1964 Bulletins

 IVC Bulletins from 1964

[My comments in square backets]

From the January 1964 Bulletin

Every Saturday was SIN (Saturday Night In) in the club premises. Themes included: bring your favourite records; show colour slides from 1963; or just drop in for a chat.

There was a rambling page – reporting on the climb up Cader Idris in December; promoting a weekend walking in Llanberis Pass; and a Sunday ramble “Meet at the Hall of Memory at 9.15 to find out where we’re going” [presumably after driving somewhere].

Places for 8 people had been booked for week skiing in Aviemore at Easter. Cost, including board, ski school and ski hire: £18 [£150 in today’s money]. [Later cancelled because of weather (lack of snow?)].

Scottish dancing continued fortnightly at the Beehive Rooms, Bishopsgate Street.

There was a full page [larger than A4] article about the music group. This meets weekly in different members’ houses: someone took records, on a pre-announced classical theme, for others to listen to. One week was billed as a “SPECIAL STERIO programme”!

In the “Chairman’s Comments” he reported that the Choral Group performed a spot at the Christmas party and at a hospital – he bemoaned that this was IVC’s only altruistic activity this Christmas. He complained that someone unknown had a private party in the club premises, without permission, and left it in a mess.

A report said that the monthly New Members’ coffee party in December accepted 12 new members. [Not an unusual number, given the 30% annual turnover in members. These parties were monthly, in a committee member’s flat. Prospective members were expected to come to these to be informally interviewed by the committee].

From the February 1964 Bulletin

The front cover had just the red mast-head and the contents.

There was a report on the New Year Weekend [in those days it was always in Fairborne]. The Saturday evening some members put on a short comedy play [I remember taking part in the last one of these 10 year later].

The annual Dinner Dance was being promoted – described as “an absolute MUST” and “the most important social event of the year”. 100 tickets needed to be sold. [I remember that the last one, about 12 years later, failed to attract many people and it made a big loss].

Someone wrote about Llwyn-onn Isaf [our bunkhouse near Barmouth – see www.JohnPitcock.com/Farmhouse] saying: “I don’t want … to stop burying Elsie [effluent from the chemical Elsan toilet] … the water made pure … the Tilley lamps replacing by gas”. [Llwyn-onn was a major part of IVC until we left it in 1993. 56 people who were members then are still in IVC, and most of them would have gone there].

The language group had an evening about Scandinavian languages, with some appropriate music.

The theatre group had two whole foolscap pages. There was a notice telling members how bookings worked – members put their name on a list on the club’s notice board several weeks before the show, collected and paid for the ticket on a Wednesday or collect it at the theatre. An extra 1d was added to cover IVC’s costs. They were going to three shows in the month, and hiring a coach for a visit to London in April, leaving Birmingham at 9.00 on Saturday, arriving London around noon, returning in the early hours. There was a separate Royal Shakespeare Theatre Sub-Club.

The names of the fourteen new full members were listed. The committee was concerned because only 45.7% of the 375 members were men: and urged “all male members to introduce their friends and acquaintances to us”.

The club’s three dozen wine glasses and collection of non-classical LP’s and 45’s were offered for hire.

From the March 1964 Bulletin

A camping-by-canoe trip down the Wye was being planned for Whitsun. Canoe-camping was described as “a speedy, comfortable, spacious and safe”. Twelve double fibre-glass
Canoes had been hired at a cost of £4-18-0 per person, (camping equipment not provided).

The Council (as the committee was then called) decided that, to encourage people to come to the Hops earlier, the price will be 2/6 (3/6 non-members) before 9.15 but 1/- more after that; members have to show their membership card. Three people resigned from the committee, one of their replacements was Peter Wickings [who I remember well].

The chairman explained that with a fast-changing membership people who used to run sub-clubs left so they stopped functioning, but others were started. One problem was getting regular volunteers to organise the Friday Hops – “hauling up crates of beer, pulling pints, washing glasses, collecting entrance fees and putting an endless number of records onto the gramophone.”

The music group were to have themed evenings, they listed the wide range of classical music to be played.

So concerned were the committee by the imbalance of the sexes they were limiting applications from ladies to graduates only.

As usual there was much about Llwyn-onn Isaf [IVC’s bunkhouse].

Three people had written about the Linguists’ weekend there. One mentioning “many new faces, pretty ones, no doubt hand picked” and “chatting up, to improve one’s German you’ll understand”.Another about the continental food, multi-lingual singing and guests from France, Germany, and Switzerland.

There was an article about the pubs around Barmouth that could be visited from Llwyn-onn. It  described:  The Last, Half Way House, Cross Foxes, Victoria, Cors y Gedol and Hendre Mynach. [All closed on Sunday].

IVC’s Falcon sailing boat was being readied for the season.

One of the month’s Friday Hops [an old term for a dance] at the MUO (Manchester Unity of Oddfellows www.oddfellows.co.uk) was themed on Llwyn-onn – people were expected to arrive with rucksacks and boots. The lighting would be by Tilley lamp, and the refreshments heated on a Primus stove. The intention was to leave at 23.45 to drive to Llwyn-onn for coffee at 03.30.

The Llwyn-onn warden (David Roy) was giving an illustrated talk on his recent trip overland to the Far East “Afghanistan and Beyond”.

From the April 1964 Bulletin

There was an appeal about the state of the notice boards in the club’s premises.  People were advised that “a small neat notice was better than a large one with illegible scrawl”.

A persistent problem in IVC: a lack of volunteers. There was an appeal for people to help organise events – specifically the Friday Hops. People are “always prepared to take all and give little in return, always ready to attend regularly” we need “two people in charge of the records, two on the door and two behind the bar”.

There was a list of the other IVCs (London, Liverpool, Manchester, North Staffs, Nottingham, Oxford and Reading) and their Secretaries’ addresses. And there was a list of the eight weekends open to all AIVC members organised by the various IVCs.

The editor said that small ads would be accepted “concerning articles for sale, engagements, holidays, bankruptcies etc. at 2/6d per item”.

All organisers, committe members and other interested people were invited to a meeting to discuss “activities and the state of the club in general”.

There was a list of all the sub-clubs and the address of the organiser (only about half had a phone number, many of those were business numbers).
Badminton   Monday in winter  Smith Street School.
Bridge  Tuesday  in club premises.
Learner Bridge  Thursday  in club.
Canoeing  trips in summer
Choral Singing  Wednesdays
Cinema  Various.
Gourmands  Home cooking of unusual dishes.
Hill Walks  Once a month.
Ice Skating  alternate Thursdays  Bearwood.
Music  Every Monday  in club or member’s home.
Rambles  About two Sundays a month.
Sailing  In club’s own G.P. Falcon dinghy in Barmouth
(2/6 per hour 30/- per season).
Scottish Dancing  alternate Thursdays  Beehive Rooms.
Squash  Various times  Greenhills Squash Club.
Tennis  Every Monday in summer  Wingate Tennis Club.
Theatre  Various, usual price range 3/- to 5/-.
Wine and Dine  About once a month.
Swimming  Every Wednesday  Harborne Baths.

From the May 1964 Bulletin
There was an announcement of  a “Miss Llwyn-onn 1964 competition”. The three named gentlemen judges “will be looking for … personality and charm as well as vital statistics … entry fee only two shillings”.  [I don’t knowif this was taken seriously].

Amongst the new members listed were the twins Don and Ray Arrowsmith [who welcomed me when I joined in 1972 – they lived near me and organised (with the twins June and Gill the Bell) first weekend I went on: to the farmhouse].

The “Chairman’s Comments” said that ordinary members may see Council [as committee were then called] “as a remote quantity … oblivious to the wishes of the general club member. Perhaps there is an element of truth in this though I am sure it is not intentional. We try to inform everyone of the Council business by reporting the meetings via the bulletin.”. “Why not submit your constructive criticism via the Bulletin which we all realise, should be the organ by which club opinion should be voiced?”. “Remember IVC is a club organised for its members by its members (voluntarily). Why not give it a go and do something yourself”.

There were announcements of a 21st Birthday and two engagements.

From the June 1964 Bulletin

21 new members were welcomed to IVC. The Membership Secretary [female] wrote: “Where have all the young men gone! There must be some lonely young men in this big city who need I.V.C. as much as I.V.C. needs them”

There was an article explaining the University honours system. It said of “B.A.”: “The letters themselves come from the words BACCALAURIS meaning ‘A COWHERD’ and ARTUM meaning ‘ABILITY’. It therefore signifies that the holder thereof is proficient in diary work, and thereby not only reveals the nature of the earliest form of university curriculum but explain the frequent references to varsity intellect as ‘the cream of its kind’. To show others that he is a real B.A. and therefore very clever, the successful candidate for academic honours is allowed to wear a piece of coloured fur around his shoulders”.

In response to the announcement in March that, because of the imbalance of the sexes, applications from ladies were limited to graduates only: an anonymous person wrote – “… why is membership based on classification into … graduates, non-graduates and those without academic qualifications and that the membership form is worse than a means test. Obviously the club is justified in not accepting nonagorians [under age], ’mods’ ‘rockers’ and idiots. But what are the qualifications, if any, which make a successful IVC type. Surely they are not as stringent or as ridiculous as Council [as the committee were then called] would have we believe, and if they are – then they must be changed. Reasons must be given…”.   [The current (2014) committee has been considering the selection criteria].

The Council report was mainly about the continuing search for a new premises – because the existing rented ones at 90A Hurst Street were in a demolition zone [it would be another five years before IVC moved].

The Chairman wrote asking members with complaints to “let their views be heard, either by lobbying council members or preferably by means of the Bulletin. It is ridiculous for there to be an undercurrent running through the club. … The idea that one has to be a member of the ‘outdoor set’ … before one is even approached to actively participate in the running of the club is ridiculous”

From the July 1964 Bulletin

The Bulletin had a list of 15 performances during Shakespeare’s tercentenary in Stratford for which the IVC Theatre Club had obtained tickets.

There were three more foolscap pages of letters to the editor.

A long letter headed “Too Old at 40?” asked “Should Club have an upper age limit?”. [The letter is too long to reproduce here: so I have put the full version at www.johnpitcock.com/TooOldAt40]. It explained that IVCs had an unofficial upper limit for new members of 35. The average age is 28 [now 58]. It said the average length of stay was 2 years [now 56 people have been members for over 20 years] and that IVC started as vacation club in London for Oxford students. The writer thought that the average age should be 26 because it should be “a first stage club” for new graduates. An older membership would have less “youthful exuberance”. They asked whether IVC should split into two clubs so people can move on as they get older.

Two new committee members brought the total up to 16 [they met in members’ houses!]

From the August 1964 Bulletin

Just one item of significant interest his month.

AIVC conference report.

They discussed publicity. There were posters and hand-bills available. London said small ads in the personal column of a quality Sunday newspaper had been successful: so a national one was being paid for by AIVC. Word-of-mouth continued to be the best way to recruit.

New IVCs were being planned for Bristol, Gloucester, Leeds, S.E. Kent, Sheffield and Worcester: the address of a contact in each place was given.

Social Service: Nottingham ran regular car outings for local old folk and held a jumble sale: raising £50 for Oxfam. Stoke offered accommodation for overseas students. London were helping East End youth clubs. Oxford was involved in International Voluntary Services. Birmingham wanted members to take children in care on Youth Hostel weekends.

From the September 1964 Bulletin

Not much of interest again this month.
The chairman and editor appealed for more articles.

This is the month of the annual coach day trip to climb Snowdon
– by two routes: “one for the hardy and one for the less hardy”.

Three engagements between members were announced.

From the October 1964 Bulletin

Front page announcement – the AGM on the 7th at The Midland Institute, starting 6.15.

There was a Lake District weekend for “hill-walkers and ramblers … and less strenuous walking”. At a hotel near Ambleside. Full board, including packed lunch: £4 10s inclusive of coach (leaving Birmingham 6.30 pm on Friday).

The chairman wrote that the club was saving up to meet the expenses of possible new premises.

Amongst the programme of the thriving music group was a stereo evening – listening to various pre-announced classic recordings in a member’s flat.

From the November 1964 Bulletin

The new, post AGM, Council was listed on the front page – consisting of:
Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Dance Organiser, Bulletin Editor, Activities Secretary, Membership Secretary, Office Manager, Premises Manager, Publicity Manager and six “ordinary” council members.

In response to the debate about the dominance of the “out-door set” someone wrote saying “Because the IVC membership consists primarily of University Graduates one could reasonably expect the club to have a cultural bias. This is not the case, the main emphasis being, it seems, on outdoor activities.” It is desirable to “support activities such as discussions (Philosophic or otherwise), debating, play reading, art appreciation etc.

From the December 1964 Bulletin

“Hi-Fi at last!”

In November the music group appealed for “a good quality 12” speaker”. This month they announced the purchase of a “Goodman’s Axiom 300 12inch full-range speaker” out of the 9d levy charged at music events. The equipment now includes “A Garrard 4HF turntable unit, Ronette TX88 cartridge, Mullard 10 watt amplifier”. Some day they hoped to “fit a good quality stereo cartridge so that stereo records could be played – monaurally. I don’t think full stereo equipment would be justified.”

The chairman wrote: “The two most talked about topics at the A.G.M. were:
1. An upper age limit
2. Membership selection.”
The Council are to “go ahead with a thorough survey of both so we may see some action on these thorny questions this year.”