Round Table (club)
Round Table Great Britain & Ireland is a non-political, non-sectarian association open to men between the ages of 18 & 45, from any profession or trade.
The objects of the association are the encouragement of high ethical standards in commercial life, the promotion of fellowship amongst young professional and business men, and the quickening of individual interests in everything affecting the public welfare.
Membership to association is open to all men between the ages of 18 & 45 (originally 40, which is still retained as the age limit in most countries outside the United Kingdom and Ireland). and provides its members a selection of social and community service related opportunities.
The name "Round Table" is not directly drawn from Arthurian Legend, as is its common misinterpretation; rather it has taken both its title and its maxim comes from a speech made to the British Industries Fair in 1927 by the then HRH Prince Edward, Prince of Wales "The young business and professional men of this country must get together round the table, adopt methods that have proved so sound in the past, adapt them to the changing needs of the times and wherever possible, improve them." The phrase "adopt, adapt, improve" is a key facet of the organisation, and is often seen on Round Table literature and regalia.
Aims and Objects of Round Table Great Britain & Ireland
These are the current Aims & Objects of Round Table Great Britain & Ireland. The wording may differ slightly in different countries.
- To develop the acquaintance of young men through the medium of their various occupations.
- To emphasise the fact that one's calling offers an excellent medium of service to the community.
- To cultivate the highest ideals in business, professional and civic traditions.
- To recognise the worthiness of all legitimate occupations and dignify each his own, by precept and example.
- To further the establishment of peace and goodwill in international relations.
- To further these objects by meetings, lectures, discussions and other activities.
These are the current Aims & Objects of Round Table International:
- To promote fellowship and understanding between Round Table Associations worldwide;
- To promote the formation of new Round Table Associations throughout the world;
- To initiate, develop and improve working relationships with Club 41 International and Ladies Circle International for fellowship, networking and Joint Service objectives;
- To promote and administer Joint Service Projects worldwide.
The first Round Table was formed in Norwich, England in 1927. The founder, Louis Marchesi, was a young member of Norwich Rotary Club who felt there was a need for a club aimed more at the younger businessmen of the town. His vision was for them to exchange ideas, learn from the experiences of their colleagues, and together contribute to the civic life of the town.
In the following 12 months, interest was so high that the club attracted 85 members, and people around the country were starting to show an interest in establishing other clubs.
From the beginning, the Round Table was a non-religious, non-political, and non-sectarian club, an ethos that still underpins the movement today.
The second Round Table club opened soon after in Portsmouth and then the idea really took off—by the time the Second World War broke out in 1939 there were 125 clubs and 4,600 members.
The first overseas group was formed in Copenhagen in 1936, and while the movement continued to grow in Denmark, the war years halted British expansion for a while. The existing clubs held strong, however, and when the war was over the momentum grew once again as clubs were chartered all over Britain. Today, in the United Kingdom, there are 600 local Round Tables, with a combined membership of close to 4000.
The Round Table is now a truly international movement, with active members in most European countries, as well as Africa, the Middle East, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and the USA. In fact, there are Round Table clubs on every continent.
Round Table has no direct connection to Arthurian Round Table. The design of the Round Table emblem or rondel (see above) is, however, an adaptation of the one which hangs in the Great Hall in Winchester Castle. Although this is claimed to be the Round Table of the mythical court of King Arthur, it is in fact a representation which was made in the 13th century, and painted in its current form on the order of Henry VIII.
The movement's name comes from a speech that the then Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII and Duke of Windsor) made in 1927 to the British Industries Fair, when he said: "The young business and professional men of this country must get together round the table, adopt methods that have proved so sound in the past, adapt them to the changing needs of the times and wherever possible, improve them."
This speech inspired the fledgling movement’s name, and also provided its maxim: adopt, adapt, improve – principles that remain at the heart of the modern movement.
The Round Table Family
The Round Table Family of clubs consists of four clubs.
In 1932 the wives of Tablers set up their own social networking and charitable fundraising organisation - Ladies Circle. This was founded by and for wives of Tablers, however is now open to all women aged 18 to 45.
What Round Table members do
The association promotes fellowship amongst young professional and business men, i.e., getting to know one another. Members of a Round Table club meet on a regular basis, normally once a fortnight. Meetings, primarily social gatherings, range from a simple drink at a local pub, to paintballing, a game of football, to something more adventurous. Round Table clubs within the UK are also grouped into "Areas", and clubs meet every three months for both social and charitable Area gatherings.
2. Getting involved with local community
Round Table is frequently associated with its charitable fund raising activities and community service projects. In the UK many Round Table clubs operate these activities through charitable trusts which are registered with, and regulated by, the Charities Commission. Many clubs organise community events during the year; these can vary club to club, however, most events aim to raise money for local charitable causes. Events range from:
- Community carnivals and fetes;
- Community firework displays (such as Sparks in the Park);
- Community beer festivals;
- Community runs and swims. (such as Colchester Half Marathon);
- Community Santa Sleighs. (such as Rudolph in Ipswich);
All events are held primarily for giving back to the community and raising money for local charitable causes. Raising money can often be a secondary activity for members. however, what matters is that Round Table members ('Tablers') get involved in their local community and make a difference to people locally. There is also no obligation to commit a certain amount of time.
3. International relations
With Round Table clubs worldwide, its members can - either when moving areas permanently or simply on holiday or travelling on business - meet other "tablers" in their destination area. This is sometimes seen as the biggest benefit of Round Table - the fellowship.
- Society of Knights of the Round Table, a British society which exists to perpetuate the name and fame of King Arthur and the ideals for which he stood
- 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