Club Centenary/ From the Queens Hotel to ZOOM

The Rotary Club of Dundee held its first meetings in the Queens Hotel before moving to Reform Street later.

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Dundee Rotary Club owes its existence to the Rotary Club of Perth.

In 1920 the Rotary Club of Edinburgh made an unsuccessful attempt to establish a club in Dundee but a year later Perth Rotarians took matters into their own hands.

On April 21, 1921 the Perth club arranged a meeting in the Queens Hotel in Dundee with Lord Provost Spence in the chair.

A resolution was successfully moved that a Rotary Club be formed in Dundee, with a founding membership of 23 gentlemen.

A provisional committee of eight persons was appointed with Mr TK Douglas as secretary. The committee drew up a list of further potential members and issued invitations to a lunch on May 12.

The first official meeting of the Dundee club took place on May 19 at which the 23 founder members saw their numbers swell to create a club with 43 ordinary and four associate members.

It is therefore accepted that although April 21, 1921 was the date of the club’s inauguration, May 19, 1921 was the date that a fully constituted organisation came into being under its founder office bearers with CH Marshall as our first president.

Most of the club’s meetings in its first year were held in the Queens Hotel. We then moved to Lamb’s Restaurant, which later became Ingram’s Restaurant, in Reform Street; its use being granted to us by the proprietor JR Ingram who was one of our members.

After our membership reached the 100 mark we moved to bigger premises and our next home was Kidd’s Restaurant in South Lindsay Street.

Dundee Rotary Club’s first act of community service was a subscription for a holiday fund for children in the orphanage.

The first club outing was to the Panmure Hotel in Edzell with tickets priced at 15 shillings. The day included golf and bowls, but it was decided no prizes should be awarded!

Back in 1921 the members included a tea merchant, a hosier, a biscuit manufacturer and a jute merchant, reflecting the commercial scene in Dundee of the era.

From Kidd’s Restaurant the club moved its “home” to several hotels around Dundee, including the Royal Hotel, the Angus Hotel, and the Earl Grey Hotel, all of which are no longer in existence.

For the last 30 years we have been happily domiciled in the Invercarse Hotel, or were until the Covid pandemic struck in March 2020.

That forced us into exiled existence on the video conferencing app Zoom, a technological development our founding fathers would have struggled to comprehend when they gathered in the Queen’s Hotel on that April day in 1921.