The first Round Table was formed in Norwich in 1927. The founder, Louis Marchesi, was a young Rotarian who felt a need existed for a club where the young business men of the town could gather on a regular basis to exchange ideas, learn from the experiences of their colleagues and play a collective part in the civic life of Norwich . Within a year membership of this Round Table had grown to 85 and interest had been shown in establishing Round Tables elsewhere.
Round Table owes nothing to Arthurian Legend, deriving both its title and its maxim from a speech made to the British Industries Fair in 1927 by the then Prince of Wales – “The young business and professional men of this country must get together round the table, ADOPT methods that have proved so sound in the past, ADAPT them to the changing needs of the times and wherever possible, IMPROVE them”. The design of the Round Table emblem is, however, an adaptation of the table which hangs in the great hall, Winchester and which is claimed to be the Round Table of the court of King Arthur.
Round Table has used the motto of “Adopt – Adapt” – Improve to make it an organisation which is still relevant in the 21st century.
Shortly after the foundation of Round Table in Norwich a second Round Table was established in Portsmouth and subsequent growth was rapid, there being 125 Tables with a membership of 4,600 at the outbreak of war in 1939. Round Table also proved itself to be a universal ideal, the first overseas Table being formed in Copenhagen in 1936.
During the war years Round Table in Denmark continued to expand although in the British Isles activity was restricted and was in the nature of a holding operation. After 1945 the pattern of growth was rapidly re-established. Round Table now flourishes in the majority of European countries, throughout Africa and in the Middle East, India , Hong Kong, and New Zealand.
Round Table Achievements
Round Table is known for it’s efforts to assist in its own community and to help that community’s less fortunate members; for its concern for the quality of life and for the help it gives to various charitable causes; for its purchase of a life-boat and other equipment for the R.N.L.I; for its support of the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust and for its assistance at Lockerbie and Dunblane. Community based activities at a local level include the organizing of events such as local fireworks evening and float collections at Christmas. These activities and many similar ones are not only great fun to organize but enable you to develop other skills which you may not use in your day to day work.