Swansea Club’s History
The 1st Soroptimist Club in Britain was chartered in London in 1924
In 1933 Miss Margaret Kirkland, the President of the Chamber of Trade in Swansea found out about the London Club and after many meetings in Goat Street, Swansea it was agreed that a new Soroptimist club would be formed with Councillor Mrs H D Williams as President
In 1934 a number of ladies from Swansea attended the 10th Anniversary Banquet of the Soroptimist Club of Greater London at Claridge’s Hotel with Chairman Lady Barrett CH, CBE, MD,MS. The ladies were Miss Francis, Miss Kirkland, Miss Robbins, Councillor Mrs W Rosser, Miss Stevens and Mrs Dorothy Oliver Watkins
After Miss Olive Stewart‘s year as president, Miss Margaret Kirkland became president in 1935. The Kirkland Collection at the Richard Burton Archives at Swansea University and the Swansea Soroptimist scrap books give more information.
In 1936 there was a meeting in Builth Wells and those who attended from Swansea included Mrs H D Williams, Dr Margret Davies, Miss Margaret Kirkland, Miss Francis, Miss Fry, Madame Foner, Miss Crabb, Mrs Bartlett Williams, Mrs Rowland Davies and Mrs Dorothy Watkins.
Mrs Dorothy Watkins became president in 1936. She attended an International Women’s Week in Budapest and in 1938 went to a Soroptimist Convention in Atlantic City, USA.
Llanelli (1937) and Wrexham were the next clubs to form and they joined a Divisional Union which met in Llandrindod Wells.Many years later the Wales Clubs divided into North and South Regions. North has now joined with Cheshire and Wirral and Wales South comprises 16 clubs.
In 1960 the Swansea Club opened its house for retired women and Dorothy Watkins gave it her active support and readily involved the professional help of her family including her daughter. Honorary membership was conferred on her and she maintained an interest in the club to the end of her long life in January 1986.
SI Swansea has formed special friendship links with clubs in Cork (Ireland),Mannheim (Germany), Dundee (Scotland) and SI Greater Fort Lauderdale (USA).