History of Ladies Circle International
Ladies Circle sets its roots in England where the first Circle was founded in Bournemouth by wives of Round Table members. By 1936 the first English Clubs formed the English National Ladies Circle Association (GB&I). At that time, during the war ‘Circling’ was limited to social obligations:
- helping out at the hospital
- running canteens
- visiting hospitalised people
- gathering articles of clothing for orphans etc.
In 1947, LC Sweden was founded and was followed by LC Denmark two years later. Contact was made between members of these first three countries, and on 29 May 1959 an important date in the History of LCI since it is on this day, at the RTI AGM in Leiden, Holland the three countries established Ladies Circle International (LCI). The founder members of LCI were Molly Worley (President), LC GB&I, Jen Ulfvik (Vice President), LC Sweden, Margery Coombe (Secretary), LC GB&I, and Søs Tarp (Treasurer), LC Denmark.
The constitution was drawn up, based on equality of all member associations within an international structure. From this developed the Aims and Objects:
- To promote international friendship, understanding and goodwill by encouraging members to extend their knowledge of each other and other people.
- To promote, coordinate and develop the extension of Ladies Circle throughout the world.
- To be non-political and non-sectarian.
- To promote, co-ordinate & develop working relationships with Round Table wherever possible.
Ladies Circle expanded into new countries and continents. In 1959 LC Finland was founded, followed by LC Norway in 1961, LC Belgium and LC Hong Kong in 1967, LC France and LC India in 1970, LC Kenya in 1971 and LC Germany in 1972.
At the 1994 AGM, a significant rule change was passed; following which Ladies Circle International became totally independent from Round Table. Ladies Circle is now open to all women between the ages of 18 and 45.
Today LCI is an international Service Organisation represented by approximately 12,500 members, in 41 countries across continents Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
History of Ladies Circle South Africa
The idea of Ladies Circle forming in South Africa came about at a Western Province Round Table Area meeting in March 1981. Angela Ford, Past President of LCI was invited as a guest speaker at the Round Table AGM. Her amusing account of her years as a Tabler wife and as a Circler encouraged the False Bay Round Table Ladies to consider starting a Circle. This they did with a lot of encouragement from the False Bay Round Tablers and in May 1981 False Bay Ladies Circle has their first inaugural meeting.
False Bay Ladies Circle No. 1 chartered at WOCO in Cape Town on 29 September 1982 and Belville Ladies Circle No. 3 in August 1983. More Circles opened up in the passing years.
During the course of 1991 much thought and discussions took place amongst the Circlers about forming a National Association. In July 1992 the inaugural AGM of the National Association of Ladies Circle South Africa was held in Johannesburg. In 1995 in Gottenburg, Sweden, South Africa became a full member Country of Ladies Circle International.
Currently, we have 11 operational Circles. Our clubs are in Louis Trichardt, Johannesburg (Benoni, Edenvale, Northridge and Sandton), Cape Town (Shiraz), Port Elizabeth (PE Pearls), George (Garden Route), Swellendam, East London and Witbank.
We have 1 Circles 'In Formation' in Newcastle, that will be chartered in November 2022.