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Our History

What do you know about our history?

What do you know about our history – or the history of our members?

Since the club was founded in 1931, the history of Soroptimist International East London’s has been the history of its members, remarkable women doing remarkable things.

Gladys Worland President of Soroptimist East London 1993
Gladys Worland, President of Soroptimist East London 1993 and campaigner for women victims of domestic violence.

When first founded in 1931 the club was initially called the Soroptimist Club of Ilford. In 1950, the club was officially renamed and Soroptimist London East was born!  (The official name of the club is Soroptimist London East since there was already a Soroptimist Club in East London, South Africa).

Since those early days, Soroptimists from a wide range of backgrounds have lived or worked in East London often making a lasting impression in East London and much further afield.  They include Carrie Morrison, England’s first-ever female solicitor, Eva Hart MBE, one of the few survivors of the Titanic disaster and author of “Girl Aboard the Titanic”, Gladys Worland, campaigner for victims of domestic violence, who founded a women’s refuge in Redbridge. And there’s Mary Alice Smith, the world’s first chartered accountant who worked in the City of London and persisted for 29 years to finally be accepted into the profession!  Impressive ladies, just like our members today.

In 1950 the club was given responsibility for an area from the City of London out towards the east coast of England. Since then new clubs have been formed and the boundary redefined.

Today Soroptimist East London members live, work or have personal connections throughout the whole of East London from the densely packed City of London through to the leafy suburbs, including London Boroughs of Hackney, Havering, Newham, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, and Barking and Dagenham.

Interested to find out more?

We welcome inquiries about our friendly club and our history, so, if you’re interested to find out more please get in touch.  Our email is

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