The 1918 Club
The 1918 club was established in Liverpool in June 1918 - shortly after women obtained the vote. The club has had a continuous existence ever since.
The 1918 Club, based in Liverpool and possibly the oldest continuously existing women’s club in the city, provides a common meeting ground for women of various interests and professions and thereby affords them an opportunity for interchange of ideas and discussion on questions of common interest.
The Club does not, itself, engage in fund-raising events or campaigns but it is a sounding board for people to hear about and to discuss issues of the day.
Meetings are usually held every two to three weeks, for luncheon, when a speaker is invited to give an address, lasting about half an hour, with opportunity for questions and discussion. The speaker may either be a member of the Club or a guest (male or female) especially invited for that day. Meetings commence at 1.00pm, with the day of the week being varied from meeting to meeting.
Guests are welcome and may be brought to any meeting (apart from the AGM), with notification to the Membership Secretary 2 days before the meeting, and attend on up to three occasions. Usually potential members will be invited as guests before being nominated as members.
Background to the Club
The 1918 Club held its first meeting in June 1918 before the First World War had ended. As a club for women, it was a startling new venture; ‘clubs’ were regarded as male preserves. Before the War the suffrage campaign had caused women to organise in ways that had been unheard of, whilst the four years of the War itself had provided women with employment opportunities that had been undreamed of. An article in The Liverpolitan of 1932 speaks of World War I leading to a ‘general re-evaluation of life’ by women and of women being ‘liberated from the narrow confines of their own parochialism’. The 1918 Club was formed from these various circumstances.
The major instigators of The 1918 Club were Eleanor Rathbone and Elizabeth Macadam. After the armistice of 1918 the luncheon club idea was developed to preserve many of the friendships made through the war-period and many of the alliances forged through the suffrage campaign, and also to form new contacts amongst professional working women and social welfare workers.
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