Bang Up To Date With 77 Years Experience
Ladies Circle is a club that exists to offer the best opportunity possible for young women to connect, have a great time and give something back. Though the club was established in a different time, the original aims and principcles remain as relevant today as ever.
Considering the modern, fresh attitude of Circlers, it often comes as a surprise to new members that Ladies Circle has been around for 77 years.
The first group, Bournemouth No. 1 Circle, first met in 1932 as a social group for the wives of Round Tablers. Now entirely modernised, the club is still going strong and stands as a testament to how Ladies Circle has moved with the times.
A National Movement
Eight more circles followed in 1936 in Manchester, Hastings, Liverpool, Doncaster, Middlesborough, Wolverhampton and Southampton, and soon after the national association was formed, under the guidance of first president, Win Hussey.
Then World War II hit, and Ladies Circle struggled to keep going. But it did survive, thanks to Edina Headon who kept the movement going and, leading from 1939 to 1948, is to this day Ladies Circle’s longest serving National President.
In 1947 Ladies Circle went international, with Great Britain & Ireland helping to set up Circles in Denmark and Sweden. This led to the founding of the Ladies Circle International organisation in 1958 to bring together Circlers from across the globe.
Later that year, to celebrate 21 years of Ladies Circle, the national executive decided to adopt Imperial Cancer Research as the Ladies Circle national charity. The first donation was £6,607, and we continued to support the charity as our national cause up until 2013 - which itself has modernised and is now known as Cancer Research UK – raising hundreds of thousands of pounds. Clubs now focus on raising funds for their own local causes.
“The Women Who Wouldn’t Wait”
In 1965 Leamington Circle made history by opening of the first public clinic for the prevention of cervical cancer in the UK. They became known as ‘the women who wouldn’t wait’ in the press as they campaigned for 18 months to convince the hospital authorities of the urgency of their project. Nationally, Ladies Circle lobbied the Government - along with other women’s organisations – to draw attention to the lack of facilities for cervical cancer detection.
We still see this as one of our major achievements, and we continue to be proud to help in the fight against cancer.
Opening Up to a New Century
In the 1990s Ladies Circle opened up its membership to all women. We remain proud of our roots, and are still part of the Round Table family, but we have transformed into a unique, truly open organisation that welcomes ALL women aged between 18 and 45.
Into the noughties, we’ve stayed true to our modern vision. Janie Lee Grace joined us in 2006, as patron of more than 200 groups nationally. She is one of thousands of women enjoying the vibrant, friendly atmosphere Ladies Circle offers.
We hope you’ll help us build on our history, and we put everything we’ve learned over the years into making sure Ladies Circle remains an open, supportive and exciting environment for women everywhere – women like you!