Rotary District 1270
THE DISTRICT 1270 HISTORY
Prepared by the district and not verified by Rotary Global History DISTRICT HISTORY 1270
Almost all the clubs in District 1270 can trace their origins back to just three which were started between 1919 and 1922. These three were Sheffield, Hull and Lincoln, although there were other early clubs, among which were Rotherham, which was chartered in 1921, Doncaster in 1922 and Barnsley in 1923.
In 1915 the Rotary Clubs in Britain were combined into a single district, then known as Rotary District 19. When the World War ended in 1918, there were only 22 clubs in this country, of which just four, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle, were the sole representatives in the North of England, while another four, Nottingham, Birmingham, Leicester and Derby, represented Rotary in the Midlands. It was clear, however, that in the following years many more clubs would be created and to take account of future development, a British districting system was organised in 1918 in which the North of England was designated as District 1 and the Eastern Counties including Lincolnshire became District 3. These were British Districts as opposed to the Rotary International ones in which the whole of GB and I was District 19. In 1923, the original 6 districts had increased to 16 and Lincoln became part of District 7 Midlands, East, while Sheffield and Hull were in District 4 Yorkshire. 4 and 7 subsequently became 104 and 107 and more recently 1040 and 1070. In the early 70s, moves were made to sub-divide these further and eventually, a new grouping 127 (1270) was created to take in clubs from much of South Yorkshire, an isolated club in North Yorkshire (Selby), together with East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, but, in both cases, not all of them.
It was the Manchester Club under its President, Peter Thomasson, which was most helpful to some of the fledgling clubs at this period and particularly to a group in Sheffield. A local optician, Alfred Peters, had visited Manchester on business many times and had guested at the Rotary Club there. Impressed by what he had seen, he gathered together some local business and professional men and on July 16, 1919, seven of them met to discuss the formation of a Sheffield Rotary Club. Just 7 weeks later, the new club held its first meeting and the official inaugural meeting was held the following month at the Kings Head Hotel, with visiting speakers from the Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham Clubs, together with 16 founder members. The Club's Charter was presented in early January 1920. From this beginning, the Sheffield Club started a chain of clubs which are shown in the District family tree. Their first was Rotherham just a year after their own formation, and soon afterwards, Doncaster; with Rotherham and Doncaster, Sheffield jointly developed a new club in Mexborough in 1924, For many years, the club continued to be involved in extension in what is now South Yorkshire.
Where Manchester had helped Sheffield, it was now the turn of Will Moffatt of Leeds, later to be District Chairman, to help the next club, the Rotary Club of Hull. Exactly when the club was first mooted, is uncertain but by February 6, 1920, the club had a full slate of officers and was meeting regularly at the Grosvenor Hotel in Carr Lane. Both Alfred Peters (Sheffield) and Peter Thomasson (Manchester) had visited the new club by then. It was not long before the Hull Club received its charter, dated May 1, 1920. As was happening elsewhere, Hull saw 'extension' as important and small groups were convened to take Rotary further afield, initially to Goole and Grimsby, neither of which took root at first, and more successfully to Beverley in 1927. Hull persevered with extension and Grimsby was eventually inaugurated in 1930 and chartered the following year.
The idea of forming a Lincoln Rotary Club was proposed at a meeting at the Great Northern Hotel on March 16, 1922 when several prominent citizens gathered to hear about Rotary from Vivian Carter, a London Club member and secretary of the British Association of Rotary Clubs. It is not clear which if any of the existing clubs assisted in the formation of this club, although at a meeting in the Albion Hotel in June, the visiting speaker was Canon Elliot of Leicester. It seems probable therefore that support for the new club came from clubs in District 7, Midlands East, from Leicester and Nottingham. Soon after their chartering in December 1922, Lincoln was invited to consider extension in all directions and was in some areas, successful, although Grimsby was actually developed from the North rather than Lincoln to the South!!
Almost every club in the District can trace its beginning to these three originals, sometimes directly, sometimes through a chain of other clubs.
The District Clubs have also been instrumental in extension work in mainland Europe, particularly Doncaster in the period between the world wars. Vienna and Budapest acknowledged Doncaster as their original parent club and there were also strong links with Prague.
Among several prominent Rotarians, perhaps the best known are Bill Huntley and Sir Nigel Gresley. Bill Huntley, QV, a member of the Alford and Mablethorpe Club, was successively District Governor of D122 in 1977/78, President of RIBI 1986/87 and President of RI 1994/95. Sir Nigel Gresley, QV, was an early member of the Doncaster Club and is better known as a locomotive designer. Edwin Robinson of Sheffield 1935/36. R.E. Richardson of Grimsby 1966/67 and John Hockin of Woodhall Spa 1999/2000 were also Presidents of RIBI.
RGHF Senior Historian Basil Lewis, England, 26 October 2005