Dear Fellow Members

As you know, we held our AGM on Wednesday, 19th June – and for the first time in my memory at least it was not a blazing hot evening, although still warm with a full room – around 50 members attended.

It was a very positive and forward looking meeting, with many good ideas coming from the floor.   The minutes will be circulated as soon as available whilst memories are still clear.    It will undoubtedly be a difficult year ahead and for the foreseeable future, with the continuing economic uncertainty and the business rates hikes, which I will not rehearse again.    However, the mood of the room was very upbeat – by pulling together in a collegiate atmosphere to overcome all the difficulties not of our making we will survive, and in two years will have been in Audley Square for 100 years, so an important goal to reach.

May I thank again all those Debenture Holders, this year, last and in the past, who have so generously donated their debentures to the Club, which is much appreciated.   Some of these donations made possible the refurbished bathroom on the third floor and one member very kindly donated hers for the benefit of the Staff. The new General Committee takes office on 1 July, and they will elect their new Chairman shortly thereafter.   I wish her all the best and every success.   It is not an easy task, but very rewarding to be part of such a wonderful institution.

May I remind you all who have yet to vote on the two motions which are proposed, and for which voting papers have been sent out (duplicates attached), that you need to get your votes in by the end of the month.    There was considerable discussion on these at the AGM.   They are necessary if the Committee are to balance the books this year and in coming years but I will reiterate what I said at the meeting – we are all in this together, so the Committee will not be looking to make excessive increases in anything as they are as liable as everyone else. It is said that ex chairmen should disappear when they step down, but if I do that I will miss all the friends I have in the Club, so I hope to see as many of you at the Summer Party in July as possible and in the autumn I want to pick up again with a proposal which I have not had time to follow up in my time as Chairman.   This will be an addition to the Autumn Programme already organised by my diligent colleagues.

Each month we hold an Open Evening, which was designed originally to introduce prospective members to the Club but which can be much more.   Women join the Club to meet like-minded women, with the younger ones in particular wanting to have the benefit of learning from the life experiences of their older sisters.    However, many of our (slightly more) senior members who have so much knowledge to pass on are wary of venturing out on winter evenings.

From September, on the third Tuesday (Open Evening Day) I will be organising a lunch for any members interested at the Club.   In the afternoon attendees can either succumb to a post-prandial nap in the Members’ Room or we will arrange a trip to the Cinema, Theatre, Gallery or Exhibition – whatever is around on that day which appeals.   It may be possible to organise speakers, although my own view is that our own members are the most interesting people and they themselves could talk about their lives.      I would encourage any members attending to remain at the Club for the Open Evening to follow – the meet and network part of that evening is between 6.30pm and 8pm and will provide an opportunity for members to meet new, prospective and existing members – whoever is around – before they head off home before it gets late.    It will be worth coming into London for the day.  

I will undertake to make this a regular monthly feature on the third Tuesday, so put the dates in your diary – several members I know have already done so.   You can come to lunch knowing there will be someone to talk to – even if it is only me!   Details will be circulated in due course. The next event this month of June is the Art2 Talk when we have eminent curators from the V & A and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art – we are  lucky to have them, so do come along.   Details attached. Finally – I was totally taken unawares by the ambush organised for me by the Committee at the end of the AGM.   It is clearly time I stepped down, as I had not picked up the slightly inkling of what they had planned so I’m clearly losing my grip.     I was very touched by all the lovely messages which Pauline had co-ordinated into a book – it was a good job I did not read it on the train home.   Thank you all so very much for the flowers and all your good wishes.

With my best wishes and thanks to all the members who have been part of the General Committee during my term of office and have been so supportive, and to the hard working and loyal members of staff without whom nothing could have been achieved.

Ann Hallam

Chairman  
2 Audley Square, London, W1K 1DB
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