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Ladies' Circle is a social networking organisation for young women aged between 18 and 45, founded in 1932. It aims to promote friendship through social contact at local, national and international level and to be of service to the community. For many years Circlers were the wives or partners of members of Round Table, but in 1993 the rules were changed and Ladies' Circle is now open to any woman in the age range 18 - 45, and whilst Ladies' Circle work very closely with Round Table on many issues, both business and social, they are a totally independent organisation.
Bournemouth No. 1 circle was created in 1932, by Round Tablers' wives who had helped to organise the 1932 Round Table National Conference. By 1936 eight circles had formed with the addition of Manchester, Hastings, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Wolverhampton, Doncaster and Southampton and the National Association of Ladies' Circles of Great Britain & Ireland (NALC) was created. The founder National President was Win Hussey.
During the war activities and growth were drastically curtailed, but after the war Ladies' Circle expanded rapidly. The first circle formed in Wales was Cardiff in 1955; Scotland's first circle was Dumfries in 1956, and in Ireland Enniskillen circle was formed in 1959. By 1949 it was found that Ladies' Circle was too large an organisation to be managed centrally, so in 1950 a network of 10 Areas was set up. These rapidly split out into more areas until eventually 55 Areas were formed. There are currently 39 as some have merged.
In the 1950s Imperial Cancer (now Cancer Research UK) was adopted as the National Charity. By the 1990s NALC had raised over £1.4 million for Cancer Research UK.
In 1959 Ladies' Circle International (LCI) was formed by the founder countries Great Britain & Ireland, Sweden and Denmark. Today LCI is an international service organisation represented by approximately 13,000 members, in 36 countries across continents Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
The Round Table Family
The latter is of particular interest- Tangent is a club for older ladies who are former members of Ladies' Circle (from 2009 some Tangent clubs have open membership and accept women who were not previously members of Ladies' Circle.)
The focal point of Ladies' Circle is its regular meetings. Normally, most Circles meet twice a month, usually in the evening and often with a meal. Speakers may be invited, or various social events or fundraising activities may take place. Typical events include arts and crafts, sports and keep fit, barbecues, pub meals and formal dinners, theatre and cinema trips, and local fund raising. Visitors and potential members are always made particularly welcome as Ladies' Circle provides an ideal opportunity to establish new friendships.
It is also possible to take part in international activities via Ladies' Circle International.
Aims and Objects of NALC
- To extend friendship locally, nationally and internationally;
- To promote NALC to eligible women; to assist in the formation of new Circles; and to support all Circles to help them grow;
- To be of service to the community;
- NALC to work side by side with all members of Round Table, 41 Club and Tangent;
- To conduct the business of the Association in order to promote goodwill between Circles, Areas and the National Association;
- To provide a varied programme of meetings and sociable activities throughout the year.
Aims and Objects of LCI
- To promote international friendship, understanding and goodwill by encouraging members to extend their knowledge of each other and other people.
- To promote, co-ordinate and develop the extension of Ladies' Circle throughout the world.
- To be non-political and non-sectarian
- To promote, co-ordinate & develop working relationships with Round Table wherever possible.
- Robinson, Jean (1974), CIRCLE THE STORY OF N.A.L.C. 1936-1974, Keighley: NALC
- Barty-King, Hugh (1977), Round Table: The Search for Fellowship, London: Heinemann
- Creasey, John (1952), Round Table: the First Twenty-Five Years of the Round Table Movement, Norwich: Jarrold & Sons
- Wilkinson, Alan (2005), Continued Friendship: Sixty Years of Forty One: The Story of the Association of ex-tablers' Clubs
International Ladies' Circle Website
National Ladies' Circle Websites
- Ladies' Circle Austria
- Ladies' Circle Belgium
- Ladies' Circle Canada
- Ladies' Circle Cyprus
- Ladies' Circle Denmark
- Ladies' Circle Estonia
- Ladies' Circle Finland
- Ladies' Circle France
- Ladies' Circle Germany
- Ladies' Circle Great Britain & Ireland
- Ladies' Circle Greece
- Ladies' Circle Hong Kong
- Ladies' Circle Iceland
- Ladies' Circle India
- Ladies' Circle Israel
- Ladies' Circle Italy
- Ladies' Circle Kenya
- Ladies' Circle Latvia
- Ladies' Circle Lithuania
- Ladies' Circle Luxemburg
- Ladies' Circle Malta
- Ladies' Circle Norway
- Ladies' Circle Poland
- Ladies' Circle Romania
- Ladies' Circle South Africa
- Ladies' Circle Sri Lanka
- Ladies' Circle Sweden
- Ladies' Circle Switzerland
- Ladies Circle The Netherlands
- Ladies' Circle United States of America
National Tangent Website
The Round Table Family webpage
Round Table and 41 Club websites