Club History

Over 80 Years and still Young !!!


Origins of the club
Our club has been serving the local, national and international communities for over eighty years and our archivist Rotarian David Nash has unearthed a great amount of information covering those eight decades. Some of his research is shown below….
1927 and Charter Year 1928

On Saturday July 9th 1927 the Lincolnshire Star carried a report on a meeting held at the Crosby Hotel on Tuesday 5th July 1927 “for the purpose of discussing the formation of a Rotary Club in Scunthorpe. “There is no town in England where a Rotary Club is more necessary than it is here”, said Mr. Westwood, a local Ironmaster who attended. “We are all strangers and hardly ever see a local born man. It is a growing town with only one industry, auxiliary to it. I can see a new era of service and goodwill if a Rotary Club is formed”, said Mr. Westwood. The dinner was presided over by Mr. E. Rotinson, (Tickhill), Chairman of the Yorkshire District of Rotary. A delegation of 15 members of the Doncaster Club came over to give their practical support. It was decided to proceed with the formation of a club and the necessary 15 founder members signed the requisition.

This Club received its Charter, dated 21 February 1928 at a Dinner that was held at the Crosby Hotel on 24th April 1928 when it became Club No. 279 R.l.B.I; strangely there is no report in the newspapers of this meeting. The Principal guests were the Chairman of District 4, Harry Davis and Past President of Doncaster Rtn. A.A. Bell, our mother club.

The menu consisted of Clear Royal or Crème de Ritz

Scotch Salmon and Hollandaise Sauce

Lamb Cutlets and Peas

Steamed Fowl and Oysters

Sirloin of Beef

Asparagus — Salad — New Potatoes

Peach Melba

Baba au Rum

Cheese — Dessert — Coffee


In September 1928 the club took what was probably its first outing when some 20 Rotarians took up the invitation of the Dunlop Rubber Company to visit their huge factory nearBirmingham, known to the Commercial World as “Fort Dunlop. The party left the town at about 7.20a.m. and arrived atFortDunlopat about 12.30. They were treated to a splendid luncheon after which followed an extensive tour of the works. The return journey started about 5p.m. and with short halts at Nottingham andLincolnthe party returned home toScunthorpejust after 11 p.m. The Dunlop Company was responsible for the whole of the arrangements including the expense of fetching the party fromScunthorpeand taking them back.

The First Club Outing.
Members of the Rotary Club of Scunthorpe photographed at Fort Dunlop on Sept 20th 1928.
It is believed that the recumbent gentleman seated right centre (with plus fours) may be the first President W.J.Brooke, J.P.,
and the gentleman left of centre (with cane) is R.E. Westwood.
Seated second left, with bow tie, is George Brown.
A copy of this photograph is now in the Dunlop Museum.



I.T.M.A. It’s That Man Again

On October 6th 1936 the club was honoured by the visit of the famous comedian and entertainer Tommy Handley who was appearing at the Palace Theatre.

His visit was previewed in the Scunthorpe and Frodingham Star as follows…”Tommy Handley, well known member of the White Coons Concert Party and one of radios most popular comedians will be seen on stage at the Palace Theatre all next week. This is his first appearance in Scunthorpe and the Palace management are to be congratulated on securing such a prominent personality.

Tommy Handley and his Company will be seen in Radio Revels including their famous sketch “The Disorderly Room”.

The entire programme promises to be one of the most entertaining yet staged at the Palace”.

The War Years 1939 to 1945

The war of ’39 to ’45 brought many changes to the Club. Members were called up for military service and Committees were initially suspended. Projects had to be modified or even abandoned and alternative projects relevant to the changed times became necessary.

In April 1939 the club President Rotarian Fred Todd reported that he had sent a telegram to the American President Roosevelt “in congratulation of his recent broadcast speech”. A unanimous vote of approval of his action was passed.

During the whole of the war members of the Club gave valuable service as Auxiliary Firemen, Air Raid Wardens, Home Guards, Borough Councillors, Red Cross Volunteers, and Air Force Cadets.

A decision was then made in the Club to give the town a mobile canteen to serve the troops and volunteers in times of need. One member offered a useable chassis, and it was thought that the local Air Force Cadet Corps could build a body on it, if the club provided the wood. The total cost of the wood and overhaul of the chassis was estimated at between £15 and £17.

The canteen was later reported as “giving much useful service”.

This is all the information that has come to light on this vehicle, if you can provide more or better still have a photo of the canteen then please get in touch via

Minutes from May 20th 1941 record that “the suffering of Hull in the recent Air Raids was referred to and the Secretary was directed to contact the Hull Club offering assistance in any effort they were making for the relief of distress”. Two Rotarians named Barker and Geary staged an exhibition of borrowed German aircraft equipment and raised the magnificent sum in those days of £150 in the summer of 1941.

The Club bought a wireless set for the use of one of the “gun posts”.

In 1945 while there is much recorded activity among the various committees, and Council meetings are now back to 7.30 after the recommencement of late bus services, there is not one reference in Council minutes to the end of the war or the end of hostilities. This I find a surprising omission after the club suffered almost six years of disruption both to its meetings and normal activities, which necessitated both the club and its members becoming deeply involved in many areas of the war effort.

Even when the war was over problems still existed as it was reluctantly agreed as late as 1946 that with a membership of forty, no new members could be introduced because of catering problems caused by food rationing.

The Nineteen Fifties

The Club meetings were still being held at the Crosby Hotel on Tuesday lunchtime, the meal cost 5s/6d in 1952 and had risen to 6/- by 1957. Major social functions were not always held at the Crosby and it seems this caused some friction with the Manager. Such outside events were held at Wortley and Berkeley Hotels, perhaps because the Crosby had space limitations for some types of events.

Membership was generally in the low forties and even in 1959 concern was felt about the age of the membership! It was proposed that all new members should be less than forty-five years of age on joining.

During the fifties The Rotary Club of Scunthorpe was well to the fore in supporting several national and local celebrations. The Club gave ten pounds towards trees to be planted in the Festival Gardens on Ashby Road in Scunthorpe in 1951.

National and international disasters occurred and various donations were sent, including Lynmouth in 1952, Greek earthquake in 1953, floods in Australia during 1955 and in 1957 Hungarian Relief.

Each summer the Club paid for a deserving elderly couple to holiday in Scarborough and also sent a boy to a camp in Cleethorpes. In addition the boy was given pocket money and provided with some clothing.

In 1971 the Rotary Club of Griffiths, Australia organised a painting competition with the Discovery of Australia as its theme. Kathleen Thompson of the Sixth Form College won first prize in the thirteen to eighteen years age group, the prize being $100 and a certificate. The paintings were sent by Griffiths to England to be displayed at five places in districts 103, 112 and 117. Scunthorpe was one of the towns selected but when the pictures arrived in England there was a long delay caused by V.A.T. officers demanding payments!

On Saturday the 1st of June 1974 a massive explosion at the Nypro Works, Flixborough happened just before 5.00 p.m. Many workers at the plant died and for many miles surrounding this huge chemical plant there was huge devastation as property took the force of the blast.

It was Appleby Frodingham Steelworks Gala day in Scunthorpe but the celebrations following the happy event were tainted by an enormous explosion which became visible as a dark plume rose above the horizon from the north western side of Scunthorpe as the afternoon came to a close.

Just before five o’clock the Nypro (UK) site at Flixborough was severely damaged by a large explosion. Twenty-eight workers were killed and a further 36 suffered injuries. It is recognised that the number of casualties would have been more if the incident had occurred on a weekday, as the main office block was not occupied. Offsite consequences resulted in fifty-three reported injuries. A great deal of property in the surrounding area was damaged to varying degrees.

In the first days after the explosion the Police carried out a survey showing that 72 out of 79 houses in Flixborough, 73 out of 77 in Amcotts, 644 out of 756 in Burton on Stather and 786 properties in Scunthorpe were damaged to a greater or lesser degree. The survey did not cover commercial or industrial premises. Organisations such as Rotary, Round Table and Lions performed magnificent relief work, helping to clean and restore people’s homes, and perhaps, equally importantly, their morale.

1980 started with the 3H Project, Health, Hunger and Humanity and leading later in the eighties to POLIO PLUS. (This later scheme is still in full swing and almost reaching its climax). This Club has thought of many ways to try and raise a suggested donation that should be made to R.I. of £100.00 per member. This money is, of course, in addition to the required Foundation levy of £7.00 for each member.

Rotary’s 75th Anniversary was being considered by Council in February. They approved the sum of £200 to be spent on a seat costing £84 and some trees at £12 each to be sited in the Scunthorpe shopping precinct.

Rtn. Stanley Hall arranged for four Opera North singers to perform a concert at Normanby Hall in March 1980, which was a great success, and as a result £148 was donated to the Mayors Appeal Fund.

The Club also organised Antique Fairs, Cheese and Wine Parties, Raffles, Treasure Hunts, Race Nights, Supper Quiz, and Dances.

2000 The New Millennium

It was reported that support for the second Antiques Fair to be held in the autumn was “Impressive”, due to it being already over booked. The March Fair raised a total of £1,965 with costs of £454.

On Leap Year day February 29th 2000, the club debated its position on dual gender membership. The motion was “Should the club move towards dual gender”. It was narrowly defeated by 13 votes to 11. (Two years later the club became dual gender and now has twelve lady members).

It was suggested that the club might make a visit to Humberside International Airport towards the end of June and a trip to see the Millennium Dome at Greenwich in September.

The first Scunthorpe Rotary Inter-Business Quiz was held at the Wortley Hotel in September, and was immediately branded a success worth repeating. The winners of the first quiz were a team from Corus (formerly British Steel and now Tata), closely followed by teams from Humber Merchants and HSBC Bank. With matching donations from Barclays Bank and proceeds from a raffle, a total of £580 was raised for the Lindsey Lodge Hospice appeal.

The Autumn Antiques Fair held on October 14th 2000 raised over £1750.

Scunthorpe Movie Mogul and Rotarian Gerald Parkes agreed to organise a Film Premier of the new Disney blockbuster “Dinosaur” at his Majestic picture palace in aid of Rotary funds.

At its October meeting Club Council decided to purchase a lectern for the Methodist Church on the Riddings Estate in Scunthorpe, as a memorial to Rotarian Gordon Webb, to mark his many years of loyal service to the club.

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