables. A shot in the arm was given to inter-Table visits by the presentation of a Trophy in 1968 by past Area [84] Chairman Mike Hollingbery of Hull and Humberside, to be competed for annually and to be awarded to the Table whose members had on a proportionate basis made the most inter Table visits within Area during the year. In the first year Scarborough were placed second.

By about 1964 it was found that there was not enough time available at Area dinner meetings to discuss and decide upon the increasing number of items of business channelled through Area.

The business meeting was accordingly introduced. Three or four times a year the Area Officers, together with two Councillors from each Table, met at the Talbot or the Green Man at Malton, and, fortified by pickled onions and chunks of cheese, coped with substantial agendas of Round Table business. Sometimes the stimulation of argument and the consumption of beer made the discussion extend towards midnight. However keen the argument and outspoken the criticisms there was never any rancour afterwards to upset the harmony of fellowship at the end of the meeting.

In all these growing activities Scarborough took a prominent and often a leading part. They organised the first post-war Rally at the Royal Hotel. Following subsequent visits to Bridlington, Whitby and Harrogate, the Rally returned to Scarborough, and looks like becoming a permanent fixture. Area Rallies are basically, almost exclusively, social affairs – a formal dinner and dance on Friday evening, sporting and energetic pursuits on Saturday, fancy dress party in the evening, and farewell lunch with a guest speaker on Sunday.

Scarborough Table has usually featured in the cabarets* and through its members serving on the Area Executive or Rally committees has helped to achieve a growing participation in these week-end events. Over the years Geoff Heselton, Tom Pindar, Peter Cooper and Geoff Winn, to name but a few of many, have made valuable contributions in this field.

*Not infrequently in the person of Mick Thorpe himself, whose forensic eloquence can rarely have been heard to better advantage, even in higher places.

Until 1965 the choice of Area Chairman was by tradition determined on a rota system by which each Table in turn nominated the Area Chairman, and he usually selected a Secretary and Treasurer from his own or a nearby Table. This system was supported on the principle that it gave each Table in turn an equal chance of having the honour of providing the Area Chairman from its ranks, and also that by so doing it stimulated interest in the Area within that Table. These were sound arguments when the Aren comprised only six or eight Tables, but with its growth in numbers it could not go on prospering in a system that could fortuitously prevent a member from becoming an Area Chairman during his Table career if his own Table had produced an Aren Chairman a few years earlier. [85]

Colin Sedgwick attacked the rota system with vigour both in Scarborough Table and at Area, but during his era the rota system remained. After a vigorous debate at a business meeting in November 1965 it was decided that the Area Chair should be elected by a free democratic vote of every Table in Area. Nevertheless the rota protagonists achieved an element compromise by the provision that ‘no Table shall provide Area Chairman more than once in three years.’ This compromise amendment to the Area standing orders failed to achieve the approval of National, or indeed the lasting support of the Area. In November 1968, on a proposition from Scarborough Table, this last remnant of the rota system was formally buried. Thus the arguments of Colin Sedgwick, unacceptable to the Table at the time, were eventually carried in Area five years later by the efforts of the Table to which Colin had pleaded in vain.

Area now offers possibilities in Round Table which would not be open at Table level. For example, during 1967-8 Gerry Strefford, acting as Area Community Service Liaison Officer, obtained the approval of Area to the support of a Voluntary Service Overseas student and raised the £250 necessary to send the student on a teaching project to Malaya. In the international field, also, the efforts of the International Relationships Officer, currently Peter Cooper, can weld together the minority in each Table interested in international affairs and give local Round Table an injection of the spirit of internationalism.

The most recent innovation in Area 15 has been the quarterly news sheet which grew up at Christmas 1968 into a fully-fledged printed magazine, surely the forerunner of many such issues.

Area provides the forum for the preliminary expression of a Table’s views on matters of Round Table policy or rules. A proposition by Scarborough Table to amend the classification rule to allow a Table with a membership of over 30 to include any three members from the same classification passed from Scarborough’s Membership Committee to Council, to Table and to Area Council. It was there debated and approved and was included in the National Council agenda. Although opposed at that level by the National Membership Convener and Committee, it found favour with the National Council, achieved the necessary majority and went on the agenda of the National A.G.M. at Pwllheli. It was accepted by that meeting and found a place in the National Rules – possibly the first time that Scarborough Table has achieved that distinction, if an alteration to Rules can properly be called a distinction!

In 1966 Area 32 decided that Areas should be known not on by numbers but by names, and a resolution to that effect was accepted. After suggestions had been invited and a number of possibilities discussed and discarded, the name ‘The Ridings’ was eventually adopted to indicate that Area 15 extended into all three parts of Yorkshire, to say nothing of York itself. Within [86] Area the name is not much used, but as one moves around the country one finds it increasingly common for Areas to be known names, which all have a geographical connotation and ate with a fair amount of accuracy the location of each Area.

Louis Marchesi famous words about the idea of Round Table, ‘It’s going to get bigger and bigger – it’s true, you know,’ could be applied with great accuracy to Area 15. That it has prospered, developed and become an important part in the affairs of every Table within it has been due in considerable measure to the efforts of all those who have seen in Area an extension of their enjoyment of Round Table. It is the aim of the present members of Scarborough Table, and it is hoped of their successors, that Area 15 will be in its own sphere as enjoyable, as much fun and as significant as its constituent Tables have already made it. [87]

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Appendix III

Community Service



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Appendix II

Members of the Scarborough Table holding National Office

Year ending 31st March
1955 A. J. D. Lygo National Council (until his departure for Lagos in October 1954)
1955 G. Rowbotham National Council (Deputy)
1956 P. C. A. Pedley National Council
1957-60 C. W. Sedgwick National Council
1961-63 C. W. Sedgwick National Executive*
1965-68 C. M. Thorpe National Council
1968-69 C. M. Thorpe National Executive

*References in Council minutes are sparse and succinct. One of the fullest occurs on 5th November 1962 as follows:
National Council Report. Colin Sedgwick briefly reported the goings-on in higher places’.


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Chapter 12

What Now?

HERE, AT THIS POINT IN TIME, we reach our deadline. We have followed the fortunes and policies of the Table over the past 34 years. What lies before it can be seen only in part, perhaps darkly, perhaps inaccurately. Whatever else it may be, it will certainly be interesting.

It is interesting for instance, to remember that in 1934 there was some doubt whether Scarborough, with a population of some 40,000, could turn up enough eligible material for a Table to be formed at all. In 1969, when the population of the borough (excluding suburbia) is much the same as it was in 1934, national expansionist thought inclines to the view that such a population should carry two Tables.

It is interesting, too, to reflect that the intake or ‘bulge’ of young post-war members is now at or near the end of its Table life. Already the wind of change is blowing through many Tables, for the views of the younger end do not always coincide with those of their Table seniors. This, in itself, is nothing new. What is new is the certainty of losing an exceptional number of those seniors over an exceptionally short period. With them will go certain ways of thought, and the three words of the R.T. motto will gain a greater domestic significance.

Big Business
What, perhaps, will be most interesting in the Scarborough Table, in the light of the preceding paragraph, is the long-term effect of the tremendous community service active of the past decade. Community service, particularly since the inception of the Wishing Well, has become big business. [72] The domestic problems involved are quite serious, for community service is but one of the foundations on which Round Table is built, not the only foundation nor necessarily the most important foundation. If it is allowed to dominate the fabric, some sort of instability is inevitable.

As has been mentioned earlier in these pages, fellowship is not an end in itself, nor is community service. They are mutually complementary. Should either dominate the other there are dangers. There were dangers twenty years ago, in the five immediate post-war years, when fellowship dominated everything else. Since then the pendulum has swung, with growing momentum, until it has almost reached the opposite end of its swing. Not fully, perhaps, but quite near.

Round Table was never, nor was it ever intended to be, per se, a charitable organisation. It has, however, no set terms of reference, as most charitable organisations have. It has no governing Rule or Object. Its decisions are not wantonly capricious, nevertheless, but they are governed by a curious set of factors – views, energy, ambitions and personality of successive Community Service chairmen, current Table opinion, feasibility of execution, conflicting needs, emotional feelings and Table support. It is not surprising that these can give an overall appearance of capriciousness to otherwise sound decisions.

The Wishing Well may aggravate the problem, for it has achieved what nothing else has achieved, the virtual certainty of substantial continuing annual income. Whether additional annual projects are undertaken or not, the Table has become one of the major charity-distributing organisations in the town. For a club that is not a charitable foundation there is a paradox somewhere.

It has been suggested that there is little true charity in raising money and then looking round for something to spend it on – that, in fact, this negatives the idea of community service. Community service obviously cannot be given until it has been established what service the community needs.
When a need is assessed, as has happened many times in the history of the Table, and a project is undertaken to remedy that need, then true community service is being given. As we have seen, the project may be a money-raising effort or a service-giving effort, or both. In any case, the object of [73] need comes first, and the Table in fellowship works together to fulfil it.

When, however, money-making projects are entered upon for their own sake and the Table has subsequently to look round for ways in which to spend the money, the cart has somehow changed places with the horse. The Table in its objects is neither a Carnegie Trust nor a Gulbenkian Foundation. It is a club in which it has been found over the years that community service is something, like vocational service, that has evolved from the fellowship of a membership that exists not for what it can get out of life but for what it can put into it.

The Objects
Here we may profitably have a look at the Objects of the Movement, the first five having stood from 1927 and one (No. 5) from 1933.
1 To develop the acquaintance of young men through the medium of their professional and business occupations.
2 To emphasise the fact that one’s calling offers an excellent medium of service to the community.
3 To cultivate the highest ideals in business, professional and civic traditions.
4 To recognise the worthiness of all legitimate occupations and to dignify each his own by precept and example.
5 To further the establishment of peace and goodwill in international relationships.
6 To further these objects by meetings, lectures, discussions and other activities.

Of these two are fraternal, two are ethical, one is social and one, the controversial Object 2, is vocational. We have all been brought up within their framework.

Around Object 2 there have been forty years of argument, discussion, controversy and defiance, ranging from a strict interpretation that it means what it says, to a wide interpretation that it means anything you care to read into it. In Round Table, the First 25 Years, John Creasey wrote of the first great national controversy of 1930-35, which was raging during the present editor’s early years in the Table.

The one established principle laid down by the National Organisation was that each Table must decide for itself. [74] Having said that, the leaders leaned towards the negative or vocational side, but almost certainly with their tongues in their cheeks: for everywhere Tables were doing exactly what they thought they should. They were raising money, helping this charity and that, becoming established as valuable and respected organisations within their own communities,

The Future
This typically British compromise was eminently satisfactory. It is perfectly clear today what the founders meant by Object 2, for the concept of service through vocation has made enormous and much publicised strides in the inter evening forty years, at least in some strata of the professional and industrial pyramids, but it was not so clear in the early 30’s. The Stourbridge member who said, ‘This object may be clear to the founder members, but the new recruit always wants to know what it means, and no one can ever tell him,’ was speaking for a large section of the then membership.

The National Council, prior to ceding the ground resulting in the established principle mentioned above, was exercising the caution of a movement barely five years old. ‘There is good reason to believe’, says Creasey, that its reluctance to approve of expansion in Community Service was largely due to the fear that Tables might overreach themselves by trying to do more than they should.’

This brings us straight back to Scarborough’s own domestic problem, the full effects of which may not be felt for another couple of years. It is a problem compounded of three factors:
1 A heritage of enormous community service activity, accelerating over 10 years, and often dominating other Table activities.
2 A reasonable certainty of a substantial future annual income irrespective of further Table projects.
3 A certainty of losing senior members comprising a quarter of the Table’s membership within two years. [75]

It must be emphasised that any views here expressed a those of an onlooker. It is no part of the present writer’s duty to express purely personal views, but he has inevitably had to discuss Table matters with many past and present members, and he has endeavoured to put down something of what is going on in minds other than his own.

It is a profitless exercise to attempt to look into the crystal ball, but it is a highly profitable one to face known facts, to interpret them with the wisdom that Round Table has always, and sometimes astonishingly, commanded; and to go on from there in strength. In other words:


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