1961 Bulletin

From the 1961 Bulletins [my comments in italics]


The editorial mentioned looking for new premises, having been in Hurst Street for one year [we were there until we moved to Barwick Street in 1969]; it suggested the bulletin be “the mouthpiece of the club. Plans and grievances should be written here openly, and be available for attack or justification, to make the Bulletin worthwhile reading, and worthy of an active and growing club”.
There was an advert for the ‘Winter Ball’, at the Pavilion Suite, County Cricket Ground – double tickets 21/- [(One guinea). In a club of mostly single young people! Were men expected to by a ticket and take a lady?]. There were suggestions that a golf section is started, and a list of suitable pubs be compiled.

Events in the premises included: play-reading, coffee evenings, bridge, Monday music club, Friday ‘hops’ [dictionary – “US, dated: an informal dance where popular music is played]. The ‘Dramatic Society’ was rehearsing a play. Other events included: rambles, badminton, ice-skating, and Scottish dancing. There were reports of the Linguists’ group’s December wine-tasting and of a work-party at Llwyn-onn Isaf [our rudimentary bunkhouse near Barmouth].


The editorial explained that the ‘Association of Inter-Varsity Clubs’ was set up the previous year byLondon, Birmingham and Manchester I.V.C.s. “Similar organisations are eligible to join, designed to promote liaison between the constituent clubs, to facilitate joint activities and to foster and encourage the development of other I.V.C.s”. There were plans to start I.V.C.s in North Staffs, Nottingham andGlasgow.
There was a lot about Llwynon Isaf – reports about working parties, past and future, and a whole page about London IVC’s Christmas there, including getting dangerously lost in bogs on a hill walk.

There was a page about the Friday hops. It included an appeal for people to turn up at 8.00. It was reported that at a hop in January there was a prize “for the first fireman carrying a helpless lass. Numerous situations, both flattering and embarrassing, will be found in the coming weeks”. There was concern about many people leaving for the bus at 11.00 so there was to be a system for car drivers to offer lifts home. It went on: “It was interesting to see the process of ‘quietly nobbling’ a partner for the winter ball” [remember in January it said tickets were 21/- a pair].


The editorial asked for more, and better, articles; it said that London’s Bulletin mainly consisted of “paragraphs and poems extolling either the various activities of the organisers thereof” but Manchester’s “has little to say, and says it briefly”. The editor wrote “If an activity is worth doing it deserves 10 minutes in planning its advertisement. Let it not be said that the intellectuals of Birmingham light their cigarettes with the Bulletin”.

There were write-ups on a hill-walking weekend and of a ramble up Clee Hill. The ‘council’ [as the committee was called until we became ‘Limited’ in 1994] had produced an “outdoor activities card”: there were to be two rambles a month and sailing; at least one outdoor activity every weekend. Council were also concerned about drivers not always being covered for passenger liability [it wasn’t compulsory until 1973; few had cars so there was much offering of lifts]; Council were investigating getting insurance cover for members, in the meantime members were asked to consider taking out their own cover. The first list of new members was published – a list of 10 people.

The Dramatic Society was having ten rehearsals for the play ‘Maria Martin’ which it was presenting.


The editorial mentioned that, with the coming of summer there was an emphasis on outdoor activities: sailing, tennis and rambles. It said:
“It seems incredible now to realise that when I.V.C. started it was a club which centred entirely on rambles and similar events. Bridge and music were unheard of, let alone the orgies of Linguistics or the worldly lust of the Theatre. The highlight of the week was to play canasta and drink coffee. Perhaps we’re getting more sophisticated – or middle aged [average age – high 20’s!]. Certainly a weekend in Wales is no longer a hazardous adventure, since we can boast running water. We have a very rare asset in Llwyn Onn – let’s hope we may long continue to enjoy its amenities”.
[We left Llwyn-onn in 1993 – I ceremoniously locked the door for the last time].

It was reported that the ‘Farmhouse’ (Llwyn Onn) had at least a dozen people each weekend in March, a slack period, and they said that a busy period is coming. I.V.C. bought its own GP14 dingy for sailing at Barmouth, 
There was a full page review of the Theatre group’s play – bemoaning the lack of interest in participating in such events:

“‘Too much done by too few for too many’ seems to be the I.V.C. motto at the moment”.

A report on the music group said “there is a tendency in the club to ‘leave it to someone else'”. [Still the situation today!]

The first meals of the “Wine and Dine” group were reviewed [in restaurants – pubs rarely did food then].   There was a list of 14 new members.

[Those who are following these articles might have noted the various spellings of Llwyn onn / Llwynon / Llwyn Onn (or “the farmhouse”) with and without a hyphen. The correct name for the house is “Llwyn onn Isaf”. Llwyn onn is Welsh for Ash Grove and Isaf is Welsh for Lower. IVC was always written I.V.C.]


The question “How much should club be run by the few for the many” was asked. This was asked because the organiser of S.I.N. (Saturday Night In [the club premises]) resigned and no-one else volunteered to do it. A committee (then called ‘Council’) member was opening up the premises but sometimes no-one else turned up. There was a poll to decide whether to continue with this activity.

There was an appeal for loan of flats for meetings (didn’t members live in houses?). 

There was a ‘talking point’ asking what the right sex-ratio was. Standing orders set a limit of 60% women 40% men. It said women had been complaining that there were too few men; there was also concern that there weren’t enough men with cars to give lifts to weekends. It also said that there was a limit of 12.5% of members without academic qualifications.
[I’m not sure what to make of this ‘Letter to the Editor’ written by ‘Four women prefer to remain anonymous’ ]

“We were so a shamed by the low standard of elegance, cleanliness and attractiveness of the majority of women at a recent hop, that we fee an apology should be made to the men present. At dances outside the I.V.C. it is notable that girls take trouble to make the most of themselves, and of their opportunities. Regrettably, the same cannot be said of these who grace the M.U.O. [where IVC held hops], and who, we presume, are endowed not only with natural charms, but with intellect, and a trained intelligence.

“If there are complaints that the men prop up the bar, these are deserved: no male who wants to preserve his self esteem would approach girls, who, in skirts almost down to their ankles, unpressed dresses, no stockings, and with a fuzz of untidy hair, hanging round an un-made-up face, do little to enhance the atmosphere of gaiety and romance that should prevail.

“In 1690. La Bruyerc wrote that ‘Les hommos sont cause que les femmes ne s’aiment point’. In I.V.C. in 1961, we should prefer to comment: ‘Les femmes eles-memes sont cause quo les hommes no les aiment point.’”

A member complained by letter about people turning up late. One event organiser was said to have vowed to lock up if no-one turned up within 30 minutes of the starting time.

There was a disclaimer absolving IVC from any claim arising from any mishap at any IVC event.

Tennis was starting on Mondays in Wingate Club, Rotten Park Road.


The main event was a Friday night river cruise from Stourport, followed by a dance until 1.0 a.m., live music and buffet – all for 7/6d. A coach was being laid on; care was being taken to ensure a balance of sexes. Those who went by car could afterwards have a dawn breakfast on Malvern and then on to Walesfor a camping weekend, to include a walk up Plynlimmon.
Two engagements were announced.  16 new members were welcomed to IVC [two names are familiar to me].

A report said that 11 members responded to the survey on the future of S.I.N. (Saturday Night In). It was decided to discontinue it.

The editor wrote for event organisers: “as regular as All-Bran, this journal is read by five hundred or more of Birmingham’s most active and promising young men and women. All we ask is that you should provide legible copy before the deadline, with the number of words therein noted at the foot for speedier editing”


With the holiday season coming up, and members going to France, Spain, Italy and Greece, the editor asked members to write about their holiday experiences.
There was disappointment at the poor turn-out for the river cruise and dance – only one fifth of the members went [that is about 90].

A golf tournament against London IVC was being arranged.

The music group were going to three C.B.S.O. concerts and having two recorded music evenings.

Scottish dancing was continuing twice a month during the summer.
There was to be a slide evening – when members bring and show their slides.
Someone advertised Squash at the Greenhill Squash Club, Weoley Park Road.
Swimming was continuing at Sparkill baths.


With the expected influx of new graduates to Birmingham it was written that it is “… almost a duty to bring to the stranger’s attention the facilities and merits of IVC.”
It was reported that a group had gone straight from the regular Friday night hop to walk up Snowdon in the dark.

Someone wrote almost a whole page about his visit to a Soviet exhibition in Earls’ Court.   There were rambles to Cardingmill Valley and Radnor Forest. They met at the Hall of Memory: so those without cars could get lifts.


The music group thought it would be an idea to start a spin-off group to perform music, playing an instrument or singing light opera. The charge for the weekly Friday hop is going up to 3/- (4/- for visitors). Coffee at events in the club premises is charged at 4d (6d with biscuits).

Manchester IVC were planning to charter a Boeing 707 for a 2 week trip to New York – cost £35 – 8 – 0.

There was an appeal for any man with the necessary skills to help repair the premise’s hall floor.
(There are no Bulletins for October, November or December 1961 in the archives
so there follows a synopsis of the AGM reports instead)

Précis the 1961 AGM reports.

The pre-AGM papers included a full list of nominees for the seven main committee jobs, plus nine nominations for the four ordinary committee members positions (each with a proposer and seconder).

The Secretary reported that Birmingham had hosted the AIVC AGM which was attended by London,Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham and North Staffs. She said the committee had investigated getting insurance to cover members when travelling in cars to/from or on IVC activities but it was too expensive(passenger insurance wasn’t compulsory in 1961).

The premises manager reported that the premises (in Hurst Street) were likely to be demolished soon so we would need to look for an alternative to lease.

The Membership Secretary reported that the membership had declined –  there were 146 new members but 160 “resignations” (I assume this means “did not renew”).

The report said: “membership is controlled by percentages laid down in Standing Orders. The aim of these Orders is to balance the percentage of academic and non-academic members (non-academic members are classed as those who have not received full-time education for two years after leaving school) and also to balance the sexes. The latter should not exceed 40:60% (men:women) and twice this year action had to be taken. This resulted in a number of female applicants being rejected.”   She produced the following table:

Male Female Total percent
Universities 120 89 209 54.4
Colleges 48 72 120 31.3
Nursing 19 19 4.9
Miscellaneous 14 36 36 9.4
Total 182 202 384 100

(I assume the many non-graduate teachers were listed under “colleges”)

The activities secretary reported on the various activities and concluded: “there are far too many people in the club sponging on other peoples’ efforts.” (still true today). The Office Manager reported that the hand-operated wax-stencil duplicator had been replaced by an electric one. He said that much work was involved in duplication and collating bulletins but the biggest job was addressing 450 envelopes and ways were sought to simplify the job. To save postage he urged members to collect their bulletin on the last Wednesday of the month and take and deliver those of friends or colleagues. He reported that a trial of getting the GPO to frank envelopes caused delays so they reverted to stamps.

The Dance Organiser reported it had been a successful year – weekly hops and special events – and thanked those who helped on the door and behind the bar.

The Farmhouse Warden reported that Llwyn-onn Isaf was occupied every weekend. He appealed for people intending to go to sign on the club notice-board so lifts can be arranged for all those without a car. The newly purchased Falcon sailing boat was said to be proving popular.

Précis the 1961 accounts and financial report
(To compare any figures with today’s money you need to multiply by 20)
The treasurer’s report aid that IVC were trying to build up a surplus to be able to afford to acquire new premises they were expecting to have to get after having to leave the Hurst Street premises. The money would be needed to guarantee payments on a lease, to pay a deposit and to furbish the premises.

The aim was to make a surplus of £300 p.a. – but had only made £90 in 1961-2. The subscription (membership) had gone up to 30/- (£1.50); the admission price to the hops (dances) in the premises had gone up by 6d (2.5p). The above would bring in an extra £100.

How to make the additional £110, given that policy was that sub-clubs aren’t supposed to make a profit?

Raise the subs again?

Have fund-raising events?

Expand membership by 100?
The treasurer wrote that major acquisitions have been the G.P.14 £94 (sailing boat for the farmhouse), a Gestetner duplicator £70 (electric stencil copier for printing the bulletin etc) and a “good quality record player has been built for us with a £15 budget”. 

Total assets at 31 July 1961 were £1124,

this included –

the remaining £100 of a loan from London IVC            fixed assets of £258            bank accounts of £793

Total expenditure was £746 of which £334 was rent and insurance
Total income was £1002 of which £291 was from dances, £464 from subscriptions and £139 surplus from the farmhouse

Making a surplus of £255 (I don’t know why the report said £90) There was a separate section in the accounts for Llwynon Isaf (the farmhouse)

showing income of £391 (mostly from bednight charges)

There was a loss of £28 for the drama group’s performance of Maria Marten. This was explained as “mainly due to the inaccessibility of the theatre, which meant a very small audience.