Anchor Society History (1769-2019)
This year (2019) The Anchor Society celebrates its 250th anniversary. During this time we have been supporting and raising funds for the local community.
In recent years through a generous bequest from Joyce Needham Cooper (pictured right)the Anchor society has been able to develop beyond the yearly collection to become an innovator and supporter of Innovative projects. Key to the success in recent years has been a dedicated group of trustees and supporters who have committed time and energy to developing the Anchor Society to what it is today.
In 1969, the 200th anniversary of the first dinner, when the President of the Society was His Grace the Duke of Beaufort, the dinner, a memorable occasion, was held at Badminton House. The dinner is an opportunity to hear from a speaker prominent in his or her field. The President gives an account of the current activities of the Society. Over many years the Society has been graced with the presence of many leading personalities including Roy Jenkins Director of Public Prosecutions, Bishops and many other leaders of industry and commerce.
In 1943 the dinner was held at lunchtime to avoid the difficulties of the blackout.
In 1917 the annual dinner was held in the President’s house when the strictures of the day allowed only past Presidents to attend.
The dinners of the pre-World War I era were very political affairs, attended by Cabinet ministers, and The Anchor Society tended towards the Whig or Liberal interest; in 1909 Winston Churchill, then President of the Board of Trade, was the guest of honour. The after dinner speeches were regarded as being significant public statements. The menu for the 1909 Dinner held in Colston Hall, including a toast to The Liberal Party and a toast to the President proposed by Winston Churchill.
The Anchor Society was formed in 1769 when it held a dinner at the Three Tuns, a tavern on the site of the present Corn Exchange in the centre of the medieval quarter of Bristol when 22 members were present. At this dinner the President, Gilbert Davies, took up a collection to benefit the poor and elderly in Bristol. Since then there is anunbroken record of Presidents’ annual appointments and personal collections. In 1769, the first Anchor Society President, Gilbert Davies has raised £12 which is over £2000 today.