History A History of the Rotary Club of Dudley - The early years
(Club No.89, District 1210)

About six months ago at a meeting of Dudley Rotary Club the then District Governor Fraser Dukes suggested to me that I write a history of Dudley Rotary Club. I was not to know then exactly what I was letting myself in for. To research information relating to Dudley Rotary Club has proved much more difficult than originally envisaged, due to the fact that the majority of the information has been gleaned from rather sketchy details contained in Club Council Minutes and Committee minutes. Unfortunately during my researches it appears that a considerable number of these minutes are missing from the Dudley Archives, and despite recovering some, there are still many missing, with the inevitable result that a few years may seem short on content. It may appear that some years have very little reported. This does not mean in any way that Service or Fellowship was less than in any other year. Many events have gone on year after year and have not been mentioned purely to avoid continual repetition. Perhaps the final product may show the changes that have taken place in the thinking and attitude of Dudley Rotary Club from the 1920's to the 1990's. Rather than a history this booklet is more a recording of events which I trust will be acceptable to all who read it. May I express my thanks to both Jean, my wife for her tolerance and to Past Presidents Fred Austin and Bernard Beales for the help they have given me in the preparation of this document. Michael Crump November 1997

1921 - 1924
In late 1921 senior members of Birmingham Rotary Club approached some leading businessmen in Dudley with a view to forming a Rotary Club in Dudley. The efforts of these Rotarians were rewarded by the great interest shown by the Dudley businessmen. Many meetings were held by the nucleus of members of the proposed new Rotary Club prior to the actual formation of the club. An inaugural Meeting was held at 264/8 Castle Street, Dudley on 22 May 1922 with Mr F.W. Cook in the chair with seven other members present: at that meeting a further 26 members were elected to the club. Draft rules of the club were considered and it was resolved that they be placed before the first official meeting of the club to be held at 1.00pm on Monday 12 June 1922 at The Dudley Arms Hotel. Furthermore, it was agreed that meetings of the club should be held fortnightly. At the meeting on 12 June, Mr F.W. Cook was elected founder President of Dudley Rotary Club. The Secretary announced at that meeting that he had been in communication with The British Association of Rotary Clubs with reference to the Constitution and Bye-Laws of the Association. The rules of the Club, agreed on the 12 June 1922, were rescinded, as they were in conflict with those of the Association. And thus Dudley Rotary Club came into being. Badges were purchased for members at a cost of 3/6d each. A bank account was opened with the London Joint City and Midland Bank at their Dudley Branch. In July 1922, Lord Ednam accepted an invitation to become an Honorary Member of the Club. In August, the Earl of Dudley also accepted the invitation to become an Honorary Member. The Club was granted its Charter from Rotary International on the 13 December 1922. The first year or two were predominantly concerned with getting to grips with the Rotary Constitution and recruiting new members. In a very short time, the membership of the Club increased and by mid-1923 was in excess of 70, all the members being leading businessmen of the Borough of Dudley. The Secretary reported that he had received letters from the Temperance Legislation League and the Anti-Prohibition League, asking for permission to address the Club. Both requests were accepted and they were asked to attend on the same day. It was decided that a Ladies' Night be held on 16 April 1923 at the Palais de Danse, Dudley at a cost of 7/6d per head of which 1/0d would go to Club funds.

A resolution was put to RIBI relating to the Annual Conference; as follows: "Resolve that the out of pocket expenses of attending the Annual Conference incurred by the two members of each Rotary Club nominated to the Council of R.I. be paid by R.I.". This resolution was however rescinded at a later Club Council meeting. The first sub-committee of the Club consisting of five members was a "Boys' Work Committee". At a meeting of Club Council on 4 June 1923, it was resolved that no meetings should take place during the month of August. (This was to remain in force until it was rescinded in 1995.) On 4 February 1924, an evening meeting took place at which a debate on the subject "That in the opinion of the meeting Dudley is efficiently and economically governed". (There is no record of how the voting went.) The first Fellowship Meeting was held on 1 April 1924 with a visit to Wolverhampton Rotary Club. By June 1924 three Sub-Committees had been formed - Boys' Work, Fraternal and Membership.