From the 1962 Bulletins
[My comments in italics]
The council [as the main committee were called until 1994] was asking members “Is our club name the most suitable for us? Does it convey a fair idea of us, an appropriate brand image? Or does it mislead and deter potential members?” [This subject has come up many times over the years, in Birmingham and the other IVCs].
It was reported that the New Year Weekend was hit by the weather. Only 28 of the 65 booked got there. Two skiing trips were planned. Bridge was played every Tuesday in the club office. The music club listened to records every Monday in the club premises, with a pre-published theme. The choral group reported that they’d sung carols at Summerfield Hospital; they met in the club premises on Fridays before the hop [as discos were then called]. IVC did Scottish dancing on alternate Thursdays
Someone was trying to start a photography section by having a competition, (black & white prints and glass mounted colour slides only).
People were encouraged to come to the monthly bulletin work party by the offer of free coffee[presumably these were to print the bulletin (onto foolscap using the stencil duplicator) and then collate and staple it].
The members were asked to tell the committee their views on getting new premises – where they should be; how big; when we should get them; whether to buy, rent or lease; facilities: ie whether to have a bar.
There was a report on the third AIVC conference (IVCs: London, Manchester, Birmingham, North Staffs, plus potential IVCs: Nottingham and Liverpool). There was finally agreement on a wording for an AIVC constitution. The report said that “in future anyone appearing to be more than thirty years of age was likely to be excluded from membership”. A report on the annual ball in the County Ground said “men vying with each other to look as elegantly alike as possible and the women to be as glamorously different” and “The high spot was a demonstration of the twist” [the latest new dance craze].
Two ski trips to Mayrhofen were on offer, one in March and one in April. It said “larger aircraft have been hired, so there is no limit on numbers”.
Wanted: Experienced, attractive young lady with own car, to give lessons in latest techniques of car manipulation, to handsome, eligible young man. “Applications, in person, or by post enclosing photograph (of car) to …”.
Heard at the end of a “hop”: “you can’t take any birds home these days – they all have their own cars”
There was a report of a visit to International Business Machines to see a demonstration of an IBM 1401 computer that “can be rented for less than £2000 per month”. It was described as “having an amazing capacity for work – reading 800 punched cards a minute, and can add, subtract, divide and multiply and put the answers onto card or tape or print them out on a fantastic machine”.
A motor coach was hired for a forthcoming ramble on Kinder Scout.
I don’t have the March 1962 Bulletin so here is a poem from the April Bulletin.
Notes: Hurst Street is where IVCs premises were from 1959 to 1969Fox’s Path is a popular route on Cader Idris
Take comfort friend and come with me
To Hurst Street and the IVC.
Just half way up its winding stair,
You’ll find the secretary’s lair:
The novice who surmounts this test
Is fit to scramble with the best,
And those who reach the clubroom whole
Will think the Fox’s Path a stroll.
What do I do?
Just pay your sub
And win admission to the club,
Then pick your pastimes,
pay your fee
And help to build up IVC.
The leading article said that whether to have a bar in club’s premises had been discussed many times, but not seriously. The article said there was a “vague feeling among some members that a bar would radically alter the club for the worse and there would be nowhere to talk that would not be smelling of beer. Any sizeable gathering of IVC always includes the idea of drinking and some members have been known to place it before the more social objects of the meeting.” The article mentioned some other pros and cons of having a bar (pros: many members would like one, profits; cons: staffing, stocking, space, club would change for the worse).
Someone was starting a campaign to get over 80 members to be blood donors so IVC would become more of a “do good organisation”.
There was a long legalistic notice absolving IVC, or any organiser, form any liability for any mishap that might happen on any event.
It was reported that there had been an overwhelming response to the request for items for IVC’s jumble sale.
It was explained that events in IVC’s Hurst Street premises were expected to make a surplus 6d per head attending to help pay towards the costs of renting and running the premises. Birmingham members were invited to the annual London IVC house party weekend in Surrey. Cost 3 guineas all inclusive (from Friday camp fire to Sunday tea, except bar drinks). There was a notice about people not putting enough into the honesty box for paying for calls on the club’s phone; and a reminder about the new STD tariffs (i.e. long distance peak rate 2/6 per 3 minutes [equivalent to £2 today])
In an attempt to encourage people to arrive earlier to “hops” [dances] a draw was made at 9.00 and if that member was there they got 10/-; if not won: this was rolled over to the next week. Someone was doing a French themed meal in his flat and appealed for others to do meals in their flats [I infer most members lived in flats].
With summer approaching there were four pages about Llwyn Onn Isaf*. One mentioning that for 3/6[17p] a night you can’t expect luxury: bring a sleeping bag and something for breakfast [I introduced communal meals in 1975]; two humorous accounts of what a weekend there is like; and three about sailing at Barmouth and IVC’s recently refurbished Falcon GP14 dingy kept there. * IVC’s bunkhouse near Barmouth see www.johnpitcock.com/Farmhouse
The Chairman’s report said “IVC is unique in its way, but is not the only club of its type in the Birmingham area and some of our members are also members of others such as Coffee Pot, E.S.U.[English Speaking Union,] Dudley Young Professionals or the Guild of Graduates. We would like to cooperate with these clubs to our mutual advantage”.
For several months in 1962 there was a tongue-in-cheek readers’ problems section under the name “Poppy Tucker”, [judging by printed letters, this seemed to be controversial]
“As a new member, I am amazed at the number of ladies that drink beer when in male company, particularly as they all seem to use mugs. Is this right in a club such as I.V.C.?”
“I agree this does reflect badly on the men and should be put right as most girls can afford to buy shorts by the bottle”.
An engagement was announced [a wedding was announced in May].
London has booked 110 seats on a Douglas DC7 for a fortnight in America, flying non-stop to New York, cost £54 return.
Only 7 pages this month.
There was a list of members who missed a prize because they weren’t at the weekly hops when their names were drawn at 9.00; the prize kept being rolled-over and had now reached £7 [worth over £100 today. See May].
One of the three rambles was lead by Don Matthews [still a member]. It was on the Welsh Border, and they meet at Hall of Memory, as usual, to share lifts.
Regular events were: music, bridge, tennis, squash, hop, SIN [Saturday Night In].
Again there was a lot on Llwyn-onn.
“In order to alleviate crowding in the farmhouse kitchen, with 30+ people trying to cook breakfast on the calor gas stoves, some portable paraffin stoves and extra pans are now available” [in those days people did their own meals: as in a YHA members’ kitchen].
In an article about how, sometimes, the minority of members who do things for IVC find events turn against them – a member wrote to give some observations on the people who set up Llwyn Onn from 1957. “Llwyn onn was started by some rugged climbing types, it was brought by them to nigh on its present state by a great deal of hard work. In the course of this some got old [!], some married, but some stayed on to use the farmhouse until those of the club who deemed it now clean enough and respectable enough for them to use. Pretty soon it was cleaner and more respectable and the rugged types were seen no more; finding themselves in the minority and unwanted they sought primeval conditions elsewhere. Let us see that the rot does not continue. The fields keep the road from the door and six feet of air separate the electricity form the farmhouse. Once bring civilisation to the Llwyn Onn or Llwyn Onn to civilisation and all the spirit would be gone, probably for ever. [Downstairs was lit by gas in 1974 and we installed electricity in 1984 – some opposed these improvements].
The chairman’s comment said “This is the time when hundreds of potential new members are arriving in B’ham, all faced with the problem of what to do when they aren’t at work. These new arrivals will be looking for friends and trying to find clubs to join – they will ask the man at the next desk or the other young one on the staff and this is where we appear and ask them along to IVC”. [At this time IVC was mainly people in their 20’s, and recent graduates moving to Birmingham would have been recruited to IVC] The Llwyn onn committee were organising the Friday hop – cost 4/-, live band and free buffet. People intended to drive straight from there to Barmouth [remember there was no M54 and popular cars for young people were Ford Anglias and Morris Minors].
A coach had been hired for a day trip to Snowdon: so those who wanted could walk up it.
The chairman’s comment said that IVC was not attracting enough men to join; also that the number of non academic members had reached 15%, exceeding the stipulated 12.5%, so no new non-academic members would be accepted until the balance was restored.
An anonymous new member reported on his experience in joining IVC. He explained it was necessary to go to an informal coffee party. [At these the committee members told the prospective members about IVC and formed an opinion as to their suitability of being accepted as members. The bulletin listed the names of new members – usually 10 – 15 a month].
He said coffee parties were held monthly in a committee member’s flat and wrote at length about the one attended, after a few pints in a bar: “I found there were three male and fourteen were female. The initial appearance was of a Roman Orgy with young ladies wriggling on the floor in an apparent frenzy. I later discovered that these contortions were attempts to prevent their tight skirts from revealing their upper legs.” He continued about being told about the various activities in IVC and said: “one young lady was holding forth on the delights of the skating club and how she broke her arm … on casting my eyes over her rather robust torso I was of the opinion that she had probably fallen through the ice”. Later he wrote: “As none of the company seemed ripe for inviting to my flat for a late supper … when the party broke up I went back the bar”.
(The following month the Editor wrote that he’d had complaints about the above article and wrote: “I sincerely apologise for any offence … having read it again I can see that it could be offensive and I hope that the apologies of the writer and myself are accepted”)
There were two letters about the barbeque in the sand dunes north of Barmouth.
One of these letters complained about a group of members who turned up later. It said they were drunk and made a nuisance of themselves – throwing sand, messing with the fire, singing lewd songs and generally being annoying.
The other, anonymous, letter said on arriving at the barbecue a bit late they found those already there rather morose and they tried to liven things up but few joined in. “Maybe the old club spirit has gone for good … and the next generation has arrived”.
(The following month the editor apologised for publishing letters from people who didn’t reveal their name).
The report of the AGM said here had been 50 members there. There was much discussion about the loss made on the sailing boat at Barmouth. It was reported that IVC would probably have to find new premises next year: this was expected to be difficult (suggestions: rent a room in a licensed premises, large house in Edgbaston). The membership fee went up from 30/- to 40/- a special membership rate of 50/- was introduced for married couples; country and student members half price. The New Year House Party Weekend on 28th – 30th December was being publicised, the fourth to be in Fairborne. Cost £4 (this was the forerunner of the New Year Weekend).
IVC was organising its third Darby and Joan Christmas party on a Saturday from 1 pm. “There are 60 odd members to feed and entertain: turn up and be prepared to work. At 6 pm we need a relief staff to wait on tables. At 7 pm we have the Old Time Music Hall when every available IVC member in Birmingham is expected to attend. We need people to sing, dance, tell jokes, and work behind the scenes”. [I assume this was to serve and entertain a large group of old people]. The secretary and bulletin editor appealed for people to join a typing pool to help them with all the typing they have to do. Two new sub-clubs were being started – Golf and Sevillanas dancing (a Spanish dance from Seville) [really a type of Flamenco: from Castile, not Seville as its name suggests].